They’re the best Anime that 2018 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, SSSS.Gridman, Planet With, and more!
10: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
Japanese: ソードアート オンライン オルタナティブ ガンゲイル オンライン
MAL Score: 7.02
Clad in desert pink and the size of a mere child, the infamous “Pink Devil” mercilessly hunts down other players in the firearm-centered world of the virtual reality game Gun Gale Online. But in real life, this feared player killer is not quite who anyone would expect.
A shy university student in Tokyo, Karen Kohiruimaki stands in stark contrast to her in-game avatar—in fact, she happens to stand above everyone else too, much to her dismay. Towering above all the people around her, Karen’s insecurities over her height reach the point where she turns to the virtual world for an escape. Starting game after game in hopes of manifesting as a cute, short character, she finally obtains her ideal self in the world of Gun Gale Online. Overjoyed by her new persona, she pours her time into the game as LLENN, garnering her reputation as the legendary player killer.
However, when one of LLENN’s targets gets the best of her, she ends up meeting Pitohui, a skilled yet eccentric woman. Quickly becoming friends with Karen, Pitohui insists that LLENN participates in Squad Jam, a battle royale that pits teams against one another, fighting until only one remains. Thrust into the heated competition, LLENN must fight with all her wit and will if she hopes to shoot her way to the top.
GGO is far different, and better than the rest of the Sword Art Online franchise; for starters, you don’t even need to watch the originals to watch this spinoff. There are no related characters, no Kirito. The only similarity they share is the world they take place in. The original SAO is mentioned a few times and surprisingly the new series writer frequently criticizes the old one. GGO focuses on the in-depth details of its game world and the friendships between the cast, rather than the melodrama and cheesy romance of the original.
Taking place in 2026, GGO follows Karen a college student with a height complex, namely, she’s way taller than she’d like to be. Walking into signs, gawked at by passersby, low self-confidence, and constantly comparing herself to the group of cute short girls she sees every day. When she discovers VR games like SAO, she’s hesitant because the controversy over people being trapped in the game is still discussed on the news. But she is willing to try them if it means she’d get the chance to be shorter. The character creator system being randomized is the only outright bad game design decision in GGO, but that’s just how the original series wrote it. This minor issue can be excused because it eventually leads Karen to Gun Gale Online, a gritty first-person shooter where she’s able to be her ideal short height. The lead character has a pretty good motivation to play the game makes the show all the more compelling, it’s perhaps a simple reason but much more than we were ever given for Kirito.
Simplistic characterization is all GGO really needs because its main focus is on the intense firefights. The first episode serves to thoroughly explain the mechanics of the game so that the rest of the series can play with the established rules. For what is essentially an exposition episode, the information is presented by showing rather than just telling in the Battle Royale style game mode called Squad Jam. While the visuals are simply above average, the action is surprisingly engaging with the strategizing and tactics explained through banter between the protagonist, plucky pink camouflaged Karen, but with the in-game name LLENN and her partner M. Their group’s dynamic is clear from the start, LLENN is the one who has to run into the fight as a decoy and draw away the attention of enemies while M takes a vantage point to snipe them while they’re distracted. Their personalities perfectly fitted to their roles in the fight; LLENN is anxious with plenty of funny reaction faces, sporadically running into the battlefield. While M is patient and unwavering, coldly issuing orders with the goal of winning regardless of the danger it puts his partner in.
Played out like a game of chess, careful planning and positioning are invaluable. Seeing the strategies LLENN and others use to lead them to success is incredibly satisfying; they’re not professionals so there’s always a chance they will run into mistakes now and then, and their flaws are part of each character. For LLENN and M, we’re given enough details to know their relationship is based on needing one another to execute their strategy, the bait and switch, but beyond that, they’re two incompatible pieces. Through seeing them fight and their banter we learn the mechanics of the game; an intermittent scan reveals every challenger’s location, the red lasers indicating bullet trajectory, dead players can be used as human shields, health and bullet count are detailed and are at consistent values throughout the show.
The writer’s knowledge of the inner workings of a complex video game is what makes GGO so believable. Look no further than the tense action scenes, despite being acknowledged as just a game they still have stakes. The original SAO had poorly explained rules to its game, so instead, it chose to contrive tension by trapping the players in the game world and punishing anyone who died in-game with death in reality. But there is no such lazy writing here. In the original SAO, no one of importance ever died because they’d be gone for good, but in GGO there is no such plot armor. They’re in a fight to the death after all so it’s inevitable most characters will die or be gravely wounded.
GGO is tense to watch in the same way watching a professional streamer is, you’re rooting for them not just because they’re an enjoyable host but because you want to see them overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds they face.
The action spectacle itself is well done too, it’s clear that Studio 3Hz was having a lot of fun making this. There’s no shortage of slow-mo climactic moments in firefights with bullets flying past players like The Matrix. A few thrilling vehicle fights happen as well. There’s even a lightsaber later on in the series used to devastating effect unlike anything else seen in the show. Considering combat is the main focus of the series, it’s great that GGO is always able to keep it refreshing. Guns are rendered with excellent detail, CGI is frequently used quite well to allow the camera to move freely and to ensure action scenes are fast-paced and flow well. Character animation is fluid when it counts with close-ups and slow-motion used to raise the tension in close encounters.
Plenty of long shots of the battlefield are shown so you can keep track of the proximity of players and can follow the action as well as the protagonist does. What creates the most thrills is the visceral audiovisual feedback of the gunshots. Environments that are shot are visibly blasted, with loud shots suited to the wide variety of gun types used, and the effects on players who are shot. Violence is styled to the video game with red pixels that spurt out from wounds like blood. One might think a video game would limit the possibilities of violence, but GGO has its fair share of decapitations and limbs being lopped off in combat. Battles gradually escalate in intensity throughout the show, the game mechanics established from the start remain consistent and they’re experimented with to exciting effect. Eir Aoi’s opening song “Ryusei” is well suited to the battle-oriented series along with a striking showcase of the cast. The soundtrack is equally stellar. Whether it be the hard rock or the frantic techno pieces, all of the background music serves to electrify action scenes.
Aside from the action, there is enough intrigue in GGO’s characters writing for it to provide a thoughtful discussion on video games. With the writer of Kino’s Journey, Keiichi Sigsawa, there’s depth to the characters in spite of the series’ focus on gunplay. Escapism is a theme intrinsic to any video game story, thankfully Sigsawa understands this and weaves it into every character. Karen enters the game to become a shorter, more ideal version of herself, her skill in-game grants her confidence in real life to overcome her complex. The first friend she meets, Pitohui plays the game to escape the stress and relieve her anger, a portrayal leaning more on the negative end of escapism which leads her to become the antagonist of the second half. The show tries to sell her as a crazed SAO fanatic, but at first, it doesn’t seem believable enough because we merely hear about her insanity from M. Once we see the brutal ways she kills her foes in her Squad Jam against LLENN, it becomes much easier to believe she’s out of touch with reality.
Pitohui’s rather serious subject matter unexpectedly fits with the show’s more wryly comedic tone because of her outlandish personality and character design. From the cross tattoos on her face to scare off creeps online, to the absurd levels of frivolity she treats her enemies in combat, she’s one of the most entertaining rivals of the season. In the latter half of the show when Karen’s friend Fuka joins her for the Squad Jam, much of the in-depth tactics are thrown out the window by her lack of care for the game which brings about the campiest and wild action sequences the show provides. Perhaps they’re not as intelligently planned out, but they make up for it with entertainment value and homages to classic action movies and moment to moment humor in the midst of chaos. All of their seiyuu do a great job of selling their overdone personalities in the game world while toning it down to a believable level in reality.
Shown in a more positive light is the gymnastics team, fans of LLENN, that play Squad Jams to communicate better with one another. In between the Squad Jams, the show revisits the real world to catch up with the cast and mainly to discuss the next game and future Squad Jams. These scenes are a good reprieve from Gun Gale’s battlefields. Serving to even out the pacing and introduce characters. The gymnastics team is just a bunch of kids who walk by Karen in real life and wish to be as tall as her (a sort of role reversal) and after fighting one another in the first Squad Jam they enter the second as allies. They’re admittedly a bit one-note, but I wouldn’t call them cliched or stereotypical. They all have an attribute in their game avatar and how they behave in-game which is reflected in their real-world counterpart.
By the end of the series, there’s a noticeable change in all of the characters that is directly connected to the ways the game affected them. The ending provided a satisfying final stance on the bigger themes of positive versus negative escapism, as well as a completion to LLENN’s arc that’s as monumental and satisfying as the show had foreshadowed it to be. The final episode is one of the funniest, most shockingly great endings of the season that rewards you for following along with the minor story details and provides the best tongue-in-cheek comedy of the series.
Sword Art Online Alternative is the most entertaining entry in the franchise, it doesn’t take itself too seriously while also providing enough depth to be compelling. What it lacks in narrative high points it more than makes up for with a well-written game world that remains consistent with its logic throughout the show. Upon first glance, the cast seems paper-thin, but with time it becomes clear how much care went into interweaving their arcs with interesting video game-related themes.
To be clear, you don’t need to watch any of the previous series in the franchise. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if it’s the first time you found out this show exists. SAO: Alternative Online is the title as it suggests, an alternative story that takes place based on the SAO franchise. The original light novel is written by Keiichi Sigsawa rather than Reki Kawhara although he does provide supervision for the series. It takes place in a shared universe in the virtual world known as Gun Gale Online. The story deals with a university student named Karen Kohiruimaki who decided to join GGO under the alias “LLENN”.
Now I’ll be frank. I’m actually a bit of a fan of the Sword Art Online video games. I’ve played Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and more recently, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet. The games actually contains a fair amount of enticing gameplay. After clocking a decent amount of hours in Fatal Bullet, I came to realize that Alternative Gun Gale Online isn’t so much different than the game itself. My impression of the first few episodes felt like the anime dropped me inside a video game. We have the main character LLEEN as she enters the Gun Gale Online world. She’s rather petite with a short height. In the real world, Karen is actually tall and has a height complex. As such, she takes on her chibi form in the virtual world to build her own self-esteem. There’s quite a bit difference in their personalities between her real life and virtual character that they almost seem like two different people. However, the anime spends a majority of the time on her in-game avatar.
The show set some red flags at first because of this premise. First of all, how are we supposed to take a character like LLEEN seriously when she looks like a kid dressed in pink and a rabbit-looking hat? The first few episodes chronicles her life in the GGO world as we learn about her role. It also drops a fair amount of exposition about the mechanics of the game she participates in. Similar ro the SAO II, this series mainly involves firearms. This is also similar in comparison to the Fatal Bullet game as we see a variety of weaponry. LLEEN’s choice of weapon is a pink P90 submachine-gun she nicknamed “P-chan”. It matches her style because of her speed and agility. In the meantime, the episode also introduces both allies and rivals as LLEEN spends more time in the GGO world. These include characters such a Pitohui, M, and Fuzarioh. Along the way, it’s easy to see LLEEN’s confidence develop as a player compared to her real life persona.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say the main cast of the series are memorable characters. LLENN is probably the only character that’s worth investing time into despite being having a childish personality. This is a bit contrast to Pito, who seems to have some psychological issues especially when she’s on the battlefield. M is a character that may feel like a comic relief after you realize his real personality. Finally, Fuka is LLEEN’s partner and best friend with a big obsession with VR games. While there’s definitely character chemistry between the main cast members, there’s not much development at all involving them. It’s a shame since the show could have really took the opportunity to make them into larger than life characters. Instead, they are just participants in the game for their roles. In real life, their characters are too average to be marketable and doesn’t really sell their personalities in any appealing way. All other characters in the series are easily forgettable and in fact a disgrace to the game itself, especially the perverted men. I think at one point, LLENN even asked “Do only lechers play this game?”
By this point, you may be asking yourself if this show is worth watching. Honestly, it’s not a hard question to answer but be prepared for a typical sci-fi/shounen story. The series feels like it’s mainly aimed for gamers and fans of the franchise. If you’re not a fan of this type of genre, then you may not get the best experience from this. Even after I played the games, I felt like show could of done more to develop the plot. Every episode that takes place in the GGO world feels the same with the battle royale-esque vibe and exposition. I do admit that the battles themselves can be quite exciting at times but once you’ve seen a lot of it, the hype dies quickly. The cheesy words used in dialogues borders to creep factor at times while the comedy remains generally lighthearted throughout the show. On the other hand, the real life portrayal of characters in later episodes steps it up to the plate. Some segments are genuinely heartwarming to watch and a few are rather important to establish character roles. It blurs the line between fiction and reality like the way it should be.
This is 3Hz’s first attempt at adapting a light novel series. Previously, they worked on original projects and a manga adaptation back in 2016. To me, they did a fair job although not an overly impressive one. I should say that praise should be given for the battle choreography as it feels like how a video game is portrayed. It has a similar style of the Fatal Bullet game including the death scenes. Camera angles, body movements, and character expressions are also well decorated to bring out memorable moments. Even the comedic factors sells well with the clever timings. There’s also a variety of weapons that are accurately portrayed from the light novel and games such as the P90, M107A1 (anti-material rifle), KTR-09 (Assault Rifle), photon energy sword, and among others. It does fell flat in the monster gallery though as the show focuses much more on conflict between the players. Unfortunately, I have to admit the overall world setting really doesn’t set the bar high for a virtual game. Every battleground environment looks the same that after you’ve seen it once, it feels like you’ve seen it all. The barren landscapes may looks suitable for the show but it’s extremely tedious and lacks creativity. There’s not even any diverse maps this season.
On the contrary, I will say the anime’s soundtrack lived up expectations and perhaps gone a bit beyond. The battle OST creates an exciting mood as we see players fight for their lives. Character voices may sound a bit generic but I confess that they work wonderfully for their personalities. The theme songs brings back the familiar mood of the previous SAO series if you’re a fan of those. In essence, it really works.
Sword Art Online: Alternative Online felt more like playing a video game than a watching an anime. After finishing this series, it felt like the creator wanted us to experience what’s like being part of the GGO world. As I mentioned before, this anime seems to adhere to fans of the franchise and video game players. The sensation of battle royale games has been a phenomenon in the most recent years. It took the world by storm and may remain that way for awhile. For a show like this though, there’s still room for improvement.
With its mixed reviews saying it was either the worst or the best series, the whole community is divided until now even a season 2 came, along with the movie Ordinal Scale. Looking back to the past recent season which was Spring 2018, we were given a ton of new shows and sequels. Along came a spin-off that will judge anime fans, who have watched Sword Art Online. That is the spin-off ‘Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online’, which I am going to review on now.
The setting of the story is alternative to Sword Art Online 2, where we are first introduced to a virtual shooter game named GGO (Gun Gale Online). Alternative, meaning the characters will be different as well and the story, giving us a relief from the main problem of the original series, which are the characters.
The plot revolves around Karen Kohiruimaki (Llenn), who has a problem about her tall height. Her complexity have been her problems. From being jealous to cute, little girls and always knocking her head into a high platform, this has become a nuisance on her real life basis. But this complexity of hers is a good character quality. We, audience, have given a bit of a background of her issue which leads us speculating possible outcomes of her overcoming it and we audience are anticipating that. Unlike, the main character from the original Sword Art Online series, which is Kirito, we really don’t know his past or characteristics in real life. We just know that he is a beta tester, concluding that he is good with the game SAO and with this we can speculate the outcomes that our main protagonist can get out of the game.
Here on SAO Alternative, we have a clumsy main character, who found her dream into the game of Gun Gale Online, which is to be a cute little girl (a loli). Though it sounds ridiculous, it was by chance that she got the avatar she wanted all along. We have seen her going through other games and still having that enormous height of hers. We’ve seen her struggle because of it making her log-out automatically. She was lucky she got the character she wanted. Another thing I want to point out to the main character of Alternative is that inspiration from the character is there. And that is her favorite singer ‘Elsa Kanzaki’. This gives us another information that this MC is not really strong or confident in life (due to her complexity), that is except if she has any inspiration, which is the music of her favorite singer. This applies on real life as well. Each and every one of us have inspiration either to someone, dream or things that can support our works.
Then comes her game mechanics. On the first few episodes, I can already tell that she is easy to spot on or killed if she is not taking ‘M’s advices or go with him. The fact that she is so clueless to the game let us see what she can do. Is she going to be like the main character of SAO, who is so overpowered? Or is she going to be just a nuisance to the team? The answer is right through the middle. Although we see her with her sonic-like abilities, we have to agree that without strategizing, if she goes on to a team fight, she will just get shot to death.
That is why ‘M’ as the character supporting her in the few episodes have an impact to the situation of “overpowered characters” on anime. Unlike other characters from other series that have over the top powers, Llenn… is just a “The Flash” of GGO. A pro team can single handedly deflect her speed advantage and strategizing it to lure her and get the kill. Without M’s guidance or knowledge on the first Squad Jam, Llenn would have been butchered by those “kids”. Then we have ‘Pitohui’, the one who give Llenn more guidance to the game and her first friend. Pitohui’s role on the story as a villain is quite good as for some reason her antagonistic traits comes part only at the final episodes. Her avatar does look like an assassin or a mercenary, which is have antagonistic traits, but on their first meetings, the two were friends. Though this friendship is tested by upcoming revelations throughout the episodes. Gun Gale Online’s Squad Jam showed the viewers other characters but most notable supporting ones are the SHINC, which comprises of tall and strong women on the first squad jam. Earlier I talked about Llenn being useless or can easily be killed if she is not strategizing against a pro team. The SHINC made an accurate example of it on the final battle on the first Squad Jam. Then after their defeat, revelations of their real life self stunned Karen and actually made her more confident about her complexity which backsup to the ‘character development’ that a protagonist should have.
Along with her development and confidence on herselve in real life, we are shown by her strategic development in game on the second Squad Jam. This tells that experience is far more superior than power and along with Shinohara, Miyu (Fukaziroh), the second Squad Jam highlighted the ‘Pink Devil’ development. It is as if on the second Squad Jam, comparing it to the first one, Fukaziroh was like Llenn (the clueless one in the first squad jam) and Llenn was M (the one who knows what to do). This characters are very notable and unique which gives the anime itself on my opinion a better version of the original series. With its opening having the same singer from the season 2’s GGO arc, to the pleasant and heart-warming ending of the anime, this show is really spot-on. Not to mention the art of this anime being simple but watcheable. Who doesn’t like a pink loli going up against players and beating the heck out of them? And I am not even done yet. Like in the past, Sword Art Online was a massive, hit not only to the anime community but around the world, as its timing of its genre was very on point. With the launch of Virtual Reality and it being popular to the masses, Sword Art Online was like an intake to the VR world. Giving us questions like what are the possibilities of this technology be?..
Alternative does the same thing but not Virtual Reality but ‘Battle Royale’ games in a whole. For the past months, this type of games have been popular even if you only have PC, PS4, or XBOX, this type of game hits the masses. From H1Z1, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds then to Fortnite, this games have been trending for months on ever single websites on the internet. Even anime fans plays this type of games and coincidentally, Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online came out April 2018 this year which was a month where Battle Royale games like Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds are on the top list of online games. This anime deliver the ‘Battle Royale’ genre into the screen perfectly from tactics, weapons, equipments, team fights, and a whole lot more. Of course there are still some differences of the Squad Jam on GGO being different to the ‘Battle Royale’ games on our generation for example, the scan and it being virtual reality. Although, I could say it is very close to it and that is why Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a very entertaining show. With its great protagonist and antagonist which have character developments and backgrounds along with the other characters supporting each other from the action scenes to inspiration, Sword Art Online Alternative is a great show to give a try on if you dislike the original series’ intake of characters and plot.
MAL Score: 7.15
Yuuta Hibiki wakes up in the room of Rikka Takarada and notices two things: he has no memories, and he can hear a mysterious voice calling his name from a nearby room. On further inspection, he finds a robot—which introduces itself as Hyper Agent Gridman—behind the screen of an old computer. Much to Yuuta’s surprise, Rikka cannot hear Gridman, nor can she see the ominous monsters looming over a thick fog as it envelopes the town outside.
Another giant monster materializes in the city and proceeds to wreak havoc. Amidst the confusion, Yuuta is once again drawn to the old computer and merges with Gridman. Suddenly, he appears in the middle of the battle and is forced to fight the monster. Together with Rikka and fellow classmate Shou Utsumi, Yuuta forms the “Gridman Alliance” to defeat the monsters plaguing the city and find whoever is responsible for their emergence.
That leads us to SSSS.Gridman, the love child of first-time director Akira Amemiya and Keiichi Hasegawa, famed screenwriter of the 1990s Ultraman. It is overflowing with references and callbacks to the live-action series, SSSS is a lovingly crafted modernized take on the original series. The new story takes a theme relevant to today’s audiences and focuses on the youth of Japan and their relationship to technology.
The show opens on Yuta Hibiki, an amnesiac first-year in high school who’s just woken up in the home of Rikka Takarada, a girl in his class. With no clue who she is, or who he is for that matter. His standard introduction no doubt had people rolling their eyes, including me, and it does detract from the story, at least until we learn why he lost his memory. Yuta sees hallucinations of a robot named Gridman in an old computer in Takarada’s family store, later called ‘Junk’ in reference to its name in the original show. Afterward, he meets Sho Utsumi, his friend before getting amnesia. Sho helps him with his memory loss, which is more or less his role in the series, being Yuta’s support. He’s a decent character, with a minor arc and some development. Throughout the first episode, the information we’re being fed by the characters is incongruous with what we observe from Yuta’s perspective. Rikka and Utsumi easily accept Yuta’s amnesia and when he sees Kaiju looming in the distance they assume he’s joking because—like his Gridman hallucinations—he is the only one who can see them at first. In spite of the mundane reactions of people around Yuta, the directing of nearly every scene communicates dread. It constantly feels like danger is just off the frame and the next scene will change everything.
Amemiya lingers on long shots too long for them to feel normal, instead, they communicate anxiety, you constantly are waiting for something to happen that will break the mundanity. Lighting is oversaturated during the daytimes to convey the crushing heat of the summer, and at night is subdued with fog and the monsters are constantly shown looming in the distance over the heroes. In the first episode, a radio playing is placed in between scenes to shift the tone. It bears so much similarity to Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s no surprise considering the director is a Gainax veteran. No doubt, SSSS.Gridman’s greatest strength is the tone, it balances the mundane life of high school students with the dread of a Kaiju attack. Eventually, when the Kaiju do attack, it is equally satisfying to watch play out. The three main characters are together in Rikka’s family store when the first Kaiju begins wreaking havoc on the city, forcing Yuta to work with Gridman fight off the monsters in giant robot form. Together they create the Gridman Alliance, dedicated to defeating any Kaiju that threatens to destroy their city.
Animation is fluid, characters are incredibly expressive, storyboards are filled with detail, shots are excellently framed. The camera work is dynamic making the action always exciting and even the CGI used during many of the fight scenes is superb. The sound design is especially amazing at giving audio feedback during these scenes, a vehicle being crushed, the ground crumbling under a monster, and all of the attacks sound so visceral and lifelike. From time to time the show’s incredible opening is used as background music in fights, and this would typically grow tiresome but because the song is so good and relevant to the story it never bothered me. At times the monster’s movements look janky, but it never feels unintentional, watching old tokusatsu series shows that this is how the monster/giant robot fights looked, they move in ways that make it seem as though someone is inside a suit navigating them. 2D animation could never have achieved the authenticity of the monsters they were aiming for here. Not every scene is exploding with action, but even when the pace slows down, the directing and intruiging storyboarding are still visually arresting. One qualm I would bring up is the overabundance of fanservice placed at awkward moments, this thankfully only happened in certain episodes around the midpoint of the show. All around, this show is incredibly faithful to the original series, visually, audibly, and narratively.
The story is at times too standard to the genre and could have used more originality rather than reliance on the source material. It delivers it’s story beats confidently and plenty self-aware of the nostalgia it’s evoking, but the times it updates the script to a modern audience are worthwhile. Important information is shown to us rather than told, a characters motivation is never told to us before it is shown, a twist never comes that wasn’t foreshadowed heavily. This showing rather than telling comes across the most in Akane Shinjou’s scenes, a classmate of Yuta’s. She offers the most exciting writing in the show. In the first episode alone, her scenes convey more fear than any of the Kaiju scenes. She’s subtle with her dark side and when she gets her quiet moments of angry reflection you get to see how bitter she is. Her psychotic tendencies and lack of care for others are made all the more frightening by how much power she proves to have.
Although Yuta’s simplistic personality is explained very well in the narrative, Rikka and Akane get far more development than him. Eventually, they even take his place as the protagonists, and the show is much better for it. Rikka gets more development than Yuta and becomes a remarkably sympathetic character right away. While Yuta and Utsumi celebrate their victories against Kaiju she worries about the fallout of the city being attacked and if her friends are safe. She’s the most nuanced character in the show, and it often feels like she is a normal person who was placed into the plot of a wild sci-fi kids show. Her apprehension towards conflict and her contemplation of the effects of what’s occurring in the story are what makes her so believable. Yuta and Utsumi are at first, ecstatic to escape the mundane life of being a student, then the shock of the danger they’re in forces them to face reality and change their mindsets. Whereas Yuta accepts he has to overcome challenges at face value and follows through like a typical protagonist, Rikka is constantly questioning why she’s in such a dire situation and where her place is in all of it. Her development throughout the show is intertwined with Akane’s and they both change in ways that are very engaging to watch play out.
The themes of Gridman are showcased throughout the story in the elaborate technology the villain has, all alone in her room, contrasted with the beat-up old computer the Gridman Alliance use. Yet even with basic technology, they prove to be formidable foes to the Kaiju, and they enjoy working together. What the screenwriter is trying to say is rather basic, but it’s nonetheless a well-reinforced theme and consistent throughout the show, you don’t need an abundance of technology to have good relationships and valued friendships.
[Final Score: 8/10]
SSSS.Gridman stands as one of the best mecha in recent memory. Stylistically it is much different than the rest of Studio Trigger’s anime, but it is one of their greatest works yet. It wears its love for the original series and tokusatsu entertainment on its sleeve. The story is wonderfully nostalgic, and surprisingly enough, thought-provoking. Laden with subtle details building up to every twist, every theme, it is both visually interesting and endlessly analyzable. I look forward to rewatching it time and time again in the future.
Hey, are you feeling down because you have this great idea for an anime but keep getting rejected by every studio that you try to sell your pitch to? Well it’s time to turn that frown upside down, because Studio Trigger will gladly produce your anime for you, as long as your anime contains a few specific things of course. Here are the three easy steps that you must follow in order to have your anime green lit by Studio Trigger!
1. Make sure to have a LOT of steamy hot fan service. It’s best if your main source of sex appeal comes from your leading female character, because being hot waifu material > having a personality and depth.
2. Have your main character (who has to be an edgy teen btw) fly around in a giant mecha all the time because BIG ROBOTS ARE AWESOME!!!
3. ADD ALIENS! Especially as twist villains for the final arc of your story, because there’s nothing better than kids in giant robots fighting against aliens in FREAKING SPACE!!!
Follow these simple steps and your anime will be practically guaranteed to end up as Trigger’s next unsuccessful imitation of great anime like NGE and TTGL just like SSSS.Gridman is!
…On second thought, maybe you should just try your luck with a no-name studio.
I’m starting to think that creativity died at Studio Trigger. Yet although they seem to consistently recycle the same exact ideas, I’ve still enjoyed their works. I loved Kill la Kill because it somewhat deviated from the traditional Trigger formula and was just a great and fun anime all around. I even really liked Darling in the FranXX up until they butchered the ending because Trigger just HAD to have aliens. But with StopSoundingSoStupid.Gridman (Seriously, are the four S’s supposed to mean something?), it just felt hollow. I never got the impression that this anime was trying to stand out and make a name for itself, and it unfortunately ended up being painfully average because of it.
Interestingly enough, my score for this anime fluctuated several times throughout its run time. I actually did find some episodes to be enjoyable and even thought provoking, yet others were the embodiment of mediocrity equipped with bad character interactions and bland scenarios. The only things that remained consistent throughout were Rikka’s sexy legs. But even those thick thighs weren’t enough to salvage the dysfunctional plotline of this anime.
The setting is quite bizarre. Our protagonist has come down with a rather unfortunate case of amnesia that is poorly explained near the end of the anime and finds himself in a city surrounded by a bunch of giant kaiju that only he can see. But he doesn’t really seem too concerned about any of this. In fact, he doesn’t seem to care about anything at all except for getting in Rikka’s pants. And when other characters finally realize that our hero Yuuta isn’t insane and see the kaiju too, they also don’t seem to care too much about their situation. And that’s one of the glaring issues with this anime. If the characters are completely nonchalant about basically everything, then why should we the viewers care about what’s going on? Not that the story itself is anything exciting. It’s just a typical monster of the week that Gridman and Yuuta beat up and then everything resets (the damage to the city and the memories of everyone who isn’t an important character) because plot. And despite what you may be thinking, there really isn’t much more to this anime than that. If anything, it just became even more confusing and convoluted by the end of the show.
For the most part, the characters are pretty stale. Gridman is the most bland sentient robot ever conceived and is piloted by the most uninspired kid imaginable. Utsumi is that typical friend guy who never does anything useful except crack a joke or two every ten minutes. Rikka is the attractive female lead who’s personality unfortunately isn’t as good as her looks. Alexis is some random alien that’s randomly in this anime because Trigger has an alien fetish. The other characters bar one aren’t even worth mentioning.
*This short segment contains spoilers as well as positive thoughts on this anime*
The one person who keeps this anime from falling into garbage territory in my eyes would be Akane. She takes the role of the antagonist, making all of the kaiju herself and trying to kill Gridman and people she doesn’t like with them, and the anime literally revolves around her since she is, you know, a god. She seems like a fun and energetic girl at first, but after peeling away her mask, her true colors as a heartless, attention seeking psycho are exposed. And the anime even further sheds light on her intricate and delicate psyche later on in the show. The dream sequence episode, while weird, was one of my favorites from the anime simply because of how it portrayed Akane. She’s just a really engaging character who I enjoyed watching. She’s also pretty hot, I’d say even more so than Rikka’s (Yeah, I said it!) Akane is definitely the highlight of SSSS.Gridman for me.
*End of spoilers and positivity*
Despite my obvious displeasure with a decent chunk of this anime, it was still semi enjoyable to watch. Sure, the anime doesn’t have much heart, but watching a giant robot beat up giant monsters is always fun, despite how repetitive it gets. And Rikka and Akane were a pleasure to watch (for more reasons than one~), so that’s always a plus.
Show’sStorySeriouslySucks.Gridman is underwhelming. It never really went anywhere and just felt sort of pointless. A lot of things didn’t make sense and when the anime did try to explain something, it usually just made it even more confusing. Let’s hope that Studio Trigger is able to improve with their next project.
And hopefully not include any aliens.
Gridman is a precarious mix of genres, balancing seemingly everyday school life against giant mecha fights. The former goes against what people expect from mecha anime, and is likely responsible for the show being labeled as slow. However, these two disparate halves somehow built off each other, with the tension of the daily life feeding into the catharsis of the action scenes. Since it’s the more mundane material that seems to have garnered the most criticism, that’ll be the focus of this review.
Interestingly enough, this means I really don’t need to talk about Yuta. While he may pilot Gridman, his amnesiac protagonist bit gets in the way of him having a particularly interesting school life, and instead Rikka steps forward as the protagonist. Rikka is the more emotionally-driven of the two, and while she’s aware of all the kaiju shenanigans going on in the show, it’s never really her main drive.
Instead, Rikka’s conflict is her trying to reconnect with Akane, the antagonist of the series with whom she used to be close friends. Akane creates the kaiju that terrorize the city, and it would be so easy to just view her as the villain, especially since this is how she presents herself. But unlike the other protagonists, Rikka doesn’t look at her through this lens. By refusing to play on Akane’s terms of mecha and kaiju, she is the one who is able to genuinely reach out to Akane and save her from her isolation. This story of reconnection could have been treated as secondary to the main action, but instead it’s given the same level of attention, receiving much of the show’s expressive animation and relatable character moments.
Also, the show absolutely nails atmosphere. Though everything seems mostly normal for the first half of the run, the show’s use of its claustrophobic camera and tendency for long pauses serve to constantly instill a sense of discomfort in the viewer as they try to figure out why the world seems off. The summer heat is tangible and oppressive, and the rainy days are all the more miserable. The soundtrack goes a long way to sell these scenes, and the opening and ending are both fantastic.
Briefly, I’ll talk about how the show handles homage. I think a lot of the criticism leveled at the show is based on it being too steeped in references to other shows, to the point that animator for the original Gridman Obari Masami complained that they weren’t doing anything new with the material. With that said, I don’t mind having these callbacks as fanservice to fans of the original, especially since they don’t conflict with the story being told. Plus, how upset can I really be over all of the character designs being based on obscure Transformers? That’s adorable.
In conclusion, Gridman is just really good, you know? If you’ve been on the fence about watching Gridman because of the initial negative reception, I’d say it’s worth trying for yourself. I’m still not entirely clear why so much of the community is down on this show, but I absolutely loved it, and I hope that more people will give it a chance.
8: Planet With
Japanese: プラネット ウィズ
MAL Score: 7.20
According to the theories of oneiromancy, dreams of dragons represent the struggle of losing yourself to your own anger. Fittingly, Souya Kuroi wakes up from a nightmare of a massive dragon destroying everything around him in a blaze of rainbow colored light. After being told that he lost his parents and memory in a strange accident, the waking world becomes another nightmare in itself. With this dream being his only memory, he has no choice but to be taken care of by his two strange guardians: the spunky and energetic maid Ginko, and a huge cat known only as “Sensei.”
His new life is turned upside down when the denizens of Saromisaka City are beset by a teddy bear-shaped UFO. When military power proves to be ineffective, seven mysterious people rise up to fight off the monstrosity. These heroes destroy the invader in a flurry of rainbow colored lights, the very same lights that Souya saw in his nightmare.
With the alien threat repelled, these seven strangers find themselves facing a new adversary: Souya. Swearing vengeance upon the people who decimated his old life, he begins his crusade against these “heroes” and becomes embroiled in a struggle of galactic proportions.
So what made this show so good may ask? Let’s find out, shall we?
The story of Planet With follows a young high schooler named Soya Kuroi Soya Kuroi who is living a peaceful life despite having no memories of his past. Along with his peaceful life he is living with a large cat named Sensei and a maid named Ginko. One day, strange floating beasts appear in the sky above Japan, and conventional weapons are useless against them until seven men and women transform into powerful weapons and destroy them. Sōya finds himself pressed into battle, fighting not against the beasts, but against the seven heroes instead, as he becomes an unwitting pawn in an interstellar war that has come to Earth.
The story for Planet With is great and interesting.
For starters, the story is very easy to follow as not only the knows gets straight to the point narratively but the story completely avoids all the traps that plagued the mecha anime genre such as big info dumps, unneeded fan-service, wish fulfillment, edge, lack of focus and bad filler content.
The first 4 episodes of Planet With are pretty episodic but after episode 4 the show completely leaves it episodic roots by going for a different direction and the direction that it took, in the end, was great that is filled with great writing and story elements. The best thing about Planet With was how unpredictable it was. Compare to any other anime in the season Planet With is filled with interesting exciting story moments that were, for the most part, were well executed.
The show is for the most part well paced as the show moves at a smooth pace where the viewer can understand what is going on screen.
Even though the story of Planet With was pretty great I have two minor nitpicks with it.
While the show was indeed easy to follow for the most part, however, there were a couple of times where the show became a bit too complex and a bit hard to follow. Don’t get me wrong this is pretty easy to follow, for the most part, however, there were certain story elements in that can be a bit tricky to fully understand especially if you’re a new anime fan. This was not an issue for me, however, I can understand why newer anime fans would fell lost and confused while watching this show at times.
Also while the show was a great ride that I really enjoyed, however, I honestly thought the show was way too short for its own good.
This is more of a personal complaint but I thought that this show could have been 24 episodes long. Yes, the ending was great as it was not rushed and manages to conclude the series very well but there was a small part of me wanted this show to be longer. Oh well, you can’t have them all I guess.
Overall the story of Planet With was great.
The characters in Planet With are pretty cool and enjoyable.
Soya is a pretty great mecha protagonist. Not only he is a likable character in his own right but he is a well written who develops very well. Not to mention his backstory and motivation for revenge was well told and intriguing. He’s is far better than that lifeless potato named Hiro from Darling in the Franxx.
Next, we have Ginko who is by far favorite character in this show. Outside of being my favorite Waifu of this season, she is a fun and interesting character that I really enjoyed from start to finish. I really enjoyed her character chemistry with Soya as feels like a great sister for Soya.
The other characters in this show are very good that are not only well developed but they all fun and entertaining characters that have charm.
Overall the characters in Planet With were pretty awesome.
Visually Planet With is very good.
The character and background designs were pretty great and appealing to look at. There was hardly any art failures in this show manages to use its production values budget very well.
The mecha designs are solid overall. Yes, the mechs are in CGI but for once it actually works as this show almost perfectly manages to blend in CGI mecha into traditional 2D animation. Sensei mecha form itself is easily the best mecha design of 2018. Yes the mecha itself at first may look like SD Destiny Gundam but what it can do in combat says otherwise not mention the use of blue sci-fi color palette for the mecha was great as the mech was made from a competent mecha designer instead of a talentless hack who designed the cringe-inducing mech designs from Darling in the Franxx. As for the other mechs they were all pretty good for what they were especially Kakka mecha form.
The animation in Planet With is pretty good overall as it’s very smooth and the fight choreography for the mecha fights was awesome.
Awesome job J.C Staff
The soundtrack in Planet With is awesome. Not only the music by itself was a great listen as all of the tracks have that great sci-fi dubstep but it masterfully blends in well with the show plot and setting.
The opening theme One Unit” by Minami is a fantastic opening theme that is not only epic song in its own right but it perfectly captures the tone of the series.
The ending theme Rainbow Planet” by Mai Fuchigami is a pretty good ending overall.
The voice acting in this show is great as every single Seiyuu did a great job with the roles that they were given.
It’s such a shame that Planet With hasn’t got a Simulcast English Dub. Then again Funimation would rather simulcast Isekai train-wrecks like The Master of Rock Bottom and How to Not Summon a Demon Lord. Hopefully, this show gets the English Dub that it deserves.
I had a blast watching Planet With.
Yes, it may not be my favourite anime from this season as I prefer Banana Fish and High Score Girl over this show but I still think that Planet With is better than most of the throwaway anime from this season.
The story was pretty great and enjoyable. The characters were amazing and well developed, the visuals were great and the soundtrack was awesome. Honestly I mecha genre completely redeemed themselves after that shameless train-wreck that was Darling in the Franxx.
If you’re looking for a good modern mecha anime that is well executed and has intriguing characters then I strongly recommend Planet With.
Planet With is one of the best animes I have ever seen and I say thank you to the creators for making this wonderful mecha series. It may not be in the same league as Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven and Gundam The Origin but it’s still one hell of an awesome mecha anime that I love.
Final Score 9/10
Anyone familiar with Satoshi Mizukami’s work will probably point out his more well-known series such as “Lucifer and the Biscuit” and “Spirit Circle”. He takes his unusual cast of characters and bring creativity to life. Through some of his works, I realized that Planet With would bring out a familiar feeling. And oh boy, it succeeded in more ways than one. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to first understand what Planet With is really about.
The main story is about a boy named Souya Kuroi. He is a typical high school student with an apparent amnesia. The first episode establishes his role as he gets involved in a battle against strange floating beings known as the Nebula. First impression of the series makes me wonder if it was destiny that caused Souya to get involved in such an event. In other words, perhaps this event wasn’t just coincidental but that he was destined to fulfill his role as something much bigger than he’s ever imagined. Nonetheless, Souya also gets caught into conflict with the Grand Paladin, a group of individuals with their own unique powers. The show depicts them as a mysterious group whose goals lies in unfamiliar territories until much later on in the show. However, the heart of the show deals with Souya’s role as he regains more and more of his memories. We learn more about his past including his home planet and origins. He’s definitely a complex character that’s hard to read between the lines. In fact, Souya is less of the typical protagonist and initially portrayed as antagonist. You heard me right. His actions in the show is portrayed more as going against the heroic role. The first few episodes has him go up against Grand Paladin while also connecting with them when he’s not in his mech. In doing so, the show creates a sensation of mystery as how much we should really try to understand Souya. I think in many ways, Mizukami’s creativity shows for making a character like Souya as he is deceptively complex. There may be the type of audience that will understand Souya easier if you’re familiar with his work. But even if you’re someone lost in the dark, Souya is still a character you’d want learn more. Many questions will pop up throughout the show like why he’s living with an oversized cat or dream about dragons.
As I watched more and more of Planet With, the experience became more of going with the flow and enjoying what the creator presents to us. Its ideas are otherworldly and the plot is carried by the actions of the characters. In fact, there’s an easy trend of action result in consequences throughout the show. Besides Souya, the Grand Paladin is a prominent example with its faction of members. Even their leaders have hidden agendas that far eclipses than just defeating some aliens. Many of its members are actually unaware of their true intentions as well. Members of the Grand Paladin such as Benika and Yousuke begins to question their own organization after certain events in the show. Then, there are others who follows the organization’s code to the letter. Individually, I think members of Grand Paladin are unique with their own personalities and character chemistry between each other. A noticeable example is Miu and Harumi with their childhood friendship/rivalry. In the earlier episodes, Miu wants to truly prove to herself especially to Harumi in battle. This results in disastrous consequences that nearly costs her life. But to be honest, I think the show does an exceptional job at taking risks like this. It puts the audience in their seat to see how far characters to go to accomplish their goals. In doing so, it also made me get invested into these characters with their unpredictability.
That being said, there are definitely some characters that stands out compare to others. Sensei (the purple cat) is an easy example to point out not just for his unusual characteristics but also for his revelation later in the story. Others such as the Grand Paladin leader Takashi Ryuuzoji makes you curious about his true motives. Hell, even that maid Ginko Kuroi should spark more than just interest once you see what she can do. However, characters like Nozomi and Judgement are portrayed more as comic relief. Like I said before, some characters stand out more than others and not everyone can steal the spotlight. Souya’s character growth is also important to note as the more memories he recovers, the more he matures. Despite that, the show is still known for its various running gags such as Souya’s insatiable desire to eat meat. In general, I think the comedy in this show is a bit peculiar. It never relies on shock or fan service. Instead, it presents it in a sort of kooky and sarcastic way. The dialogues comes out naturally but sometimes mixes in silly words to make conversation flow like an oddball. Take it as you’d like but if this is your first time seeing a Mizukami work, then it should be an unique experience.
There are many ways to describe the art style of Planet With but I find the word ‘surreal’ to be one of the more accurate representations. My first glance at the mecha designs immediately gave me a weird insight on its context. The ripple pattern eyes and cat-like ears is definitely an unusual design that I’ve not seen in many of the mecha series I’ve seen before. Furthermore, there are the Nebula that takes weirdness to another level such as the abnormal looking dolls or inverted babies. Oh and let’s not forget sensei with his idiosyncratic look. On the other hand, the human-looking characters in the show are about as average as it can get. With the exception of Ginko, no one really looks remarkable. Some of them even fall under character archetypes such as Nozomi as the ‘glasses girl’. However, I’m more than pleased at the battle choreography of the show. Even from its first episodes, I knew it was impressive with the cinematic-like explosiveness. Some of the fights look like watching a movie by the amount of details it shows. I often had to take a breather or two after some of the fighting segments because it was that damn fierce.
As part of Mizukami’s involvement in the show, he also worked on the series composition. This would be the first time anyone has heard of his work in animated form. And thankfully, he aces it with flying colors. In essence, the battle OST and music in the show is phenomenal. There’s not one moment in the battle scenes that loses momentum thanks to his talent. In my opinion, Mizukami gave those scenes a larger than life moment by the sheer technical quality of the soundtrack. It’s hardcore with heavy beats that mixes in with a variety of electrical notes to make everything flow together. On the other hand, I can’t really say the casting in the show were exceptional. Other than Sensei, everyone else just sounds too normal despite the show being abnormally strange. Luckily, the theme songs makes up more of that with their creativity.
Planet With is not a show that I can easily recommend to just anyone. Watching the first episodes made my head spin at how complex the characters and the storytelling may become. And indeed, this series won’t be easy to watch with just an open mind. You need to understand the characters and their motivations as every action has a consequence. As surreal as the series feels, Planet With can be very enjoyable for once you accept for what it is. As Mizukami’s first anime project, I hope his manga works gets adaptations in the future. Or if not, make another season of Planet With because I want more.
First, we need to get an elephant out of the room; this show ain’t a looker. The CGI is generally terrible, making action scenes have no weight to them in terms of actual combat. This makes the combat feel floaty and even silly. The CGI works well when you see some absurd creature designs in the early episodes, but not for the mecha fights that are prevalent within the show, let alone any other machines that appear often. The character models are sometimes CG as well and they look even worse in those rare instances. That said, the designs are more than striking, from the mech and weird alien behemoth designs, to the wonderful, expressive, and/or sexy character designs. The actual animation and direction have some fun moments as well from interesting shots and angles, particularly later on. If only the CGI was up to par with the 2D elements, but alas JC Staff can’t help but continue its recent trend of lackluster visuals. To be fair, at least it stands out, unlike the music, which aside from the decent OP and ED, is serviceable at best.
Where the show makes up for this is in its character exploration and chemistry. While few characters outside of Souya and Ginko are very memorable, the show does a wonderful job at exploring them and making their personalities bounce off each other. Most of the gags are spot-on, and despite how formulaic the early episodes were with some of its characters, what we got in terms of their backstories and how they dealt with everything was solid enough in its own right. Their conflicts, while spelled out to borderline obnoxious degrees, are handled in an engaging way, and the fact that this show works well as a modern surreal super robot shounen anime adds to this, right down to the finale. The show never indulges too far in its own bleakness despite how horrific several backstories can be and how the characters break down. All of this makes these characters charming for as unremarkable they may be. The comedy and romantic moments work effectively in that same vein. It never quite reaches Studio Gainax levels of maintaining that perfect balance between quirky, and downright tragic with shows like Gurren Lagann or Nadia. Despite this, well-respected mangaka Satoshi Mizukami still crafted arguably the most well-rounded show of the year. Cramming it all into 12 episodes as cleanly as it did is arguably one of the show’s greatest feats as well.
Ultimately, this dark horse managed to be one one of the most surreal and charming shows of the year, visuals notwithstanding. Its conflicts are somewhat engaging, its feel is wonderful and genuine, and it manages to stand-out within this gigantic seasonal crowd for a variety of reasons. It’s a truly solid work with some real heart and talent to boot. Dare I say, with better action and CGI, this show could have been one of the greats. It certainly worked better as Gurren Lagann’s successor than Darling in the FranXX ever did.
7: Darling in the FranXX
English: DARLING in the FRANXX
Japanese: ダーリン イン ザ フランキス
MAL Score: 7.27
In the distant future, humanity has been driven to near-extinction by giant beasts known as Klaxosaurs, forcing the surviving humans to take refuge in massive fortress cities called Plantations. Children raised here are trained to pilot giant mechas known as FranXX—the only weapons known to be effective against the Klaxosaurs—in boy-girl pairs. Bred for the sole purpose of piloting these machines, these children know nothing of the outside world and are only able to prove their existence by defending their race.
Hiro, an aspiring FranXX pilot, has lost his motivation and self-confidence after failing an aptitude test. Skipping out on his class’ graduation ceremony, Hiro retreats to a forest lake, where he encounters a mysterious girl with two horns growing out of her head. She introduces herself by her codename Zero Two, which is known to belong to an infamous FranXX pilot known as the “Partner Killer.” Before Hiro can digest the encounter, the Plantation is rocked by a sudden Klaxosaur attack. Zero Two engages the creature in her FranXX, but it is heavily damaged in the skirmish and crashes near Hiro. Finding her partner dead, Zero Two invites Hiro to pilot the mecha with her, and the duo easily defeats the Klaxosaur in the ensuing fight. With a new partner by his side, Hiro has been given a chance at redemption for his past failures, but at what cost?
The actual story centers around our ten kids who are trying to find their soulmate/significant other/person with whom they share the best body compatibility with. They do this by piloting mecha in the pairs of two and fighting against these things called Klaxowhatever. Klaxosaur, just like everything and anything else, is a reference. If you remove xo from the name, you get the combination of klasa and ur, klasa standing for “class” in polish – and xo obviously meaning hugs and kisses – giving us klaxosaur as: “U R hugs and kisses class.” Same thing can be said about the actual title of this series. Darling in the FranXX basically standing for Darling in the Fran hugs hugs. The whole “two parties fight against each others until one collapses” is initially just a debate over should you remain loyal to your significant other and are hugs truly enough. The robots think it is not enough, and the whole series is basically our characters realizing the same little by little. This is, indeed, the plot of this series. Pretty cool, huh.
There are in total of ten main characters here (in case you forgot what you read 17 seconds ago). By 10 main characters, I mean we have 3 actual characters and the remaining 7 are filler people. The characters are just great. Oni girl is basically a whore who is looking for her prince charming. I musn’t runway guy does the opposite his name suggests. And the third wheel dude and the most potential prince charming… exists. I call this trio The Cuck Squad, by the way. Rest of the “characters” are so much filler I believe the thought process behind creating them was something like: “Hmmm. we need more people here. Let’s see…….. One fat guy? Yes, one fat guy coming in………. girl who wears glasses? …… Oh yes, f**k yes.”
The production is based Trigger. Not exactly as ADHD as Kill la Kill nor a masterpiece from every aspect like Inferno Cop, but at least doesn’t ruin the series like they did with Uchuu Patrol Luluko and Ninja Slayer. The OST could use some Tomatodermewhatever they called the band in KlK, and some tedious German language vocals would be great addition to put in the mix, but otherwise I was pleased to get a confirmation that every Trigger anime from now on will be the exact same thing production wise as all the rest have been.
When it comes to enjoyment, my expectations were very mixed. I heard so much praise and flaming, and after watching it, I have to conclude that this series can be liked and disliked for infinite different reasons. In one way, the series is a clusterfuck, the seasonal shitstorm, the trainwreck and sum of all wagons. This obviously makes it an obligatory watch for every critic so they can hit it with 1/10 and call the worst thing ever because once again you can criticize FranXX for thousand and one things. On the other hand, Darling is often so ridiculous that it can offer enormous entertainment value with ironic viewing. All you need is a sense of humor and some chill. The drama, the cute and comfy stuff and the happy moments will serve those are ready to take them for what they are.
As a final verdict: Critics and the likes can write thousand pages long analysis of all the things that are wrong in this one, people with sense of humor laugh their asses off, and people who approach it with more “casual” and open mindset will enjoy this show for what it is. This series has something for each and everyone. If a series like that is not a masterpiece, then I do not know what is. 10/10.
FranXX was hyped a lot. And that’s just the short of it, it had a huge marketing campaign and had a huge amount of anticipation with people calling it the “Next Evangelion” or a “Spiritual successor to Eva” and so on and so forth. The legendary Yabuki Kentarou was signed on doing the art for the manga adaptation for this unoriginal original and as a matter of fact, that’s how I found out about the show in the first place and went in expecting the amazing show the marketing had me believe. Result? Well I can’t surprise you since you might have seen the score I gave it. Yes. A mess. A terrible mess.
To begin with, the main part that is the reason fans gloss over this show, the characters. They are given little to no backstories and their roles to play are very less. Squad 13 mainly served as a bumbling group of teenagers (hmm… why teenagers in particular?) who don’t know jackshit except for the so called “fact” that they must pilot the mechs known as FranXX and defeat these blue magma lover monsters called Klaxosaurs. Let that seep in. Why children? Most likely because they wanna appeal to the target audience of the show, teenagers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be as fruitful as A-1 and Trigger thought it would because when you’ve got an idiotic group of teenagers who contribute nothing to character development, I don’t think you end up with teenage viewers going crazy over a show. I mean, yes, teens in real life aren’t always smart, but if given the chance, I’m sure they’d do something sensible when they need to, but we don’t see such a thing at all. Why? All we see is random blushes and such stuff. I mean, these teens are acting like everyday teens, yes, that’s fine but is this the premise to do so? A place where people are bombarded by the constant threat of Klaxosaurs? Kids are supposed to have fun yes, but not when you’re literally guarding human lives from danger.
To move away from the characters for a moment, we move to another problem with the show, its connection. And don’t you dare justify it by telling me it’s an episodic anime, because it sure as hell is not. In reality, it’s just mixed up completely and had too many ideas to implement together and instead of choosing one idea to go with, they probably chose all and excellently failed at all of them. Why? Poor connection. To hold up a plot you need connection, FranXX didn’t offer any of that at all. It just dragged on and didn’t leave any mention of what happened before and most importantly WHY the situation happened before. What could possibly be the reason behind this? Simple. Bad direction. All it takes to destroy the whole hard work of a show is bad direction. In fact, about 90% of the issues with the anime can be traced back to bad direction. If the show had a good director I suppose the show would have a direction to follow, but this being FranXX, it had to follow all the directions it could and then ended up nowhere. In the first episode I had the show at a shocking 9 and if you look at it now it’s fallen pretty spectacularly. This is because of the show’s bad direction; events were unconnected and an irritated yours truly almost smashed his screen onto the floor . Random stuff happening here with no explanation, and then random stuff happening there without explanation, was this anime devoid of sense or something? Because I did not find any of it anywhere. And then we’ve got the problem that follows that the story was unexplained. Why did this happen? Why did that happen? How did this occur? Where did this issue first occur? There were many questions asked by fans, and the answer is that it was clear both studios didn’t want quality, they wanted the $$$ And that’s me trying to be positive, we got zilch as in reality but eh, gotta act positive.
Needless to say, apart from a cliched mess of a story, it’s disappointing in almost every other regard (read on for further explanation), serving as a reminder that it only takes one big mistake to spoil the whole effort put into an anime, or anything for that matter. Speaking of mistakes, we come to another part that had the cosplayers, fan artists and others crazy, the romance— particularly the romance between Zero Two and Hiro. First off, our two MCs. Zero Two was introduced as a waifu like character which immediately took the undeserving “deconstruction” tag which was ripped off from Eva (surprise surprise, FranXX ripped off a show) while giving us another useless MC who went by the self appointed name Hiro. Their romance was unexplained until way later into the series, an episode which even I liked, episode 13. They were largely unexplained for most of the anime’s run and it was only in the first episode of the second cour (episode 13) that tried to remedy this. Result? Thankfully good. Episode 13 was regarded as an excellent episode by even the harshest of critics since it explained a lot of the stuff between Hiro and Zero Two and obviously it was a flashback episode, yet despite being a flashback episode it was done well— surprising since this is FranXX. But the problem came afterwards; after that episode was done, we saw a lot of crap follow it in the form of the team getting “mad” at Zero Two for “hurting” Hiro for over dramatic effect and to make me sympathise with the characters. Why would you drag through 12 episodes just to see the one episode that seemed half decent and it goes back to its shitty formula? I loathed it even more.The episodes were cliched, unconnected messes with absolutely no relevance to the plot, just serving to pass time either to focus on Hiro or to make the fanboys go crazy over the fight scenes, which were nothing more than one hit kills and random dashes.
Moving on from there all we got were cheesy half hearted lines like “I wanna be with you forever” and all that teenage fantasy (severely paraphrased for ease of comprehensive analysis) and pointless romantic moments that don’t have much to do with the plot. Why am I crushing the romance here even though I’m a romance fan? It’s because FranXX deployed this romance at the wrong times, I can’t even say I’m surprised anymore at this kind of problem. Then we go to the other cast, Ichigo is a character that served as a reminder about the stupidity of fanboys since her voice actor Kana Ichinose received death threats just because of her work as Ichigo. Anno would be proud. Ichigo’s character though wasn’t fleshed out (to say nothing of the rest of the cast, especially Ikuno, Zorome and Miku) and her actions were basically “I’m jealous because I love him but can’t reveal it to him because I’m shy” and that time when she DID do it, it was enough to even send non romance fans into a fit because it was done in a (dare I say it?) slutty way cause teenagers? I do not know. Then we come to the signature part which had many people divided as well, Kokoro. To delve into this horrible character we must enter minor spoiler territory so if you can’t handle looking at a good character being turned into a whore please skip the marked spoiler section.
***Skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers about this side character and want the relationship as a surprise. Spoilers begin: Kokoro was paired up with Futoshi who liked Kokoro a lot but suffered from the same problem as Ichigo. However, since he’s male the fanboys didn’t take or notice much issue, perhaps also because Futoshi wasn’t made as a cockblocker character and instead was of the “I’ll protect her” than a “I want him to love me instead”, only thing is that Kokoro turned out to “betray” Futoshi and instead go for an unlikely character who was largely ignored throughout the show, Mitsuru. She suddenly developed feelings for him and even kissed him for no concrete reason apart from taking the show into an extremely shitty direction because guess what? She wanted a baby. Why? Freakin’ teenagers… this is the worst way to relate to them. Then Kokoro went from a “I am not in love with Futoshi but he’s a kind person” to an “I want Mitsuru’s @#$_ inside me”. I’m not even joking. This LITERALLY happened. Why am I rambling on about this? Because that’s definitely not how you make a show about teenagers because that’s not at all representative of the majority. Anyway, then they suddenly want to get married (!?) and we see other crap follow as well without explanation or reason, they just wanna fill time at this rate. With what? Throwing in the notion that Kokoro is pregnant later on. Teenage pregnancy, a very common thing in teens nowadays amiright? Wrong. And you know what worse? The fact that the folks at FranXX.inc pulled the WORST cliche to go with this. Both of them are caught and are “brainwashed” and their memories are “stored” somewhere. If VIRM didn’t want to let them regain their memories then why store them in the first place? Why not “delete” them into oblivion? Plot armour I say. Convenience too… this makes many viewers realise that the episode was just existing to pass time and fool the viewers into thinking their time into the episode was worth it? Spoiler end***
This brings us on to the next point, underused characters. Namely Miku, Zorome and Ikuno. Not to mention Goro but he got a little bit of a focus so I’ll give him a brief look later. Miku and Zorome were shown as characters who had a rivalry-love which seemed fresh and interesting but that was pulled down along with the anime because they didn’t focus on these two at all. What made them attracted to each other? Why are they paired up together? These questions were never answered and I was left hanging, which was disappointing since Miku apart from sharing the same hairstyle as the superstar with the same name (my profile picture character to those of you non-Vocaloid fans) she was one of the few characters who was believable as a teenager. Many people wouldn’t notice that these two weren’t given enough focus and that was sad because this fresh idea could be explored a lot more and I wouldn’t be surprised if I found their rivalry-love better than the two main characters, and don’t forget, I liked Miku as a character as well.
Leaving us with the last two, Ikuno and Goro. Ikuno was mainly used as fodder for Mitsuru to frown upon so that he could get hooked to the resident slut Kokoro (I don’t think I should call her that because she didn’t like Futoshi but considered him kind but then I’m disappointed because like Miku, I liked Kokoro, only that love turned to hate since FranXX ruined her) and Ikuno was ignored for the rest of the anime, she wasn’t given lines and that one “I want a baby” episode scene where she DID say something, it wasn’t explained WHY she stepped forward and did her act. My guess is because since she didn’t have any lines, the show didn’t want to make her look like a dumbass so they forcefully gave her lines and that was all. Then we enter spoiler territory yet again because Ikuno was given that small 5 minute focus in a later episode.
***Minor Spoiler Begin: Since Ikuno wasn’t given a love interest the folks at FranXX.inc thought it’s a good idea to introduce some Yuri at the worst possible time and in the worst possible way, as such, the result was never spoken of again, which pretty much explains how the “affair” went. Needless to say, this was a last ditch effort to save her character and it served as the final nail in the coffin for Ikuno. Minor Spoiler End***
We then come to the last character, Goro. Apart from being mildly explored, he served as the third wheel-ish character who was later shown as being in love with Ichigo unsurprisingly, unfortunately he as mentioned wasn’t explored much and so was thrown into the sidelines to focus on our main characters, yet another character thrown aside who had a lot of potential to do great things in this mess of an anime. I haven’t spoken of any “villains” yet, as this important role was destroyed by the Iotas, who were, like every other thing in the anime, unexplained, unwanted and irrelevant. They served as somewhat of a “backstory” to Zero Two despite not going into detail at all.
As mentioned above there was no proper backstory to Squad 13. Some people said it’s because sci-fi shows “don’t need backstories”. This is plain wrong because if you don’t have backstories of your character, there won’t be any depth to them (see the word depth again and imagine, if there’s no backstory, there’s no depth, which means the characters are shallow) and when the characters simply don’t develop at all during the course of the anime, you end up with flat characters who fall on their face to the plot. Why am I saying this? Hiro and the others didn’t change at all mentally from the first episode to the last. Some might say Hiro’s infatuation with 02 makes him a “developed character” but his rejection of his other members in Squad 13 proves that wrong. Others say that “characterisation is excused in a sci-fi anime”. At first it seemed as a joke to me but when people seriously started talking about this as a defense I got concerned and felt I needed to clarify this. Take arguably the best sci-fi show as an example to that statement: Steins;Gate. It definitely has development throughout the series. How? Okabe starts to realise he can’t do anything, and tries even harder, Makise realises she can’t do things alone, Mayuri does more tuturus because people around her are sad, or to move from the joke, Mayuri realises that she needs Okabe and he needs her, this is what development in a sci-fi is. FranXX, on the other hand, didn’t have any development to the show, its characters, or anything. It felt more like characters felt less real each time they appeared, and I’m not talking about them being realistic and human-like since that’s not what an anime’s main target is everytime, I’m talking about them being acceptable as a character which wasn’t at all seen. No characterisation is only excused in slice of life anime since we’re understandably looking at the lives of the characters and so there’s no plot and therefore no development. FranXX isn’t a slice of life, it’s (terribly weak) progression proved that.
Moving back to the MC of our wonderful series, Hiro. I hadn’t given him enough attention and will do so now. From the start he was unexplained. Why was he a prodigy? What was he doing before meeting Zero Two? What made him so special? To stand out from the rest of the cast, you need distinctive qualities that set you apart from other characters, Hiro had none of that. He was plain and boring. Many may point out that him being in love with 02 would mean that it makes him different from other MCs but that’s wrong because apart from his “love” for 02, nothing else was brought into his character. Although towards the end it was shown that he had become selfish and cared about 02 more than his squad who cared about him, it still isn’t the kind of development that makes you go “Oh, that changed my view of him positively” and if you read that line again you’ll probably understand why too. Then we come to the point that he named everyone else, which was revealed early on. This surprisingly is a good thing I saw. He named Ichigo and named other parasites as well which gave it a child-like feeling (perhaps the only successful child-like/teenage feeling that was executed properly throughout the anime, bear in mind this flashback was 2 minutes long) although it wasn’t explained at all I still felt an iota of warmth. And nothing else I suppose.
Going back to the other “villains”, the Iotas. Since they came in at random times and with random half baked reasons, unsurprisingly they served as yet another thing that was meant to be loathed in the anime. Another irritating thing is how they suddenly became buddy-buddy with Hiro and team in the final arc. I suppose now that FranXX has exhausted whatever little “creativity” they had, they wanted to end with a shounen-esque “everyone bands together to fight the enemy”? I mean, not complaining about the trope but was there any sensible stuff going on beforehand? Speaking of insane stuff going on beforehand, FranXX was said to have been in a post apocalyptic world all of a sudden which we were given hints of in the beach episode for about 20 seconds and then later shown in “detail” (I don’t even know why I’m so generously awarding that word when it’s meaning wasn’t followed at all) in episode 19, which to FranXX’s favour, was a decent episode. But until then for the first 18 episodes, it remained largely unexplained and I don’t think I can award a show a point for revealing something so important when it’s finished about 80% of it’s run. Not a good practice and it returns more harm than good which by now is definitely not what I need to calm myself down. Oh youth. But then wait! Youth reminds me that I should yet again cover another important part about the “juvenile” aspect of this show.
Spoiler Paragraph (or Spoiler-graph) for the final arc below. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers for the final arc. If you’re okay with them, then please continue 🙂
***Spoiler for last arc begin: The most frustrating part of FranXX is by far the last arc. After pointless teenage melodrama, the FranXX team thought of what “ideas” can be added to “save” the anime and they did what every laughable show tries to do as a last ditch effort. To take the battle into (wait for it) SPAAAAAACEEEEEE. Yes. FranXX pulled THAT trope. What an insult to Star Wars and Star Trek. Anyway back to this show, the sudden shift in tones (first a teenage melodrama, then a clone war, then a space war? Is this a tutorial on how NOT to make Star Wars ripoffs?) and extremely convenient and unexplained reveals (more on that in a bit) coming out of nowhere? I don’t think that makes for a coherent plot at all. Add to that another desperate added shounen trope where the enemy suddenly becomes your friend??? And he sacrifices his life for you just a while after you rescue him??? The Klaxosaur Princess was set as the antagonist at around the third quarter of the show and she suddenly joined Hiro’s side and sacrificed her life for him? What happened to her people, the Klaxosaurs? What happened to saving the world? And then suddenly VIRM puts themselves as the villains despite the show trying to establish the Klaxosaurs as the villains and then the aforementioned Klaxosaur Princess as an antagonist? And then their boss is a Power Rangers ripoff??? What even was that last arc?! The industry can do without more Dadolf Scmitlers you know! We’ve seen enough of this trope! Like when they’re losing Papa and the others suddenly give the order to destroy Earth? Nanja sorya??? And then if you thought all this stupidity wasn’t enough, we suddenly see YET ANOTHER problem with the show surface, Plot armour. If I hadn’t explained this before, FranXX suffered from yet another plot hole in the form of plot armour. The Iotas lost a few of their members but Hiro and team were left unscathed, the only “injury” being Ikuno’s hair being turned white… Throughout the course of the show Squad 13 was met with life or death situations but I was confused since no one died. It can’t be a life or death situation if everyone survives, or at least when you have so many life or death situations and no one dies even once I think that’s authentically bullshit. Why fill it to the brim with Deus Ex Machina crap then? In the last 3 episodes we saw Hiro and team suddenly band together and go to space, but then the pathetic dialogue in the previous episodes of the anime became even worse, when they’re in space they’re going “We’re really in space huh?” And Mitsuru’s reason for staying being “I wanna stay because I want to”? Even the dialogues took a huge hit and fell even further… Add to that the pointless Mobile Suit Gundam I ripoff battle except FranXX’s was much worse because everyone survived??? Not to mention Zero Two eating Hiro through her teleport to Hiro fro Earth directly in front of Hiro and she eats him and takes him to the dream world only to play hard to get? If you’re not understanding at all then you have common sense, because no sensible person could understand WHAT happened and WHY. Let’s not add to that horrible reasons to horrible dialogues such as bringing up love when your Squadmate is suffering? And then Hiro and Zero Two immediately go leave the Solar System and the others can’t tag along because “it’s not possible”? This is the limit of cliches but the studios broke it long long ago. And I want to skip over that last episode since that was the only (remotely) decent (?) part of this arc, but the means done to achieve it wasn’t and I spoke enough on that… Spoiler end***
FranXX tries to show us that adults are somewhat tyrants and displays the children’s “struggle” to gaining “independence” even though they’re perfectly fine with their lives with no issues. But you know what they say, if you’ve got no issues, you make them, and that’s EXACTLY what FranXX stayed true to. Trying to show us that our teenage cast is “growing” by acting “mature” with examples as “ wanting to have babies” and “doing the kitty” (don’t search up on that last one) both of which are related and were attempted by Kokoro and Mitsuru. Yet again you ask. Why? I do not know why the show did it. You can’t even tell anymore who they’re trying to make the show relatable for. Then we have to look at the teenage drama as well that follows (that I covered above).
Spoiler Paragraph (or Spoiler-graph) about a range of questions on things that were unanswered throughout the course of the anime below. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers on these questions. If you’re okay with them, then as expected, read on.
***Spoiler questions begin: FranXX as mentioned tried very very hard to be edgy by leaving out some so-called “mystery” feel by not answering the most crucial questions many had throughout the course of the anime. Although episode 13 answered the questions many people had in the first half, there was no such plausible explanation for the second half’s stupidity. What makes me say that? We got weak explanations or no explanations. For example why was the enemy VIRM all along? What was their purpose? Why does Hiro not care about the rest of Squad 13 who he’s lived with all his life and why is he so attached to Zero Two despite the above problem? Why are the problems for the characters happening? Who is to blame and why? Despite this being answered (VIRM) there was no proper explanation as to WHY the villains did it? What was their purpose? Why is Ichigo the leader of the group? Why is 02 not explained properly? How does she looks human and how did it happen (also why does she have pink hair when she was a clone of one with white or blue hair)? How are the rejected people treated? What happens to them? What about their memories? Although their memories as mentioned were stored in some place there’s no explanation as to why they’re stored. Why am I asking that question? When VIRM doesn’t want their puppets to regain their memory, why store their memory? And how is the memory stored anyway? Why are teens chosen to pilot the FranXX? Don’t tell me it’s because their sex organs are most prominent because the teenage years is not the age when this is so. Why are pregnant girls not able to pilot the FranXX? How did the Iotas suddenly be able to join Hiro in the last arc? Weren’t they broken or something? Why do Hiro’s group care and still chase Hiro despite him having rejected them for his “one true love” Zero Two? What was the bullcrap about them going to space and space being the important stuff? Like, what was that cop out explanation about VIRM and the enemies being the aliens? Who and what was the Klaxosaur Princess? Who were the Klaxosaurs? No detailed explanations were given. To cover the villains one last time, VIRM. We look again at the Dadolf Scmitler trope that FranXX.inc deployed. To viewers of Grancrest Senki who aren’t familiar with the Dadolf Scmitler trope, VIRM is basically the Mage Academy, for the first 20 Episodes we were focused on only one villain but suddenly that villain changes in around the 20th episode and they tell us the real villains were someone else all along? (Surprising how both shows deploy the same cliche in the same episode number. Coincidence? I think not), Why is this bad? This is bad because it makes the viewer question if the time they spent on the first 20 episodes even worth it. I mean, if you really HAD to do this, why do it so late? And instead, why not just make an OVA of the last 6-8 episodes and treat it as the same thing? I’m sure it would get a higher score from me and other disgruntled people if they did this instead because our time was wasted… Spoiler questions end***
With all that’s said, eagle eyed readers might have noticed that I haven’t trashed the art or the music. That’s because it isn’t shit. And continue to find out. Since it was a collaboration project with A-1 and Trigger (and later Cloverworks because budget issues?) many expected the art to look amazing and it did actually. They tried to make a world that looked beautiful and mostly succeeded in doing that but you can’t award points to a show for “looking good” as with what the “mainstream” gaming critics like IGN often do (“CoD a 9/10 because it looks good?” Have you even seen what they’re doing now ripping off Fortnite?) so though the art looked good thanks to the colourful backgrounds and eye-catching scenery from time to time, it was in vain as the show couldn’t manage to utilise it well into its plot. Another thing that the show did good was the sound. Even though I’ve been (rightfully) trashing the show left and right, I have to give credit where it’s due, FranXX’s usage of synth tracks are rarely seen in anime and obviously serve for something really good in terms of listening especially when you’re using headphones (and not streaming the show). Then we move onto the OP/EDs selection, I felt that the show went lazy and just changed the OP a bit and passed it off as an OP 2, but the EDs were great. If only FranXX used those EDs more in the second half and don’t abruptly end the episode I’d have a positive opinion of the show. But I’m guilty of singing “Torikago” from the show so gotta give a point to that I guess? But oh wait, they underused all the EDs anyway.
Overall, FranXX is a mess which was over hyped and tried it’s best to stay relevant by throwing in useless storylines all of which were riddled by plot holes and Deus ex machinas which were unconnected and not to mention completely unrelated events and random crap here and there (from teenage drama to Star Wars to Power Rangers? MASAKA???), to remain positive, towards the end, I only ever found the two caretakers Hachi and Nana (especially Nana) interesting and likeable since they had an aura of mystery and the 30 seconds they appeared in their few episodes were all great. Miku and Goro too were characters I pretty much liked but weren’t explored well since they were thrown aside for Hiro and Zero Two unfortunately. If the show had good direction, I’m sure it would have turned out to be one of my favourite anime of all time and for many other disillusioned fans-turned-critics as well. FranXX sadly will always serve as a reminder to how one big mistake in the form of bad directing can jeopardize the whole premise of a show.
Special thanks to TheCobraSlayer for proof-reading the review.
A coming of age story where 10 teenagers fight to both protect their homes and their bonds of friendship and comradeship as they fight in a war where the truth may not be what it seems.
Based off an original idea and concept Darling in the Franxx is a science fiction, mecha and romantic genre anime that also features elements of drama within it. Taking place in a futuristic setting that’s rarely seen within animes Darling in the Franxx gives us the opportunity to see the kind of life that the members of squad 13 a squad of teenage pilot’s experience as they become the newest defenders of their plantation and the kind of problems both personal and professional that they encounter as they enter a world that is fraught with danger where the threat to them and to the human race is not always what it seems. The first episode of the series made a pretty good impression on me and did a great job of hooking me as I become curious not just on the setting but also on the relationship that is forged between Zero Two and Hiro as well as how the squad would change as they enter the life that they had been training so hard to prepare for. Looking back, I’m glad that I decided to stick with the series right to the end as it was a series that I really enjoyed watching.
Taking place in a futuristic setting where the planet Earth has been devastated by humanity’s relentless mining of the planets key resource of magma humanity has now been reduced to a mere handful whose remnants are forced to live in large mobile fortress cities called plantations. Within these plantations while the adults live in the cities within specially trained and created children called parasites are raised and housed together in isolated home areas where they learn to bond and befriend their fellow parasites and learn the finer points of achieving their dream of becoming a part of the plantations defence force as a pilot that pilots one of the plantations valuable mecha the franxx. The bonds and friendships that are forged between the parasites, however, are more than one can expect them to be however as they are something that is vital for the operation of the franxx and to the life that all children within the plantations hope to achieve with their lives. Each franxx is piloted by a paring of parasites that consist of a female parasite a pistil and male parasite a stamen where alongside their mastery of the franxx’s controls they also have one more weapon in their arsenal which is the shared bond with one another that allows the two to synchronise their thoughts and feelings and use this bond as a weapon in the war against the Klaxosaurs a hostile alien race that seems bent on humanity’s destruction.
The overall story follows the character of Hiro also known as code 016 and the members of squad 13 a squad of parasites that had been created and housed in their home of plantation 13 as they train and prepare themselves for their eventual task of taking up the duty of becoming a franxx pilot and a defender of their plantation as they join the war effort against the humanity’s enemy the monstrous and horrifying Klaxosaur species. As the time draws near and the members of squad 13 begin to work even harder to become ready Hiro encounters a slump that causes him to lose hope and strain his relationship with the members of his squad. But in his moment of despair, Hiro encounters Zero Two a half human and half Klax pilot and a member of APE’s elite Nine’s spec ops unit. Though a girl of ill repute and possessing a sinister reputation and nickname of partner killer Hiro and Zero Two soon forged a bond after an attack on the plantation forced them to fight together to repel it. A bond that will be tested as Hiro, Zero and the members of squad 13 after graduation must come to terms with as they witness the brutal nature of fighting against the klax on the frontlines while at the same time reminding them that they need to get stronger and forge stronger bonds and friendships with one other if they want to protect their friends and home.
But as the war continues and the squad and their allies are confronted with sinister revelations the reasons for the war and the true aims of APE and their leader Papa become more clouded but one things for certain. The bonds of friendship, understanding, and romance that has been forged between Hiro, Zero and the members of squad 13 are not an illusion and even when pressed to the limit they will use these strong bonds to protect each other, their home and their fellow parasites and allies from all dangers whether from within or without. Joining Hiro and Zero Two in this endeavour are a host of allies that include the members of his fellow parasites in squad 13 which includes the Kind and level-headed Ichigo, the loyal and calm Goro, the perceptive and intelligent Kokoro, the proud but surprisingly stubborn Miku, the overconfident but surprisingly understanding Zorome, the calm and logical Ikuno , the arrogant but surprisingly fragile Mitsuru and the squads mentor and guardian the kind and caring Nana who wrestles daily with her duty to her superiors and her duty to the children. Together Hiro and his friends and allies would fight to protect their friends, allies and their home from all enemies and in the process grow not just as franxx pilots but also as human beings as they learn to forge a life for themselves and for the first time in their lives control their own destiny.
Hiro played by veteran voice actor Yuuto Uemura of Bungou Stray Dogs fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main protagonist of the series. At the beginning of the series, Hiro is a trainee parasite that along with the members of squad 13 are preparing for their accent to full parasite status. At the beginning of the series, Hiro was a quiet and composed person that seemingly preferred to remain apart from his fellow squad members. He was also noted to be of low self-esteem due to the fact that unlike the rest of his squad his abilities to syn with his assigned partner and thus be able to pilot a franxx had seemingly vanished from his body. This shock of losing his much-prized ability as well as being labelled as the failed prodigy by others caused Hiro to go into a state of depression as too him being to unable to pilot a franxx means that he’s little more than useless baggage to not just the squad but also to the plantation. However, this feeling of depression within Hiro gradually disappears after he encounters a strange human girl that had horns during one of his many walks in the nearby park an encounter that provided the perfect catalyst to awaken Hiro from the doubts and depression that had been making his life difficult.
After meeting Zero Two and successfully becoming her partner Hiro’s personality gradually begins to change as a result of not just meeting Zero Two but also fulfilling his own dream of becoming a franxx pilot. While still quiet and composed it can be seen that after his awakening Hiro has become more confident and determined and willing to help his squad mates when needed. While not shown often in his initial self but more so in his awakened self, it can be seen that Hiro is an intelligent, kind and calm person that prefers to be logical and think things through before committing to them. However, despite his composed nature, it can be seen that Hiro can also lose it pretty easily especially when confronted with unexpected situations. As a result of his new-found confidence and his willingness to help his friends Hiro rather than stay apart from his friends instead starts bonding with them and expresses regret that his past actions have worried them greatly. A key aspect of this process was the development within Hiro of a desire to forgive his friends for the many comments and doubts that they had subjected him to an aspect that I felt matched this development nicely. At the beginning of the series, Hiro was noted to be a firm believer in the belief that a parasite that cannot pilot a franxx was nothing more than trash for the plantation which was a key reason for Hiro’s depression at the beginning of the series. However, as the series goes on and Hiro and his squad mates forge stronger bonds of friendship as they fight alongside each other this belief of Hiro gradually changes and is replaced by a desire to value his friends and the bonds that exist between them more.
This is shown in Hiro’s gradual realisation that there is more to a parasite’s life than piloting a franxx and that having fun with friends, learning about them and spending time with them to overcome problems together is also part of a parasites life as well a development that I felt shows just how much Hiro’s personality has changed since his awakening. As a result of this while still retaining his core desire to protect the plantation as a franxx pilot Hiro also developed a desire to fight to live and have fun with his friends rather than simply fight because he had to as part of his duty as a franxx pilot. While Hiro’s desire to have fun with his friends and enjoy life by being with them were important another change that emerged within Hiro was a desire to find the truth that within the series was paired with the desire to be independent and be able to pursue their own destiny. This change can be said to be a development borne from Hiro’s new-found bonds with his friends and his desire to preserve them in the face of increasingly risky missions that were ordered by his superiors. This development I felt was surprising and was another indication of just how much Hiro has changed as a person and character. The character of Hiro I felt was an interesting character that was both well designed and developed as the series went on. The change from a depressive and quiet person who ignored all of his friends attempts to help him to someone that was both willing to help others solve their problems as well as forgive those that had no faith in him I felt was a great development of his character when combined with his new-found outlook on what a life should be. I felt that his voice actor Yuuto Uemura did an excellent job of portraying the character of Hiro.
Zero Two voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Haruka Tomatsu of SAO and Anohana fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main heroine of the series. A klax human hybrid that was specially created by the members of APE Zero Two outwardly had the appearance of a beautiful young girl with long pink hair and a peculiar headband that had horns on it and if one did not look closely most people would believe that she was human. At the beginning of the series, Zero Two was someone that behaved very similarly to a girl of her age being positive, innocent and playful while also possessing a strong sense of confidence and a certain streak of independence that quickly got her labelled as a problem child by her minders. While seemingly someone that preferred to act in the moment it can be seen that Zero Two was also someone that was perceptive and understanding at times which I felt was a nice contrast to her childish and wilful nature. Despite her seemingly stand-off nature Zero Two was someone that can be surprisingly kind to people that she respects and even willing to break the rules to aid them if it means that she can help them. At the beginning of the series largely due to her experiences with her watchers Zero Two had a very poor impression of humans and of life in general and as a result, she had a very low opinion of her fellow franxx pilots as well as that of the civilians that lived within the plantations. Combined with Zero Two’s sensitivity to comments and ill-will being displayed towards her this had the effect of making it very difficult for others to get to know her causing them to distrust or even fear her and thus creating even more distance between Zero Two and her teammates and allies. This relationship with her fellow teammates and allies remained unchanged until Zero encounters a young boy her age that drew her interest in him because he was able to do something that very few Stamen could manage which was to ride with her and survive.
After meeting Hiro and forging a bond with him as her new partner Zero Two’s personality gradually starts to change as for the first time in her life she has found someone that treats her with genuine kindness. Though still guarded to a degree it can be seen that after meeting Hiro and forging a deep bond with him that for the first time in Zero Two’s life she is happy as she is able to show her affections for Hiro who she sees as her darling openly without needing to hide it from her watchers. Indeed, it can be said that her affection for Hiro is strong enough that no matter who tries to stand in her way she will still persevere in treating Hiro as such. However, despite the happiness that Zero Two felt at this point as the series goes on it can be seen that beneath the surface Zero Two also struggles with the unique curse that exists within her a curse that has the effect of creating sudden mood swings within her that if left unchecked would cause her to display anger towards not her beloved but also to her allies as well. During this phase of her development as a result of giving in to the anger that she feels towards her creators and the life that they have given her Zero Two suppresses the feelings of love that she feels towards Hiro and replaces it with a desire to get stronger by fighting harder on the field and thus increasing the strain placed on her partner all in a desire to achieve her dream. After being snapped out of this reckless action however and after seeing what this has wrought upon her beloved it can be seen that Zero Two displays immense regret at her actions regrets that later served as the catalyst to forge an even stronger bond with her beloved darling and one that finally gave a sense of security for the worries and fears that Zero Two had within her.
After this and as a result of the change that was imparted within Zero Two by the stronger bonds that had been forged between the two Zero Two’s personality changes into her final form. Unlike her past self in which Zero Two showed nothing but disdain towards her fellow squad mates and cared little about friendships and bonds in this form Zero Two can be seen to have finally realised the importance of friendships and bonds and as a result becomes not just friendlier but also more willing to help them solve problems that are bothering them. At the same time Zero Two also becomes somewhat more rule-bound which when compared to how wild and unpredictable her personality was in the past I felt was a great change. Arguably one of the most important developments of this new change was the realization that her constant desire to become more human in the past was misguided and that being a human is not about transforming yourself to match them physically but rather its about living your life like them by forging friendships, finding love and enjoying the time that you spend with your friends as you walk the road that is called life. As a result of this new understanding Zero Two rather than having a bleak outlook of what her life and her future would be like instead see’s both in a new light one that is filled with both hope and wishes. The character of Zero Two I felt was an interesting character that was both well designed and developed. The development of her character from a mysterious, innocent but anti-social girl to one that was both friendly and understanding of others and yet playful and hopeful towards the future as a result of her new-found bonds I felt was really well done. The core concept and main focus for Zero Two which was her determined attempts to become human I felt was one that matched her character and personality perfectly and I felt that her struggles to achieve that goal was shown really well within the series. More than ever I was really glad that Zero Two was able to come to the realization that at the end of the day it’s the bonds with your friends and how you live your life that defines whether you are human or not and not physical appearance. I felt that her seiyuu Haruka Tomatsu really did an excellent job at portraying the character of Zero Two.
Ichigo voiced by new seiyuu Kana Ichinose in her first main role to date is one of the main characters of the series and is a member of the series main squad s13. A teenage girl that ’s the same age as Hiro and the members of her class squad and its commander Ichigo is a kind, caring and cheerful person by nature that approaches each situation with calmness and logic. A perceptive and understanding person by nature Ichigo is someone that can be said to be the very ideal image of a leader as in addition to possessing the after-mentioned personality traits Ichigo is also someone that’s responsible and always working to ensure that her squad mates and friends are fulfilling their duties as parasites to the city and that their actions are not causing trouble for their superiors. While this sense of responsibility was seen to cause tension between Ichigo and the more independent-minded members of her squad such as Miku and her partner Zorome it can be seen that Ichigo is someone that cares deeply about the unity of the squad and as a result dislikes it when this sense of balance within the squad is disrupted such as when Zero Two was inserted into her squad. While for the most part Ichigo is a serious-minded person that works hard to ensure the squad remains united and functional it can be seen that Ichigo also has a more childish and innocent side to her that is more prevalent when she’s interacting with her fellow squad mate and friend Hiro that was borne out of the happy childhood that both shared when they were children. This contrast with her serious-minded self I thought was pretty cute. From the beginning of the series it can be seen that Ichigo’s job of being the leader of the squad was a hard one and was a constant uphill battle as she had to deal with the many personalities that existed within the squad chiefly the independent personalities that Zorome and Miku had which caused them to dislike her as they saw her as too bossy and controlling. At the same time, Ichigo was also constrained by her own feelings towards Hiro which often clouded her judgement and kept her from seeing the larger picture and goals of a mission. Judgement flaws that led to a precarious situation that almost proved the end for the squad.
As the series goes, however, Ichigo’s personality and character begins to change as a result of not just dangerous missions but also of the increasingly brutal nature of the war that she and the squad bore witness to as it progressed. As a result of the guilt that she felt at freezing at a critical moment Ichigo becomes more determined vowing to become stronger so that she can protect her squad mates better and not rely on others to help her in a job that she was supposed to excel at. This strong desire to improve herself and not only to rely on others but also protect them soon bore fruit as the battles within the war turned even more brutal. In the past Ichigo while an efficient battle leader was someone that can be seen to rely too much on instructions from command and often let that dictate her actions on the field. At the same time, her cautious nature and her care for the members of the squad while welcome also hindered her as it made her rather inflexible on the field and not willing to trust her squad members for more serious objectives. As part of the lessons that she learned from the mine mission Ichigo becomes not just braver and more determined in battle but also more flexible with her thinking and developing the ability to make rational decisions in the midst of combat which is shown in the later battles within the series where she’s able to react to new situations and come up with new tactics to deal with new developments on the field without having to consult higher command. At the same time while not completely letting the members of her squad perform their own actions on the field Ichigo also becomes more mindful of her own performance as a franxx pilot and instead of worrying about the antics that the squad gets involved in instead makes the decision to care less about their antics and trusting them to make responsible decisions on their own initiative. This development is a good indication of the lessons that Ichigo has managed to learn as a result of the often-strained relations that she has with her squad mates and also from her interactions with Zero Two. The character of Ichigo I felt was an interesting character that was both well designed and developed as the series went on. The evolution of Ichigo from an overly cautious, inflexible and somewhat controlling person to one that was more open-minded, trusting and more flexible in both her actions on the field as a battle leader and her interactions with her fellow squad mates and fellow parasites I felt was well done and ensured that among the cast Ichigo alongside Zero Two and Hiro remains one of my favourite characters within the series. I felt that her seiyuu Kana Ichinose really did an excellent job in portraying the character of Ichigo and given her performance I feel that her performance has already been noted by many of her seniors within the industry.
Goro voiced by veteran voice actor Yuuichirou Umehara of Amanchu and Juni Taisen fame is one of the main characters of the series and is a member of the series main squad s13. A teenage male that’s the same age as the other members of the squad Goro on first appearance can be seen to have an attitude and aura of that of an older brother like character itself a rarity within the anime world. A kind, easy-going and caring person by nature Goro is someone that can be said to be the voice of reason within the squad. While not as bossy and as responsible as his partner and commander Ichigo Goro is still someone that cares deeply about the members of his squad and works hard to keep the peace in it taking great care to stop the arguments between Ichigo and Miku and Zorome from getting out of hand. An understanding person by nature Goro can be seen to be someone that’s moderate in temperament and indeed is someone that prefers to listen to all sides of an opinion or argument first before deciding on a course of action. As a result of this side of his personality, Goro handily fulfils the role as a deputy leader in an unofficial capacity within the squad.
Like the other members of the squad, Goro was wary of Zero Two’s appearance and her subsequent insertion into the squad. However, unlike the likes of Ichigo who disliked Zero Two due to personal reasons Goro was wary of her because he wanted to protect the members of the squad from harm and to stop the unity that his partner had worked so hard to create within the squad from breaking. While distrustful of Zero Two in the beginning like the other members of the squad as the series went on Goro like the rest of the squad was able to bear witness to how the actions of Zero Two have affected his childhood and also best friend Hiro and introduced within him a great many changes that enabled Hiro to become a better person and regain the confidence that he had in the past. As a result of this it can be seen that Goro feels that he owes Zero Two a great deal and having seen the interactions between Hiro and Zero Two knows full well that the two are meant to be together despite Ichigo’s fierce denial of it and as a result had no problem with giving the two the opportunity they needed even if such a decision made him oppose Ichigo on a matter that was personal to her. While the members of the squad like all parasites were created and trained at the facility known as the garden it can be said that Goro, Ichigo, and Hiro have deeper bonds with each other than most members of the squad. This is due to the fact that unlike the rest of the squad the three of them knew each other and it can be said that all three are childhood friends. As a result of this strong bond, Goro can with a certain level of success be able to determine whether any of his two friends are hiding something that is bothering them. Arguably Goro’s most prominent trait is his loyalty to not just the mission and to the city but also to his friends as well. Indeed, it can be said that his loyalty to his friends is so strong that he will be willing to put their safety above that of his. This attitude I felt was admirable and matched well with his character. The character of Goro I felt was an interesting character that was both well designed and developed with his loyalty and good-natured and easy-going attitude with his friends and comrades being the best aspects of his character. In addition, I felt that the balance that Goro’s personality traits provided to the squad was also something that was welcome as it helped preserve the unity and chemistry dynamics of the squad. I felt that his voice actor Yuuichirou Umehara did a great job at portraying the character of Goro.
Kokoro voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Saori Hayami of Owari no Seraph and the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei fame is one of the main characters of the series and is a member of squad 13 the series main squad. A teenage girl with a very well-endowed body for her age Kokoro on initial appearances has the aura and the impression of a classic Madonna a character type best described as the ideal girl in the eyes of males. A quiet, kind and caring person by nature Kokoro at the beginning of the series was someone that seemingly preferred to not speak much preferring to instead listen to the concerns and problems that the other members of the squad are facing in their lives. However, while a quiet person by nature Kokoro was not afraid of offering her own opinions to a discussion opinion’s that can be surprisingly observant and rational often considering variables that the others have not thought off showing that beneath her quiet nature Kokoro was also someone that was perceptive and intelligent. Despite her quiet nature, Kokoro is not someone that is unapproachable and indeed is the opposite in that she is someone that most people find easy to approach which allows her to listen to their problems without interrupting them and providing them much needed advice when needed which shows off her understanding nature. At the beginning of the series, Kokoro was noted to be someone that was rather indecisive in her actions and can be seen to lack the courage to fight on the field when compared to the likes of Zorome. This attitude while certainly understandable also made her stand out somewhat when compared to the rest of the squad. While not intentionally avoiding the members of the squad Kokoro is shown to be someone that prefers solitude and in this case, she took on a skill that I thought matched her temperament perfectly which was that of gardening. When surrounded by the plants that she cares for it can be seen that Kokoro is truly at peace as she is able to express her worries and doubts about events without having to worry about comments from others.
As the series goes on and Kokoro and the squad begin to fight in more fiercer battles as the war with the klax progressed Kokoro’s personality gradually gets expanded upon. In the beginning of the series as noted Kokoro was someone that got scared easily and was visibly hesitant in combat but as the series went on and Kokoro began to see and understand the important role that parasites play in the defence of the city this sense of fear and hesitation gradually begins to vanish being replaced by a desire to become braver and more responsible so that she can protect the friends that she so cherishes. In line with this is Kokoro’s gradual overcoming of her quiet and nervous nature which is shown in her willingness to not just express her own opinions on matters face to face but also be assertive with them instead of feeling pressured to change them like she did in the past. As a result of her new-found confidence, Kokoro rather than stay on the sidelines and get the gist of arguments this way instead decides to interact with her friends more and listen to their problems directly where her perception and understanding skills allow her to provide better advice to them than before. From the beginning of the series, Kokoro was noted to be someone that was far from being just a beautiful girl as she possessed both intelligence and an innate sense of curiosity to explore knowledge that they haven’t been taught. As a result of her new-found confidence, this sense of curiosity was only increased and eventually causing her to begin to ask questions about the past human’s something that APE specifically forbids and causing Kokoro to be the first member of the squad to change and setting the stage for the rest of the squad to follow suit. A notable result of this change was the development within Kokoro of a desire to live a life that Is not that of a franxx pilot and one where she can freely create a happy life of her own and bring something back into this war-torn world to create a future where she can be happy. The character of Kokoro I felt was an interesting character that was both well designed and developed with her development from a quiet, nervous and easily scared person to one that was both brave enough and determined enough to fight on the frontlines to protect her friends but at the same time brave enough to ask the questions that nobody before had the opportunity to ask papa and for the first time create the break within papa’s wall that would awaken within the squad a desire to be free. I felt that her seiyuu Saori Hayami really did an excellent job at portraying the character of Kokoro.
Mitsuru voiced by new voice actor Aoi Ichikawa is one of the main characters of the series and is a member of s13. At the beginning of the series, Mitsuru had the aura and the air of an honor student though, in this case, the arrogant kind that forms grudges easily. A teenage boy that’s around the same age as the rest of the squad Mitsuru at the beginning of the series was a quiet but arrogant and condescending person that seemed to treat the other members of the squad with disdain bordering on being on anti-social. Indeed, it can be said that in the beginning Mitsuru was someone that viewed friendships and bonds with disdain and as a result did not enjoy a good relationship with the rest of the squad. This had the effect of making the squad dislike him and also feel sorry for his partner Ikuno who had to shoulder the burden of cleaning up his messes when he argues with the members of the squad. Apart from being arrogant and borderline anti-social Mitsuru in the beginning was shown to be someone that preferred to act when under orders from his superiors similar to how Ichigo was before her change and here it can be seen that this is due to the fact that Mitsuru doesn’t want to worry about anything else that might cause his perfect record to slip. During this first phase of his personality, Mitsuru is noted to have a sense of rivalry with the members of the squad and with Hiro in particular and indeed their competition while certainly useful in a certain sense proved to be nothing more than a hindrance to the squad as it affected their sense of unity. This is illustrated in the fact that in the beginning, Mitsuru did not even see himself as wrong even when the facts are shown to him showing not just his arrogance but also of the fact that this nature of his was more than just about pride.
As the series goes on however and Mitsuru and the others encounter the ever-changing nature of the war against the klax Mitsuru’s personality gradually starts to change. As a result of a fortunate encounter with his squad mate Kokoro whose unique nature managed to slip through Mitsuru’s guard and get to the core of the person that was Mitsuru, it soon becomes apparent that Mitsuru’s surface personality was actually a safety mechanism that he created to hide his fear. Unlike Mitsuru’s surface nature which is arrogant and overconfident the true personality of Mitsuru is shown to be the opposite as more than ever he fears at being seen as incompetent and useless by others especially his squad mates as unlike them he was not born with innate skills and indeed was judged by APE as being almost worthless back in training. Indeed, the unfriendly nature that he displays towards his squad mates, as well as the rivalry with Hiro, can also be seen to be a by-product of this belief as well as he does not want anyone to see his true face and skills. But more than anything Mitsuru’s dislike of Hiro stems from a more personal matter and a crucial link to Hiro that he unknowingly broke. As a result of being able to open up to Kokoro Mitsuru’s personality changed substantially as he began to realise that not being able to trust his fellow squad mates was not just hurting them but also him as well and that coming clean and telling them of your problems and struggles would not be embarrassing and shameful but instead be a good thing as it will enable the squad to better understand your capabilities and allow them to better support you on the field. After the revelation it can be seen that Mitsuru has become more caring of others and also more perceptive at being able to determine any problems that his new friends may be experiencing and rather than keeping them at a distance as his old self would have been Mitsuru instead elects to try and solve it with dialogue showing just how much Kokoro has affected him.
Miku voiced by veteran seiyuu Nanami Yamashita of Trinity Seven and High School Fleet fame is one of the main characters of the series and is a member of S13. From initial appearances, Miku can be said to be the ideal image of a girly girl the high maintenance type specifically. A teenage girl around the same age as the other members of s13 Miku at the beginning of the series was a confident, haughty and proud person by nature that was also bossy and loved to order people around. At the same time, she was also stubborn and fiercely independent. These qualities when combined together made her a great challenge for Ichigo to handle as the latter tried to get the squad to fight together as a unified unit. Indeed, at the beginning of the series, Miku was someone that viewed Ichigo as sort of a rival to her and did all she can to impede her efforts often dragging along her partner Zorome along as well. Though a haughty person by nature Miku was shown to also have a softer side to her personality that often slips out at times when she feels there’s no need to keep her guard up. Here it can be seen that Miku while haughty is also a positive and playful person that loves to joke around with people that she considers friends. However true to her nature even in this state Miku is always ready for a fight. A prominent trait of Miku that stays constant with both of her personalities is the fact that she has great pride both as a woman and as a fighter and as a result gets annoyed easily at people that offend her too often comical results.
As the series goes on however and Miku and her squad mates become involved in the ever-changing war with the klax Miku’s personality gradually starts to change. While still arrogant and haughty to a degree it can be seen that beneath this Miku is someone that’s cautious and not someone that trusts strangers easily which is shown in the fact that among the s13 she was the one that was most suspicious of Zero Two when she joined the squad and was the one that took the longest to trust her. At the same time, however, Miku was also someone that can be seen to be very loyal to her friends and willing to help them with their problems when needed. Despite her attitude, Miku is also very perceptive and understanding of people’s feelings something that becomes much more prevalent as the series goes on. When confronted with situations where the other party is reacting badly she will not be afraid to lecture them on this. This is best seen in her changing attitude to Ichigo a person that while she disliked at first slowly developed a sense of respect for.
Zorome voiced by veteran seiyuu Mutsumi Tamura of Anohana and Digimon Tri fame is one of the main characters of the series and is a member of s13. From initial appearances, Zorome is the classic example of an overachiever and is very similar to Mitsuru in his phase 1 personality state. A teenage boy Zorome, in the beginning, was a moody, overconfident and prideful person that looked down on the other members of the squad. Indeed, it can be seen that at the beginning of the series Zorome seemed to have a fervent belief that he was the main star within the squad to the amusement of both the squad and of me the viewer. As a result of his personality, it can be seen that Zorome was someone that got annoyed at things rather easily and when he did he took it out on others much to their frustration. At the beginning of the series Zorome like Mitsuru had a sense of rivalry with Hiro as to him Hiro’s status as a prodigy was something that rubbed him the wrong way and as a result, the relationship between the two was anything but friendly.
As the series goes on however and Zorome’s personality gets developed and expanded upon it can be seen that beneath Zorome’s arrogant and moody nature Zorome was actually someone that can readily admit his own mistakes and would apologise to the people that his actions have caused harm to something that is shown in his interactions with his friend and partner Miku. While seeing Hiro as his main rival in the beginning of the series as Zorome and the members of the squad bore witness to Hiro’s gradual awakening of his abilities and his performance as a parasite on the field this sense of rivalry gradually disappears and is replaced by a newfound respect for Hiro who he now treats as a comrade. A prominent trait of Zorome that is unique to him is the reason that Zorome fights so hard as a pilot which is due to his desire to enter the plantations city and join the adult world as a full-fledged adult. This I felt was interesting as unlike Zorome the great majority of parasites which includes his fellow s13 squad mates fight because it’s their duty and also because they don’t want to be seen as useless by the plantation. Having a personal reason to fight for I felt explained a great deal as to why Zorome is fighting so hard to be the main man within the squad.
Nana voiced by veteran seiyuu Marina Inoue of 3 Gatsu No Lion and Infinite Stratos fame is one of the main support characters of the series and is the squad’s minder at the beginning of the series. A member of APE Nana is the combat HQ parasite manager that oversees squad 13 both in their personal lives and when on the battlefield where she acts as a controller. A calm, positive and efficient person by nature Nana is someone that is intimately familiar with the members of squad 13 as before being assigned there they were also under her tutelage when they were being trained at the garden. As a result of this type of personal bond Nana while responsible and steadfast in her duties also cares a great deal about the members of the squad and always tries to look out for them taking care to put them at ease when needed. As a result of this Nana is shown to dislike it when the squad is put in danger and in situations where they are not prepared for. As the series goes on it can be seen that Nana has two distinct personalities that she adapts. When on duty Nana is serious, efficient and cold and dislikes it when troublesome situations happen. However, when she is interacting with her fellow charges in s13 this is replaced by a more emotional and perhaps human side to her character one that is more emotionally invested in the members of the squad.
As the series goes on and Nana’s personality and character get’s expanded upon it can be seen that in the past Nana was very similar to the members of s13 which explains the kinship and strong bonds that she has with them as she too has also experienced the darker side of the war against the klax. This latter part proved to be a costly affair when she relapsed and remembered the pain that the war had brought her. However while this pain caused Nana no small amount of pain both physically and mentally this also awakened within her a desire to not just protect the children that she manages but also open her eyes to the realization that warfare is not something that they should be forced to do and that they should be able to forge a path that is based on their own wishes and one that is based on their own free will. The character of Nana while only a support character I felt was an interesting character in her own right that was both well designed and developed with the contrast between the calm, cold and efficient officer mode Nana and the friendly, caring and positive Nana being especially well done. While her emotional side and the fact that she’s too emotionally invested in the squad is seen as illogical by her superiors I felt that it was her greatest strength as she’s ensuring that her charges will not suffer the same fate as her friends a move that brings both her calm and to the squad a sense of security as they know that Nana will not risk their lives. I felt that her seiyuu Marina Inoue really did a great job of portraying the character of Nana.
In terms of animation, I felt that the series did a great job of showcasing the various types of locations and settings that existed in the post devastated world of the planet both in terms of the surface locations that existed outside of the plantations as well as locations that existed beneath the surface such as the magma mines. This also extends to the various plantations that within the lore of the series are essentially mobile fortress cities that housed the remains of humanity within them. The plantations, in particular, I felt made use of quite the interesting design as while on the exterior they featured large but bland spaces that gave wide sweeping views of the surrounding terrain beneath it lay countless gun emplacements that could be activated at a moment’s notice to protect the city. This helped give the impression that while the city was also a sanctuary for the people living inside it was also a bastion that will protect them from the enemies that roam this world. Within the plantation, this design continues as rather than house parasites which are the cities specially created and trained defence force with the civilians that they are expected to protect they are instead separated in which the civilians live within the city as adults and the children live in their home area which is called Mistilteinn. This isolation of the children from the adults that they were supposed to be protecting I felt was highly symbolic and represented well of the belief that the children were only seen and used as weapons and tools and nothing more. This is reinforced by the introduction of facilities like the garden and the lab where the children are created and trained as well as in the views of the parasites that the home area in which the parasites live and social at is nothing more than a birdcage which while pretty is also confining. The character designs for the main and support cast I felt was also something that was well done within the series as their uniform appearance while allowing us the viewers to easily distinguish who is who within the series also matches well with the theme that all humans within the series whether its parasites like the members of s13 or controllers like Nana all have a specific role to play in this war. The fact that the uniforms that are worn by the parasites resemble those worn by high school students which when paired with the individual physical appearances and personalities of the cast I felt also symbolised that the parasites by fighting on the frontlines would as they do develop and grow as individuals and eventually graduate from their roles. This analogy to the life of a high school student from the start to the graduation I felt was pretty interesting.
In terms of mecha designs for the series main mecha the franxx’s, I felt that their design was rather unique. While most contemporary mecha anime make use of mechas that are vaguely humanoid in appearance the designs of the Franxx I felt were far more closer to this idea due largely to not just the shape of the franxx but also because of the faces that each franxx makes which within the series represents the female part of the pilot pairs since their faces are linked with their helmets when in combat which makes the mecha’s faces actually theirs. This aspect of the design I felt was an interesting one as it reinforced the pair dynamics within the pairing as while the male handled weapons control and the larger picture the female pair handled piloting and navigation and reinforcing the concept that they must rely upon each of their bonds to be successful on the field. The fact that the franxx look far more human than most other mechas that I have seen however are not the only aspects that I thought made them stand out though as the fact that each franxx were designed for and were equipped with different weapons also contributed to this impression as well. When compared to the other teams that are seen within the series whose mecha are not just more uniform not just in appearance but also in weapons load out I felt that the franxx that were used by s13 were more unique as each made use of a weapons load out that matched the personalities of each pilot pair giving them a unique role on the field that other teams did not have. A good example will be the franxx that Miku and Zorome make use of which is oriented for close combat due to its main weapons of claws. When paired with the unique personalities of their pilot pairs I felt that the franxx’s only served to reinforce the fact that s13 is an existence that’s unique to humanity whether on the field or not.
In terms of combat animation and battles, I felt that the battles and combat scenes that were featured within the series were both well designed and developed that remained consistent throughout the series whether the battles were large-scale ops or small-scale defensive ops. This was helped greatly by not just the varied designs of the enemies that the cast fight within the series but also by the fact that the squad is still learning to fight as a team. Seeing the squad gradually learn to fight as a team while also seeing their contributions to the larger war effort I thought complimented each other perfectly as it helped not just improve the war effort but also their teamwork as well. In terms of music the series made use of one opening theme and six ending themes which was Kiss of Death which was sung by Mika Nakashima and Torikago, Manatsu No Setsuna, Beautiful World, Hitori, Escape and Darling which was sung by XX:me a unit formed around the main female seiyuu’s of s13 which was Haruka Tomatsu, Kana Ichinose, Nanami Yamashita, Saori Hayami and Shizuka Ishigami. I felt that the opening and ending themes were all pretty well done with the opening, in particular, being able to convey a sense of mystique around the nature of just the war but also of Zero Two as well. The series various ending themes I felt were also well done with each conveying, not just a different emotion but also matching with the themes and developments that were started in the episodes in which they were used in. The series OST I felt was pretty well done and helped complement the various emotions and feelings that the members of the squad experience as they encounter the many events that take place within the series as the war with the klax change, not just their lives but also that of their fellow parasites and the planet as well. In terms of voice acting for the series, I felt that each of the main voice cast did an excellent job of portraying their assigned characters within the series. In particular I feel that Haruka Tomatsu, Kana Ichinose, Yuuto Uemura, Yuuichirou Umehara, Saori Hayami, Nanami Yamashita, Aoi Ichikawa, Mutsumi Tamura and Marina Inoue who portrayed the characters of Zero Two, Ichigo, Hiro, Goro, Kokoro, Miku, Mitsuru, Zorome and Nana respectively deserve special praise as I felt that they did an excellent job at portraying their assigned characters. Additionally, while I didn’t cover their characters within the review I felt that Shizuka Ishigami, Kenyuu Horiuchi, Katsuyuki Konishi and Rie Kugimiya who portrayed the characters of Ikuno, Dr. Franxx, Hachi and Code 001 respectively also did a great job of portraying the supporting cast for the series a role that’s just as important to the series as that of the main cast.
In overall Darling in the Franxx was a strong anime that despite its flaws was alongside Katana Maiden’s one of the heavyweights of the Winter 2018 anime season with its main strong points being its unique premise, strong story, well designed and developed characters, well designed battles and combat animation, strong mecha designs and excellent voice acting.
The overall premise of the story on the surface may look to be one that highlights the destructive war that is being fought by the remains of humanity and the hostile alien species known as the klax, but this is far from the truth. Rather it can be said to be half the truth for the true premise of the series is what can be said to be a coming of age story for a group of teenagers as they forge friendships and bonds with each other both on and off the battlefield as they enter a hostile world where they must learn not just about each other’s strength’s but also their weaknesses as well and learn to support them when needed as they learn to forge their own destiny. When paired with the series strong story I thought that this idea while ambitious was one that the series managed to adhere to and largely succeed at. The overall story of the series I felt was one of the main strong points of the series and made great use of the core premise of the series. Like most full-season animes of this era Darling in the Franxx makes use of the cour concept and divides the overall story of the series into two distinct parts each with distinct themes and plot developments. The series first cour which ran from episode 1 to 15 was the first part of the series whose main purpose was to introduce the members of s13 as well as Zero Two. The main themes that were introduced and used in this cour were bonding with your friends, forging bonds, overcoming differences and finding one’s place in society and on the team. The first cour I felt managed to handle the main themes that it made use of pretty well and succeeded in creating a strong foundation for the squad thanks to the countless struggles that the squad manages to overcome as they settle their differences and focus their efforts on fighting against the true foe. The second cour of the series which ran from episodes 16 to 24 was the second part of the series that acted as the soft reset to the series as it showed the squad as a unified entity and not a scattering of sand that they were back in the first cour. Unlike the first cour where the squad simply acted under orders from their superiors here in this cour as a result of their development as characters the members of the squad are seen to learn to think for themselves and with this discover new concepts and beliefs that their past selves would never would have dreamed off such as freedom, independence, and destiny. Paired with and taking advantage of the squad’s newfound desire to become more independent is the revelation of this war and the desire by the squad to not just reject the current system that’s mandated by APE but also to fight for the truth of this war. Key to this cour is the belief that everyone whether its parasites or not should be free to pursue their own destiny and live their life the way that they want. The second cour of the series I felt while expanding upon the many changes that the main cast develop as a result of the struggles that they managed to overcome back in the first cour also did a great job of introducing new concepts and ideas that were largely unknown to the main cast such as notions of freedom, destiny and a desire to live a life that is your own that’s not dictated by someone else. When combined with the plot developments within the second cour these new themes helped greatly in developing the main cast into their final selves. Despite their differing themes I felt that the two cours of the series overall story supported each other pretty well with the development of the main cast being especially impressive as they went from being a mismatched class that had no small number of doubters to one that brought great change to the world by shining the light of truth into the darkness of APE and Papa’s lies. One particular scene that I felt symbolised the growing change within the members of s13 was the wedding scene within the second cour of the series a scene that was both beautiful and powerful but at the same time tragic at how it ended.
The overall story of the series while certainly entertaining also made use of a number of unique concepts that were unique to the series foremost among these is the bond that exists between the male member of the pilot pair the stamen and the female member of the pair the pistil. While bonds of friendship and comradeship are concepts that we often see in other action themed anime I felt that the bond that exists between the pilot pairs within the series are unique because the bond rather than being just a physical one like that of a friendship is one that is both emotional and mental as both pilots of a pair must not only be good friends but also be able to synchronise with each other by merging their minds and fighting as one being. As a result of this specific bond, it can be said that the stronger the friendship and bond that exists between the two the stronger the bond will be and the stronger their franxx will be on the field. This concept of using the feelings that exists between a boy and a girl I thought was an interesting one as it made use of the concept of turning the feelings that you have whether its friendship or romantic ones into a weapon that can be used to protect them when fighting on the field. A concept that was introduced as part of this bond within the series was the existence of the Jian which is a mythical bird that Hiro and Zero witness that must join together with another of its species in order to survive as on its own it cannot. This concept I felt was an apt one as it symbolises the bond that exists between a male and a female as both must rely on each other to survive thus showing the bond between a husband and a wife a meaning that I felt was also apt for the pilot pairs as well. While the story featured a number of interesting revelations that I felt was maybe at times too strong for it I felt that this was handled pretty well within the series by introducing well timed and well-developed explanations for these new faces within the series.
While I enjoyed Darling in the Franxx’s overall story and premise I felt that the series was also let down by a number of flaws that existed within the story. Flaws that I felt kept it from getting a higher score in my book. First in terms of character development while the main cast was developed pretty well as the series went on I felt that this wasn’t applied to everyone within the squad. The characters of Futoshi and Ikuno I felt had the least bit of development for their characters as the series went on and while admittedly both were minor characters when compared to the rest of the squad I felt that they could have at least been given some development to highlight the fact that they too are members of the squad. Secondly, there was the problem with the Nines. Within the series, the Nines is a spec ops unit of parasites that report directly to Papa and the APE’s but apart from acting as the antagonists of the squad, they have almost no character development whatsoever. Indeed, of the Nines their leader appropriately called Nines Alpha is the only one that actually gets some degree of development while the rest have nothing. I felt that the Nines could have been expanded upon so that their members at least have a more meaningful role within the series rather than just act as intimidating watchmen. Near the end of the series, I felt that the main cast lacked any kind of clear role within the series and while it can be said that they are at their final forms of development as a character I felt that they could have been given better roles rather than what they were given. Too me I felt that the main cast there acted more like support characters than main ones. While the story of the series was something that I really enjoyed I felt that some things could have been explained and expanded upon better rather than let the viewer infer from whats happening in the background to determine whats going to happen next.
Overall Darling in the Franxx was a series that I really enjoyed with its main strong points being its unique premise, story, characters, battle scenes and animation, mecha designs, voice acting and its take on a number of both new and existing themes. While it does have a number of flaws that hinder it and stop it from becoming the masterpiece that a lot of people wished that it was I felt that despite them Darling in the Franxx was a series that I still enjoyed watching as like Nana said within the series I like her have become emotionally invested in the members of s13 and I wanted to see whether they will be able to end this war and live their life independent of the decisions of others and having the freedom to do what they want with their lives in the world that they live in. As a final score, I felt that Darling in the Franxx deserves a final score of 9/10.
6: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou
English: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These
Japanese: 銀河英雄伝説 Die Neue These 邂逅
MAL Score: 7.72
For over a century and a half, two interstellar states have wrested for control of the Milky Way. The Galactic Empire, an absolute monarchy ruled by Kaiser Friedrich IV and an entrenched nobility, seeks to suppress the rebels daring to oppose the inviolable crown. The Free Planets Alliance, a representative democracy led by a corrupt High Council, degenerates as its elected leaders? use war and conflict as a way to win popular support.
But this long-standing stalemate between the Empire and the Alliance ends with the rise of two opposing military geniuses. Reinhard von Lohengramm, a minor noble and High Admiral of the Empire through his strategic brilliance and his sister’s position as the favored concubine of the Kaiser, dreams of conquering the galaxy and uniting mankind under his iron fist. Meanwhile, Yang Wen-li of the Alliance, an avid historian and reluctant commodore hailed as the Hero of El Facil, uses his tactical prowess to navigate around his leaders’ incompetence—and to carve the path to lasting peace. As the war rages on, Reinhard and Yang each strive for their ideals and to secure their place among the stars as the leaders of a new era of galactic heroes.
Considering the baggage this show is carrying, it can be difficult to judge it by its own merits. Which is a shame – viewed in a bubble in which the OVA series does not exist, Die Neue These is not a bad anime. In fact, it’s quite a good one. It is, however, a bad remake, and a bad adaptation.
That it is a bad adaptation is curious, as this serves as a more faithful adaptation of the source material than the OVA. But the problem lies in that adapting Legend of the Galactic Heroes into a visual medium is nigh impossible, and it’s a small miracle that it was done successfully once. The original novels are so dense with description, backstory, context, lore, and philosophical navel-gazing that to adapt only that which is shown is to adapt around a third of its actual content.
While there is minimal narration at the start of each episode, Die Neue These otherwise ejects the narration that was so frequent in the first adaptation in favour of showing rather than telling. “Show, don’t tell” is a good principle in theory, but here it doesn’t work in practice, resulting in the loss of vital information, important context, and thematic weight. This leads to a lack of emotional investment in certain major battles that the significance of is not made clear, and character moments that echo historical events not shown to the audience. In some instances, the lack of information can simply be baffling – a notable example includes a mob being dispersed by the activation of fire hoses, which in turn automatically alert the fire department. However, these fire hoses are only previously shown to be sprinklers, and their function as fire hoses is not explained, nor is the fact that their activation alerts the fire brigade – as such, it looks like an angry, bloodthirsty mob dispersed because they got a little bit wet.
Likewise, without the room to explore their motivations, many minor characters come off as one-dimensional strawmen, whereas their reasoning and motives, whilst usually misguided, were actually grounded in some kind of reasoning or principle in both the OVA and novels. The worst example is Maximillion von Kastrop, who in the original OVA punches a couple of subordinates towards the end when his impending defeat becomes clear, and only when at wits’ end. Here, he is characterized entirely by punching everybody who speaks.
Aesthetically, the overall design of the FPA and the Empire’s societies and uniforms are excellent, sticking close to the design of the original series, and showing a clear divide between the European-styled aristocracy of the Empire and the modern metropolis of the FPA. The ships are similarly well-designed, with a mechanical, utilitarian feel to them that suits their role. By contrast to the rest of the series’ design, the much-maligned character designs stick out like a sore thumb. There is a very shallow variation in the character faces, and whilst not quite samefaced, it would be hard to tell most characters apart by face alone. This would not be worth comment in most series, but in Legend of the Galactic Heroes this presents a unique problem. To compensate for the similarity in faces, focus was put into giving the characters unique hair, as this was not possible with character costumes due to 95% of the cast being in uniform. The problem is that this leads to many of the characters having very over-the-top and elaborate hairstyles that are unfitting of military personnel who doubtlessly do not spend an hour every morning fixing their hair up. It’s a distracting feature that breaks the immersion of a series otherwise grounded in realism (It is also worth noting that the original series managed to give most of the cast distinctive hair without the need to overly stylize any of it). Similarly, many characters appearances are otherwise ill-fit to their lifestyle and personality, such as Fahrenheit and Schenkopf.
For all the errors that Die Neue These makes as an adaptation, however, it still retains a great deal of what made the source material so excellent in the first place. Legend of the Galactic Heroes follows a dual narrative with protagonists from both sides of a centuries-long intergalactic war, in which both sides are almost as bad as each other. The Galactic Empire is a fascist autocracy in which nobility are an oppressive ruling class, whereas the Free Planets Alliance are a corrupt, failing democracy, controlled entirely by politicians motivated by greed and self-interest. The Empire’s side of the story is a slow-burning tale of political intrigue, while the alliance’s story focuses on scathing social and political commentary, both of which are pulled off excellently.
This divide between two sides of the story also shows a dichotomy between its two leads, Yang Wenli of the Alliance and Reinhard von Musel (later Lohengramm) of the Empire. Where Reinhard is a character wronged by the empire, determined to exact his revenge and take over the empire from within by any means necessary, Yang is a scholar at heart, only joining the military to gain a history scholarship he couldn’t otherwise afford, and was drafted into the military when his tactical prowess came to light. While both are extremely skilled, they otherwise offer a direct contrast in temperament and motive.Their combat ability also brings to focus grounded and realistic battle tactics ripped straight from the pages of history.
It’s this, along with Yang’s fascination with history, that lends LotGH a tone of a historian looking back on past events. Yang often wonders how the events of the present will be regarded in the future, whilst comparing them to those of the distant past.
This gives LotGH an excellent sense of scale, which is also shown in how war is perceived – shown not only in the bigger picture of grand victories and defeats, but focusing on the human element of it all. It’s made clear that for every one of the many ships that sink in this series, thousands of lives are lost. It even goes so far as to explore the societal impact of war, focusing on the effect on the economy and standard of labour.
Unfortunately, Die Neue These – Kaikou is only the prologue, a taste of things to come. It was never going to achieve greatness in of itself – even the original adaptation was only able to do so much in its first 12 episodes. However, Die Neue These gets enough of the core elements of the series right in spite of some issues in execution that it’s a solid show unto itself. It is somewhat hard to recommend, however, as the original series accomplishes almost everything this series does just as well, and more. The only things DNT has to offer in comparison are slightly better pacing, and an excellent score by Hiroyuki Sawano. But if it didn’t have an older sibling to be compared to, Die Neue These would no doubt be considered excellent.
For Fans Of: Mobile Suit Gundam, Monster
Life is funny sometimes. I’ve been in the anime community long enough to see the popularity of series rise, fall, and sometimes even rise again. I’m somewhat of an anime paleoconservative in that I love many anime that are no longer popular or even acceptable to like in the current year. Hell, I’ve spent the last 8 years trying to convince folks that Elfen Lied isn’t that bad! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine having to defend LotGH from getting unfairly shit on, but here we are!
This is MAL, so I assume everyone reading this has either seen or knows a lot about the original Galactic Heroes OVAs. Just in case you recently joined, LotGH is an epic scale space opera that explores the conflict between a corrupt democracy and and an authoritarian monarchy. Rather than simply saying Democracy is correct and autocracy is bad, LotGH fully explores the positives and negatives of both systems and introduces us to dozens of complex and realistic characters on both sides. It’s kind of like Mobile Suit Gundam for adults as opposed to young teens. At it’s best, it’s a series with sophistication, nuance, entertainment, and everything you could possibly want. It also has a few issues, but we’ll be getting to those.
Firstly, it must be said that this is NOT a remake of the OVA series or an attempt to replace it. It is explicitly stated to be a new series that closer follows the original novels. Think of this as FMA Brotherhood and the original as FMA 03. An issue with the original series is pacing. Fans of LotGH will seriously tell newcomers “Don’t worry, it gets really good after the first 60 episodes!”. Not everyone in the world is a NEET. Not everyone has that kind of time to invest in a series that begins at a snail’s pace. New Thesis only covers a small portion of the story, but is in general better paced than the OVA.
I was personally a big fan of how they changed back the Iserlohn Fortress plot to NOT involve the “Space Axes” the OVA made up. Those idiotic plot devices only existed to shower some blood into the series because Japanese executives in the 80s thought the show was too boring and wouldn’t capture viewers. This dead serious political drama became Fist of the North Star every few episodes because the original OVA lacked faith in its audience. I don’t want to hear ANYONE defend the space axes. They were dumb in the 80s and they’re dumb now!
Edit: Walter does use a tomahawk in the novels in a few places, just not the massive battle axes from the anime and they weren’t used at Iserlohn. Thanks to Lindle for correcting this!
Another complaint is that it’s too condensed and we don’t get that nameless history professor cramming exposition down our throats. Honestly, it is the characters, themes, and the politics that drive this series and not the world building. It’s actually better to NOT go into super deep detail with the history because aspects of it make ZERO sense. The Empire exists because the original author thought the concept of Space Prussia was cool. He wasn’t thinking about HOW this could end up happening and it leads to some serious gaps in logic. For example, the logistics of why 90% of the human population in 2600 are ethnic Germans is never explored in the novels or the OVAs and makes little sense. Ethnic Germans are currently just 2 percent of the human population in 2018 and are projected to be under 2 percent by 2100. Even if we assume that Rudolf von Goldenbaum’s “Inferior Genes Exclusion Act” targeted non-Germans, which is NEVER stated in any material, it is still logistically impossible for so few to kill so many while maintaining a stable society and economy. If the series isn’t going to give a fuck about the logic of its world building than why should we?! Don’t waste 4 episodes of my time giving history lectures on how many shits the 4th emperor of the Goldenbaum dynasty took when a fundamental premise of the series is unexplained and makes no sense.
It is true that Yang, Reinhardt, Oberstein, and all the boys aren’t yet as fleshed out as they were in the original OVAs. Keep in mind, this is only the beginning if this series does well. New Thesis has done a very solid job with the characters thus far and still should have PLENTY of time to develop the characters if all goes to plan.
One character I LOVED in the original, but admittedly works better in New Thesis is Walter von Schenkopf. He has been returned to the loyal, loveable, but realistic soldier he was in the novels. In the OVAs, Walter is transformed into this God among Men that basically becomes a joke. He’s either fighting 100 on 1 and winning, banging 20 chicks at the same time, or some other act of laughably over the top manliness. OVA Walter is basically the German version of Black Dynamite and yet he’s placed in this political space opera that takes itself DEAD SERIOUSLY. I swear to god the most stuffy and elitist LotGH fans must close their eyes and ears every time Walter is on screen in the OVAs and just pretend he doesn’t exist. Now in New Thesis he can still be a badass and a ladies man and yet not torpedo the seriousness of the series!
The characters do have a kind of pretty boy style it’s true. I personally like a lot of the character designs in the original OVAs much better. Having said that, the overall art and animation is WAY better in New Thesis. Let’s be honest here for a minute folks. The first 3 seasons of the original OVAs were animated by Studio Magic Bus, the motherfuckers who did Mad Bull 34 and other schlock that nobody wanted. It was never a pretty looking series, even in the 80s. Finally the ship battles aren’t stationary ships firing the same 2 frames of blue laser animation. It no longer looks like total shit, and this isn’t a bad thing.
Now HERE is where the original OVAs just tower head and shoulders above New Thesis. The OVAs had that AMAZING classic composer lineup vs 1 decent anime composer for New Thesis. However, I will still defend New Thesis in this category. The OVA soundtrack created a copyright clusterfuck by using performances from dozens of major orchestras around the world. I’m pretty sure that’s the main reason why you can’t waltz into any Walmart in the US and pickup the original OVAs on DVD and Blu-Ray. They are not available anywhere outside Japan despite massive demand. The only way to watch them is pirate them on Kissanime.ru All hail the beauty of the copyright ignoring Runet. That is until Roskomnadzor inevitably fucks it all up.
It is obviously difficult to compare New Thesis with the OVAs. The OVAs are a finished product and New Thesis is just covering a small portion. New Thesis at this point still has a LONG way to go in order to surpass the OVas in quality and for many people that would be impossible. Even so, I feel that New Thesis is a high quality series that gets WAY more shit than it deserves. If you’ve never seen Galactic Heroes I would give New Thesis a watch. If you love it, you can also check out the OVAs. There is no reason you can’t love both. If you love the OVAs as 98 percent of MAL does, I would still check out New Thesis. The animation, quick pacing, and closer adaptation of the source material makes it well worth your while. For now I’m giving LotGH New Thesis a well deserved 8 out of 10.
I’ll begin by saying this anime is extremely unique in its presentation and tone in that is doesn’t even feel like a story anyone would think to put to animation in the first place. It certainly doesn’t use the medium to its fullest, it’s not very artistically creative, and nothing about it is particularly inventive except for the fact it isn’t inventive at all. It feels less like a piece of art and more like a stage play, an opera, a wartime drama, or even just a straight-up documentary. In fact, it actually feels most like one of those books I’d be assigned to read back in school. An epic which spans far, far, far past the first novel, but a story which I’d never see the end of because I was only assigned to read book one for my report, and I didn’t care to finish the remaining books after I got my grade.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis is told like an actual historical tale would be, and Hiroyuki Sawano’s breathtaking opening theme personifies this atmosphere perfectly. It doesn’t hesitate to walk you though events with dry narration, and it doesn’t feel like it was constructed by a screenwriter, but like it was taught by a professor. Events in anime are scripted, obviously. They’re pieces of fiction a team of professional storytellers wrote in a writers’ room to construct entertainment, but this show feels like something else, like the telling of chaos theory in a middle to upper level world history course. No nation on either side of the conflict is acting per expectation, and events don’t resolve as simply and finally as they typically do in film. There’s a lot of back and forth between conflicting parties, all with their own complex motives and sets of values. There’s just so, so, so much social politics you simply don’t see in conventional storytelling because, while it’s highly realistic, it can be honestly boring to watch. In a phrase, “You couldn’t make this shit up.”
With the unusual yet surprisingly intriguing presentation aside, the story is extremely simple. Humanity within the known galaxy is united under two banners, The Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance. The monarchy of The Galactic Empire was historically the sole galactic state, and the force who would become the Free Planets Alliance rebelled against them in favor of democracy, and that’s it. That’s all there is to the story because one hundred percent of conflict and drama the series has offered so far is all what you’d expect to be derivative of such. The Galactic Empire suffers from corruption, embezzlement, feudalism, classism, and any other common abuse of power which comes with a non-elected government, and the Free Planets Alliance suffers from poverty, pacifism, protests, riots, mob mentality, desperation for re-election, and any other common disrupts which come with a nation led by its people. There wasn’t a single theme or message in this show you can’t derive from an Introductory Government & Politics textbook, and while executed to the letter, it’s still utterly bland.
The strongest aspect of this story by far, as well as the only difference between itself and a scholastic lecture, were the characters, which in conjunction with the dialogue scripting were absolutely stellar. The two main characters, Reinhard von Lohengramm of The Galactic Empire and Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance, find themselves at the head of their respective fleets, and they maintain an epic intellectual rivalry which obviously came to inspire the likes of Death Note or Code Geass. It’s not only a battle of wits, but a battle of ideology which carries the entire thematic gravity of the show, and I must say it is truly intoxicating to watch. Both men are so multifaceted and complex you find yourself naturally taking sides in the war, almost like your time spent watching their trials and tribulations was their way of recruiting you into their fleet and proving themselves as a capable leader worthy of your service and devotion. On top of their ideologies and charisma, they each have their own forces to support them which are populated with equally well constructed cast members who make both armies feel like they’re actually made of real people. When you see a starship get shot down in the background you actually feel a small sense of loss and urgency towards the battle at large, and that’s something almost no show can do.
Using that last bit as a segue, I’ll finally talk about the space battles. You’re probably already aware of this, but the spaceships are all constructed with CG animation. I know a lot of people will stay away from this show on that fact alone, but if you’ve seen anime by Orange or TROYCA, then you know CG animation isn’t always bad. Seeing as both armies are proper military forces, all their ships have a standard design with the exception of some of the more decorated Lords’ ships in The Galactic Empire, so given the very limited models they actually had to make, Production IG really took their time perfecting the few designs necessary, and their detailed work clearly shows. No matter what angle the absolutely massive battles are shown from, the tens of thousands of ships all fighting in formation at a single time all look flawless, and I was genuinely impressed with some of the more dynamic cinematography which would’ve been impossible without the use of CG. I thought battles of this size would be impossible to comprehend, but the strong directing coupled with holograms of the battlefield made each encounter easy to follow, as well as giving you a sense of where the battle is actually going. While the space battles do look nice, though, the rest of the show is terribly average and very underwhelming for an IG show.
In the introduction to this review, I compared this story to a novel I’d be assigned to read back in school, a series I’d never finish because the assignment only concerned book one and I was too thickheaded to commit to serious literature. On one occasion which this happened, I had already started to forget about the series along with the rest of my classmates, but there was this one quiet bookworm type who I would see reading book two and so on during breaks. After months had passed and she’d continued through the series, I thought I’d ask her “if it got good or something”. When I did, she glared at me and snapped, “It was good from the beginning. You guys just weren’t patient enough to read something like this.” After watching these first twelve episodes of such an expansive narrative epic, I think I finally get what she was saying.
Thank you for reading.
5: Megalo Box
MAL Score: 7.90
“To be quiet and do as you’re told, that’s the cowardly choice.” These are the words of Junk Dog, an underground fighter of Megalo Box, an evolution of boxing that utilizes mechanical limbs known as Gear to enhance the speed and power of its users. Despite the young man’s brimming potential as a boxer, the illegal nature of his participation forces him to make a living off of throwing matches as dictated by his boss Gansaku Nanbu. However, this all changes when the Megalo Box champion Yuuri enters his shabby ring under the guise of just another challenger. Taken out in a single round, Junk Dog is left with a challenge: “If you’re serious about fighting me again, then fight your way up to me and my ring.”
Filled with overwhelming excitement and backed by the criminal syndicate responsible for his thrown matches, Junk Dog enters Megalonia: a world-spanning tournament that will decide the strongest Megalo Boxer of them all. Having no name of his own, he takes on the moniker of “Joe” as he begins his climb from the very bottom of the ranked list of fighters. With only three months left to qualify, Joe must face off against opponents the likes of which he has never fought in order to meet the challenge of his rival.
TL;DR: If a young Hajime no Ippo made an illegitimate baby with the sexy cougar, Cowboy Bebop, in an 80’s themed love hotel with Samurai Champloo music blasting in the background, then Megalo Box would be the gorgeous mixed bastard child that will emerge from the Redline ambulance nine months later. Such a hidden gem but packs so much hype. “JOEEEEE!”
[Story: 6/10 , Characters: 7/10, Art: 9/10, Sound: 9/10, Enjoyment: 8/10]
“They don’t make tombstones for stray dogs” – JD
Yes Yes Yes. This is that shounen sports anime this season badly needed to remind what real anime is all about. You don’t need bad CG. You don’t need blended CG. You don’t need Ufotable level CG. What you need is a good mindblasting underdog story, eyegasmic hand-drawn visuals and eargasmic catchy rap music to ignite that flame that you put out long time ago to suffer through random sports anime thrown at you. Boxing anime can always be hyped. There is just something about two people beating the crap out of each other that brings out our animalistic nature to get that testosterone cascading within us and our blood viciously pumping through our veins. Megalo Box just takes it one step further. If you didn’t watch it yet, then damn you are one lucky twat, because you get to binge this greatness and I’ll tell you why.
“I don’t mind dying as long as I know that the faith I had in myself was real” – Joe
This is an underdog story paying an homage to the 50 years of greatness to the boxing anime, Ashita no Joe, brought in the Japanese Anime Industry. It’s a similar story however with one twist, mechanical box or gear attached to every boxer that enhances the speed and power of the user. Boxing is already bloody as it is, now imagine boxing with robotic limbs.
It’s a crazy concept but luckily this is not the focal point of the story and we don’t focus on the gear too much but rather the boxer themselves. This anime follows the archetypal hero’s journey but since they execute it well, it becomes a great strength rather than an overused flaw. The whole idea is that there is a Megalo Box World Tourney and our hero must fight from the slums where he threw boxing matches to earn money to face the number one boxer, Yuuri, in the new Megalo Box Arena. Will he be able to do it? Find out on the next episode of DBZ. Jokes aside, from training montages to flashbacks of boxers’ background to understanding their purpose in life, you really get drawn to this linear rollercoaster plot that’s constantly giving you knee-jerks to throw you off of it. However, if you hang on tight, albeit a few slip-ups here and there, you get to taste the rewarding experience.
“Why don’t you tell me your name?” – Yuuri
The best part about Megalo Box are the characters. There aren’t many but the few characters that are shown are really well fleshed out. They don’t have as much complexity as other boxing anime have but given the limited number of episodes they have to work with, we get to understand their emotional baggage they carry with them. We have “Joe,” a junkyard dog coming from the slums that are cast aside in the society, Nanbu, his shady coach, Sacchio, a tech-genius kid seeking revenge against the rich and lastly Yuuri, a Russian husky of a boxer, champion of the Megalo Box arena, itching to find the greatest opponent in his life to give a good beatdown. All of these masochistic characters have so much charisma that they easily outshine the lackluster one-dimensional side characters thrown in this anime. Moreover, with a great deep-voiced seiyuu cast, this show feels so gritty and lifelike. Every time, Joe or Yuuri, speaks, they just steal the scene. Kudos to the seiyuus for not holding this anime back.
“If his punches were sharp, they wouldn’t sound like a cow cutting through cheese” – Coach Nanbu
Aside from the linear rollercoaster story and the gritty characters, the highlight of this anime are the animation and music. Seriously from episode one, the hand drawn animation puts so much life into this anime. Each panel feels picturesque. Each panel feels like it can be a wallpaper. The characters are so well drawn while maintaing the respect for Ashita no Joe and the use of lines & variation of pen-strokes just makes this anime stand out from other boxing anime that came out before them. It really goes to show how maintaining a good homogenous colour palette throughout the animation really pays off. The fight sequences are well drawn and choregraphed as well. Aside from the breathtaking visuals, the music is really freaking good. The OP song provides the hype and the ED song mellows us out but the background score and sound bits in the transitions are just addictive to listen to. This anime will have one of the best standalone OST to listen to. Couple that with gritty rap music thrown in at appropriate times in the anime, it catapults the plot and hype even further. If you don’t get to watch the anime, atleast listen to the OST.
“Everyone’s only looking out for number one,
so why stop now? You’re still not done.
No metal on your back so they call you gearless,
right now the way you act sure ain’t fearless” – Sacchio
Overall, Megalo Box is a great sports shounen anime to watch if you are into boxing. Their purpose was to celebrate the 50 years of Ashita no Joe and they went ahead did just that and more. They brought back boxing anime to its roots and they showed us hand-drawn animation will never be beaten by commercialized CG animation industry. If you put forth passion and work hard to achieve a goal, then it will all be worthwhile in the end. This anime isn’t perfect and everyone always enjoys sports anime of the sport they are into, but even if you aren’t into boxing, it’s enjoyable to watch as they don’t delve that much in detail about how to box. So if you can get past the crazy plot of boxers using mechanical gears & one dimensional side characters, give this show a watch. After all, this anime isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey and being the spectators we are in that megalo box arena, let’s just sit back and enjoy. Anyways, check it out & let me know later how you like it as well as share with me your favourite quote from the anime! Ciao.
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!
Ergo, making the mixture of the two (art and sport) quite the peculiar one.
One demands openness and originality, while the other requires an outcome. Not to say that it cannot be done, as the predecessor of this series, “Ashita no Joe” proved otherwise. Yet, fans of the original series will be quick to point out, that while it was a “boxing anime,” it was so much more. In a numerous amount of ways, the original “Joe” is akin to Ping Pong The Animation — a character driven narrative — as opposed to your typical sports anime. Breaking free from the restrictions of defined outcomes and crafting something truly imaginative.
That all being said, how does this new iteration of “Joe” stack up on the hierarchy of sports anime?
I’m going to discuss the story first, mainly because I feel there is one glaring detail that demands acknowledgement before pressing forward. I am referring to the “Gear” (i.e. mechanical limbs) the boxers use to inflict blood-stained carnage on their respective opponents. The concept, in theory, sounds interesting, but when one considers the ramifications, especially with the proliferation of CTE in athletes, it’s a horrifying notion. Imagine if “Iron” Mike Tyson were equipped with this “Gear” in his prime, he would straight up murder people with one punch (cue the One Punch Man theme music). In all seriousness, weaponizing the instrument of pain with highly sophisticated machinery, without providing protective barriers for the combatants is just ludicrous and a colossal oversight on the writer’s part. I understand the rationale behind the decision, as it pertains to my original statement regarding originality, or lack thereof, in sports. But, this innovative nuance is just a cosmetic flourish that adds little to nothing towards the overall plot.
Which is a shame.
Because there are numerous routes the anime staff could have taken this idea, that would have elevated this anime into something worth remembering. Perhaps, for example, they could have used the technology to profit from unnecessary conflicts and war, propagating political tensions and the fears of an overreaching quasi-government (this was sort of hinted at, but never really explored with any specific detail). Boxing would have still been the main focus, but underneath, you would have an interesting perspective about the dangers of proliferating technology. Instead, what we are left with, is a brother and sister competing for control over their father’s legacy. Then, much to the chagrin of the viewer, Yuuri decides to expel his integrated “gear” for the final match, making the entire concept an irrelevant element in a story that — desperately — needed vitality to successfully engage the viewer. As the saying goes: haste makes waste. The “gear” was the waste; therefore, invariably, the production must have been made in haste.
The remainder of the story is your ordinary sports anime framework, by which I mean: a tournament. Somewhat unavoidable, given the format of the show, but do we really need to see Joe get knocked down for a ten count, only to rise to his feet at the count of nine, in every single fight? Watch boxing clips on YouTube and you will see for yourself that this sort of thing rarely happens.
Joe, as they refer to him in the series, is reminiscent of a stray dog: he’s tough, gritty, aggressive, and has nothing to lose. Another characteristic of stray dogs is fear, an emotion that is briefly touched upon in Joe’s first fight (his first fight in the tournament, that is), but is never revisited later in the series. I would have liked to see this affliction be a recurring issue for Joe, a malignant hindrance that would have required significant mental effort to overcome his anxieties, potentially derailing his short-term goal of reaching Megalonia. Unfortunately, the series allows Joe to conquer this obstacle relatively early, diminishing much of the intrigue in his plight towards the top. In this sense, the story quickly dissolves from being an in depth character drama, and into a simple revenge story. The reflection of emulating the original “Joe” proved too arduous for “Megalo-Joe” to achieve, disappointing fans of the original series who were looking for a show that retained its predecessor’s desirable traits.
Gansaku Nanbu, Joe’s manager, is your prototypical boxing coach: tough exterior, but has a sense of honor and virtue. His actions are fairly predictable, and while they attempt to portray him as an indifferent character, we all know he will stand in Joe’s corner, no matter the circumstances; thus, nullifying the astonishment of his evident, false heel turn(s).
Nanbu’s previous protege, Tatsumi Aragaki, is the “genuine article” of the entire series. A man who was robbed of his legs and half of his face during a war, Aragaki struggles to find a reason to press forward in his “meaningless” existence. Much like the duality of his disfigured face, Aragaki leads a conflicted life, wanting to exact revenge on his coach through Joe, but also desiring a peaceful resolution that will alleviate some of his psychological woes. The depiction of this character was spot on, creating a connection with the viewer in a palpable way. The emotions that flew from Aragaki highlighted the fragile nature of all humans, reminding the viewer that one’s own mind, can be the greatest opponent of all.
I won’t engage in talking about the other character’s of the show, as the vast majority were dearth of any real personality; however, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Glen Burroughs coming out in a monster truck. I mean, what was that? We already know he’s a boisterous American, but they really tried to hammer that point home. Perhaps they watched some old clips of Stone Cold Steve Austin driving on his ATV to the ring, but just missed the point that the WWE was a contrived entertainment event, and not a real sporting competition.
The boxing matches were, for the most part, uninspiring, and as the tournament progressed to its later stages, it became onerous for the viewer to tune in to the next episode. Real life boxing is tedious enough (just look at the declining viewership numbers), but watching it in an anime format is all the more dreary when you consider the absurdity of the “gear” itself. There were a few plot twists thrown in here and there, but nothing that made the viewer second-guess the outcome of the series as a whole. Perhaps watching Ping Pong the Animation and Ashita no Joe has spoiled my standards for what to expect from future sports anime, yet, in the end, being judged by your peers is the only unbiased way of determining your place on the hierarchy of the sports anime genre. And while this may seem blasphemous to some of you, I believe the first two seasons of Haikyuu!! capture character emotions with more veracity than Megalo Box. One of the few times a Shounen anime did something better than a Seinen anime. Not the legacy Megalo Box was attempting to solidify with its sights set on attaining the previous glory of its predecessor.
The premise of the series involves Junk Dog, an underground Megalo Boxer. He participates in a popular sport in their world known as Megalo Boxing. What is Megalo Boxing? It’s basically a sport that involves boxers fighting with metal gears. Think of it as boxing but with more lethal and brutal consequences. Junk Dog takes on the moniker name “Joe” so he can participate in the Megalonia tournament. Throughout the series, we see his life journey as both a Megalo Boxer and person.
On my first viewing, Megalo Box made an intimidating and fascinating impression on me. I haven’t seen the original Ashita no Joe series before so coming into this anime fresh felt intimidating at first. On the other hand, I’m also fascinated by the larger than life ideas of the show. The first two episodes immediately had me glued to my seat as we witness Junk Dog showing his fighting skills as a Megalo Boxer. It didn’t take long to realize that the show portrays him as an underdog. The experience that Joe gains is invaluable and also allows him to realize his potential. I’m also a sucker for the “David vs Goliath” trope as the idea can be applied in any sport. For Megalo Box, the stakes are raised higher because of how dangerous it is. Every fight feels as if Joe is putting his life on the life against opponents. And believe me, the characters he comes across with are no pushovers. Take Yuuri as an example. He is a Megalo Boxing champion and is considered one of the top fighters in the world. In a classic ‘David vs Goalith’ style fight, he humiliates Junk Dog in his match. The fight inspires Junk Joe to climb up the ranks and make a name for himself. It planted the seeds for Junk Dog to not only improve but also show why he deserves to be a Megalo Boxer. Junk Dog later takes on the ring name “Gearless Joe” because of his own choice to fight without gears in the ring.
Now I have to be honest here and wonder what makes a good boxing story. Is it about the development of character in and out of the ring? Does it also involve a fighter going beyond than just a fictional character? Or maybe it’s a story that always keeps up coming back for more. Perhaps it’s how much the story draws lines between fiction and reality. Personally, I think Megalo Box has a bit of every one of those aspects. Junk Dog goes against his manager Nanbu to throw a fight and takes control of his own destiny. This is a contrast to Yuuri who often follows the command of Yukiko, the head of the Shirato Group who oversees the Megalonia tournament. There’s a good contrasting comparison between these two characters as it feels like they are living in two different worlds. It also impressed me on how much Junk Dog is willing to go to prove himself. This is shown later in the series when he fights Aragaki, with both physical and emotional stakes. It escalated to the point where both fighters eventually took on an all-brawl approach to see who the last man standing. In perhaps one of the most important fights of Junk Joe’s life, he proves himself as a warrior.
For a sports show, there’s no doubt psychology is also involved in the ring. The gimmicks, trash talk, and press conferences hypes up match-ups between opponents. A big selling factor also involves the emotional quality of the show. I can’t help but root for Junk Dog early on in the series. He’s the underdog and for him to beat certain opponents is relatable. It sends across the message that anyone can do anything they set their mind into. While this seems like a cheesy gimmick for the show, it’s very real and the buildup for some of Joe’s matches is executed flawlessly. On the other hand, Megalo Box does suffer a bit on the drama side if we look beyond the ring. Some of the subplot involving Yukiko clashing with the board of directors makes a less memorable impact to connect the series together. The family feud between Yukiko and Mikio also feels like it doesn’t belong in a show like this. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good drama from time to time but the way their plot is carried out just doesn’t sell well. On the other hand, the rivalries between the fighters is what got me really invested into the story. Junk Dog/Yuuri, Junk Dog/Mikio, and Mikio/Yuuri are all rivalries that stays committed to selling this show. What I’m also more invested in is how far Joe goes out to prove himself. He is very committed to his goal even if it means putting his own life on the line and taking jaw dropping risks. The guy knows what he wants to accomplish in life and to me, that’s an attitude you need to succeed.
Produced by TMS Entertainment, it’s may take a while for viewers to get used to the animation style. The characters looks like they are hand drawn and creates a sensation of the 1990s. The characters are rough looking especially for our main protagonist, Junk Dog. There’s no doubt the anime was aiming make the characters look as badass as possible. The addition of the gears these fighters wear adds more aesthetics to raise the stakes. However, the biggest selling point of the anime’s technical quality is the actual fighting. It really isn’t hard to spot how intense the action is once the fight gets into a momentum. Every punch feels impactful and camera angles captures the realism of the pain. It’s never camera shy to show blood on screen and how fighters react to their win or losses. Every fight can get viewers’ heart throbbing. The emotional impact can also be felt with the protrayal of human expressions. In terms of boxing, it also delivers its quality action such as uppercuts, corkscrew punches, jabbing, overhands, etc. Additionally, it’s worth noting how well the show’s dystopia setting is portrayed without overemphasizing element of science fiction. Sure, the series place in a futuristic environment but also shows the reality of cruelness such as poverty. If the creators were aiming for making this anime feel real, they sure got their job done.
I’m not too familiar with Katsuhiko Manabe but the music talent he brings into this anime is undeniably stylish. The fighting music amplifies the hip-pop style of the OST to bring in a lot of attitude into the series. The soundtrack is mesmerizing that always keeps its momentum from the minute the first beat hits. In the meantime, I’m also impressed by the voices of the character cast especially our protagonist Junk Dog. His personality matches with his voice that almost sounds like a fierce dog when fighting in the ring. The masculinity of all the fighters is believable because of the talented voice cast. Both the OP and ED theme songs also reflects a bit of the 1990s mood that may feel nostalgic.
Megalo Box definitely turned out to be a dark horse that I’m glad I gave a chance this year. What started out as a fight turned into an emotional story that follows the heart of an underdog. I’m in awe of how much I became invested into Joe’s character before even realizing his potential. While this anime may not be suitable for everyone, it’s still an anime that can keep just about anyone at their seat. Here is a series that made a name for itself in just 13 phenomenal episodes.
4: Hinamatsuri (TV)
MAL Score: 8.18
While reveling in the successful clinching of a prized vase for his collection, Yoshifumi Nitta, a yakuza member, is rudely interrupted when a large, peculiar capsule suddenly materializes and falls on his head. He opens the capsule to reveal a young, blue-haired girl, who doesn’t divulge anything about herself but her name—Hina—and the fact that she possesses immense powers. As if things couldn’t get any worse, she loses control and unleashes an explosion if her powers remain unused. Faced with no other choice, Nitta finds himself becoming her caregiver.
To let her use her powers freely, Nitta asks Hina to help out with a construction deal, which goes smoothly. But while this is happening, a rival yakuza group covertly attacks his boss. To Nitta’s shock, his colleagues later pin the blame on him! Tasked with attacking the rival group in retaliation, Nitta steels himself and arrives at their hideout. But suddenly, Hina unexpectedly steps in and helps him wipe out the entire group. As it turns out, Hina might just become a valuable asset to Nitta and his yakuza business, provided she does not use her powers on him first! And so the strange life of this unusual duo begins.
As a fan of the manga, delightful is just one of many words that came to mind when I heard about the adaptation. The manga contains over 70+ chapters of memorable content and to fully deliver that value isn’t an easy task. Luckly, Hinamatsuri does something that I noticed many shows doesn’t do these days and that’s being aware of itself. On first viewing, it felt like a challenge to realize what this series is all about. The premise itself can make some people’s eyes roll while the character cast consists of a variety of colorful personalities. To me, Hinamatsuri is like diving into a world of absurdity but coming out of it brings me nothing but a smile and the realization of being entertained.
From watching the show, I can tell that the director wanted to for entertain the audience. The most evident is the selling of the comedic character reactions. Main characters Hina and Nitta does this the best as they come from very different backgrounds. On the surface level, the two are nothing alike but through interacting with one another, they form a strange bond that makes them almost inseparable. The anime does a phenomenal job at capturing the character expressions with well-timed body language. It creates the sensation of wanting for more every episode and see what characters will do under certain situations. Each episode consists of segments of everyday life activities although there are abnormal events happening from time to time involving psychic powers. Beyond just selling the comedy, this show also does contain some interesting emotional elements too.
One particular episode showcasing Anzu depicts the realism of homelessness. It’s one of those episodes that you would least expect to see from this particular anime. What attracts me about this show is how it ties in a lot of ideas together. The thematic storytelling may feel random at first but overall has a connection together. Every main or supporting character also delivers moments that are hard to forget. This also includes Hina’s classmates such as Hitomi as she works discreetly at a bar that few knows. It’s also noticeable that the show doesn’t just take place at school or the city either. In a big change in mood, an episode focusing on Mao shows what life is like in isolation. By experimenting ideas like this, it feels like this show constantly evolves and has something for fans to talk about.
I’ve already mentioned some of the characters but a big question is if the show puts enough value to make the audience care about them. While some characters may not stand out much as the others, I can definitely say with confidence that the main cast is worth watching for their roles. It would have been easy to just let the characters do the talking but instead, the series remarkably showcase their personalities in the most humorous ways possible. A general sense of fatalism can also be felt as some characters are destined to meet or events fated to happen. While some storytelling elements can be predictable in later episodes, it doesn’t hold back with how characters connect with each other.
Now, there’s an elephant in the room. Once you’ve seen a good amount of episodes, it’s not hard to say that the anime portrays characters in some inappropriate ways. Fan service is present in some episodes and there may be some uncomfortable scenes thrown in by the creators. While this is true on the surface, it should be realized that the anime isn’t presented as a shock value. At its core, Hinamatsuri serves to entertain its audience through creative comedy. The fan service adds more fuel to the fire that way.
Adapted by studio feel, the anime has production quality that I can say works quite well. The character reactions are the big selling factor animated with extreme style. Somehow, it remains faithful to the overall tone of the show without ever going off-track. It also impresses me that we get to see emotional moments bought to life. It’s very human and despite how silly the anime can be, the show contains episodes that are tearjerking. Character designs looks sharp with the vibrant outlines that makes them stand out too.
While not being a powerhouse in the music department, Hinamatsuri does boasts a great voicing cast. Nitta, Hina, Anzu, and Hitomi are the primary examples that perfectly fits with their personalities. Every now and then, they can say lines with a straight face under certain circumstances that can’t help but make me laugh. It’s a comedy show and definitely never forgets its intentions. The music also makes certain scenes and montages feel more meaningful.
Ah, if only Hinamatsuri had more than 12 episodes. The manga contains more material that I would love to see animated on TV. However, it did adapt the series to the extent that made a great impression to me. From character chemistry to the peculiar storytelling, every episode left me with something to talk about. This is a dark horse of the year that I hope people won’t overlook. Crafting comedy isn’t easy these days but I feel that Hinamatsuri accomplished that so well. I am entertained.
For starters, Hinamatsuri is a fresh take among the many comedy anime we see nowadays. It’s not a school romance comedy and thanks to that it pushes out a huge cliche (there are exceptions) right out of the window, add to that it’s supernatural nature mixed with clever comedy and you’ve got a fresh anime that people not only laugh with, but cherish for the coming seasons because you won’t see such an anime so common, not every season, not every year either. Hinamatsuri uses tons of elements and jokes in it’s run and it was very hard for me to find recycled jokes among them, it was all new and innovative and that says a lot about it’s quality as a comedy anime. Oh and by saying it’s supernatural you might think it relies too much on supernatural stupidity to tickle your funny bone? No, the best part is that Hinamatsuri can stand even on normal comedy and make everyday situations so hilarious despite having a huge arsenal of supernatural jokes at its disposal but Hinamatsuri uses both of them very wisely with the end result being us viewers holding down our stomachs while we laugh.
A huge reason why Hinamatsuri is so incredibly amazing is because it’s got various approaches to the comedy, and it almost always nailed them, first off it has a buildup of jokes, the situation starts getting crazier and crazier and you’re left laughing at every second. This is common in comedy anime since you can put up over the top situations and make people laugh as well, but Hinamatsuri unlike many others not only looks at that but it also looks at the premise where it’s using it in, something surprisingly uncommon in other anime. What am I talking about? Many times we see anime attempt at comedy but use the wrong approach at the wrong time, thus even though the joke was actually funny, the wrong approach didn’t give the writers the result they wanted and this anime thankfully crosses that hurdle.
Another approach it has to it’s comedy is somewhat of the opposite, it sets your expectations low on purpose before hitting you with the punchline, this also has a largely positive effect since if the joke is successful, it can almost equal the hilarity of the previous take and on the other hand serve as an element of surprise to its viewers which as well plays a huge part in making it so funny since Hinamatsuri rarely failed at this as well. Yet another approach Hinamatsuri took was to use the “straight man” principle to effectively. What is the straight man principle you may ask? It’s when the characters do something stupid and another character takes the “straight man” role and points out the stupidity in shock and while on paper this may seem unfunny, in reality it’s very successful if implemented properly, two of the best and most famous examples of characters using the straight man principle excellently in anime are namely Saiki Kusuo (Saiki Kusuo no PSI Nan) and Shimura Shinpachi (Gintama). Instead of attributing this principle to only one character, Hinamatsuri gives the role to multiple characters depending on the situation and thankfully does it well.
Why did I list these and explain the different approaches to comedy? It’s because few anime use so many approaches and few of them are successful in doing so as well, and the good news is that Hinamatsuri can use those very well, reason being it keeps them fresh with the comedy and helps keep things varied.
Note: The following is a comparison of Hinamatsuri, Saiki and Gintama, if you haven’t watched the latter two completely, please skip the next paragraph as you may not understand the references talked about.
***COMPARISON BEGIN: Since comedy shows get compared a lot, why not compare Hinamatsuri with an anime it shares a lot in common with arguably the giant of comedy anime, Gintama along with a relatively recent anime that’s also been doing fabulous, Saiki Kusuo, note that I used these both as examples as well above for the straight man principle. First off with Gintama, Hinamatsuri shares the nature of smile+tears, meaning that both anime make you laugh with it’s jokes, but it also has it’s sad arcs that give you the feels and usually make many cry. Apart from this, both are supernatural anime (along with Saiki of course) that use their premise very smartly and have varied approaches to comedy, not just one. For Saiki, both feature modern-day Earth but retain the supernatural nature along with the occasional school comedy (but good) thrown in. COMPARISON END***
All three feature this element and excellently use their numerous weapons at their disposal wisely along with using one of the best comedy methods as well, unpredictability. You never know what comes next and when it does, you’re left laughing your ass out. What does this entail? This entails that Hinamatsuri is an anime comparable to such greats and can stand on its own as well without having to mooch off anything else. Much like the other two, Hinamatsuri also at times jumped straight to the comedy itself without any caution (although this wasn’t used much) and served as possibly the best form of surprise it could muster. Moving away from the comparing and looking at the points that set Hinamatsuri apart from the others is that Hinamatsuri uses an outsmarting “lazy approach”, such that when you’re watching Hinamatsuri, much like Hina, it looks sluggish and slow and lazy as well but the moment you think that this is how the whole episode will be, it lands in a sudden joke and you’re left flabbergasted in laughter (can people be flabbergasted in laughter? Maybe :P) so you’d be dumb to write Hinamatsuri off if you think it’s a bit slow at first because there’s a huge punch coming really soon as well.
Now let’s step aside from the comedy for a bit since that’s not exactly everything Hinamatsuri offers, we also have the occasional sad arcs. These were usually of Anzu (primarily) and at times a few other characters realising the importance of friendship or a life lesson as well. The reason why people loved Anzu to the point that people very soon ranked her higher than Hina for the best girl of the anime was because her arcs were so damn powerful. Poverty, learning to live as a homeless person, the community you make with them, and many other things beyond that I can’t cover since they’re spoilers, her arcs have a lot of thought and emotion into them and no person with a heart could not at least get a lump in their throat when they see the way she works hard to do her best for her friends who she treats like family as the feeling is mutual, this is really what should make us smile and laugh, the happiness of a human being doesn’t come from being rich, but from enjoying what’s next to us, what we have, not what we want, and this serious message was shown through her in these arcs. Getting why the anime is so amazing?
On the other side of the spectrum we have the duo who we started with, Nitta and Hina, these two are like father and daughter, despite one being a Yakuza and the other having dangerous superpowers, they went like bread and butter, and for the opposite reasons. If you took them individually, Hina wouldn’t be as funny by herself and Nitta could only be used as a straight man if he’s not with Hina. The anime is such that not only can Hina and Nitta not live without each other, but their comedy as well can’t live without each other, and this is a testament to the genius mangaka behind this. As such, this erases most doubts about people possibly thinking of possibly axing one of the two, but much like Nana and Popo in the Ice Climbers (I s’pose no one will get that NES reference), they both need each other not only to live, but to make us laugh. Needless to say, Hina and Nitta’s sketches leave their mark clearly.
Let’s move to arguably the most powerful character of the show, Hitomi. Why did I call her so? It’s because she highly influences both Hina and Anzu. Anyway, Hitomi is fantastic as a character since she’s very relatable thanks to her being given the straight man (or woman if you may) role by handling the BS that her daily life gives her and her arcs as well were hilarious as well as cute. She suddenly gets forced to work as a bartender and surprisingly becomes adept at her job and this is used as a baseline for many of the jokes at her. She also as mentioned played the straight woman for the crap that she has to deal with Hina and sometimes Anzu and her work. The best part is that she’s amazing since she’s so ordinary in the midst of idiots around her that it’s hilarious in its own right and I seriously can’t complain when even this is used well for it’s jokes. Pretty reflective of the anime itself.
The thing is that Hinamatsuri has its own share of flaws as well. Even though it’s comedy is almost always on point, if the jokes DO fail, the episode can fall apart pretty quick if nothing is done, and although this did happen once or twice, it pretty much saved itself in the next joke and went on, but this issue does exist and could be done better. And one issue that many point out is that since the anime is named Hinamatsuri, it still doesn’t focus much on Hina in the first place. Although Hinamatsuri’s purpose is to follow and balance screen time for all characters, many times Hina felt off the mark either because she wasn’t given too many lines or she wasn’t the person making the joke at that time. This is also a problem since based on Hina’s character, it’s hard to bring in new stuff for a lazy brat since a lazy brat doesn’t do much in the first place. This shows that you can’t do much with the character as you would with others so Hinamatsuri’s comedy gets held back at times when Hina doesn’t do much.
Overall, Hinamatsuri is an anime that does a lot, and a lot of that is different from the usual. Apart from being able to stand on its own legs for support, it is comparable to the legends in its genre and can hold its own to a respectable level. It’s truly an all round comedy in part because it makes you cry then laugh in just a span of a minute. Why is that you may ask? It’s because comedy isn’t just laughing at stupidity, comedy is also trying to find the funny in tragedy and the sad times, that’s what Hinamatsuri is all about. And that’s what comedy should be all about isn’t it?
P.S: This season has a multitude of amazing last episodes demonstrating the best of the show’s offerings overall and Hinamatsuri was no exception. The last episode excellently showed us everything that made the show so amazing. A combination of feels, slapstick comedy and recent nostalgia made for an epic end to an epic anime (despite that minor cliffhanger?), and as a fan, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s a fan’s dream come true. Here’s hoping we see a season 2 anytime soon!
These are all ways to make a comedy anime better. However, unlike my 3D Kanojo real girl and Love is hard for an Okatu reviews where I compared them with each to see which one was overall better (spoilers Wotaku Love is hard for an otaku won) but instead I just want to talk about I believe that Hinamatsru or Hina Festival is by far one of the best comedy/slice anime to ever come out. Am not saying that its competitor Comic Girls was bad or anything, in fact, Comic Girls was a good comedy/slice of life anime that made me laugh a couple of times. However, it still wouldn’t have a chance against Hinamatsuri
So what made Hinamatsuri so great?
How did it end up dominating the Spring 18 season?
You will find out soon enough.
One night, a strange object falls on the head of Nitta, a member of the yakuza. Inside the box is a strange young girl named Hina. She has tremendous supernatural powers, and Nitta finds himself reluctantly taking her in. Her powers can come in handy for his yakuza business, but he also runs the risk of her using them on him! Not to mention, if she doesn’t use her powers, she will eventually go berserk and destroy everything around her. Nitta and Hina’s strange life together is just beginning.
The story is brilliant and very well crafted.
For starters, the show does a nice job at building its own world where the anime perfectly showcases every social group in the city from the middle school students, the Yakusa, workers from the shopping district to even the homeless people. The show also does a fantastic job of displaying character interaction based on different social groups.
For example in Hitomi’s character arc where she was forced to work as a bartender, we see that many social groups like the Yakusha’s seeing the fact that a middle school girl was working in a bar. Like with Hitomi classmates where they thought that Hitomi is working in a bar as a bartender as well doing naughty things with adults and Yakusa. However as soon they enter the bar that there was no naughty activity going on as Hitomi is just severing the adult’s beer meaning the people in the ear are not paedophiles as they just want a drink.
Despite Hitomi, the character arc is the most comedic of the bunch her rise to fame was handled very well.
The comedy in Hinamatsuri is brilliant to the core. The comedy and jokes are really funny as they are all timed and most importunity that are not repetitive. What makes the comedy more brilliant is how the characters react to the comedic situations that go on in this series.
The one thing that I really adored about Hinamatsuri is doing a great job at tackling the serious topic and themes such as homeless, humanity, running way, acceptance, family, gambling, and money and does a great job at exploring them in full depth as well treating the themes and topics with respect.
The thing that sold me about this series the most is despite being heavily a comedy/slice of life show character actually gets development. You see most comedy anime would often return to the status quo meaning once these characters had they spotlight by the next episode they return to they usually self’s removing all of the character development in the process. This never happens in Hinamatsuri as the characters and even the world itself change and evolves as the series goes.
The best example of this was in Anzu character arc where she started off as this tough girl who came to earth to take Hina home as well stealing food and drinks from the local shopping district however all of this changes when she cannot return back of where she came from and because of that she became homeless as a result. Eventually, Anzu lives with a bunch of homeless people and while she’s was living with them she learns about the value of money and the power of community and friendship.
Unfortunately at a certain point of the series, she would have to leave the homeless community so she can be live with a couple that owns a restaurant. After that point we the audience see how her time in the homeless community has affected her both psychically and mentally to a point where she is seen trying to adapt to her new surroundings and things that she can now do such as having a bath to learning the value and importance of money.
These are things that I want to see in anime more often because the anime medium itself has the potential to present life lessons and serious topics to the viewer and I glad Hina Festival did a great job at handling its serious topics and themes.
The characters in Hinamatsuri were all brilliant and very likeable in their own ways. The one thing that I praise about this show is despite being a comedy slice of life show characters actually have characters development. A lot of comedy anime such as Konosuba, School Rumble and a few others are afraid of leaving its comedic ways. I know some of them are padorys where they are perfectly happy of being comedic but the problem was especially for Konosuba where at many times the show cock teases the audience about being more than a comedy where characters get developed but instead of doing that and taking risks that show decided to be the same comedic show from episode 1 however in the progress the show completely lost its charm to a point where it became unfunny and repetitive.
Hinamatsuri completely avoids all the pitfalls and traps that caught other comedy were not only the characters were likeable but the actually get development plus they are still actually funny and they don’t repeat the same jokes/gags to the audience.
Nitta is a great character that I really liked. Sure may appear as your generic Yakusa member in the beginning but he honestly has a softer side to him that makes him an interesting character to watch. I also loved his father and daughter relationship with Hina as it well-executed and was intriguing to watch.
Hina is, unfortunately, my least favorite character in the series. Don’t me wrong she’s not a character by any means as she is a good character in her own right. The problem is that if you compare to the other girls in the series especially Anzu who has the most character development she didn’t really stand out. Yes she’s has a good character arc with Nitta where they learn the importance of a father and daughter relationship but honestly, I thought Nitta learned a lot more than Hina did. Yes, she can be interesting characters at times but I thought she was nowhere as interesting as Anzu, Nitta, and Hitomi. Overall Hina is a good character but she gets overshadowed compare to the other girls in the series.
If I had to pick my favorite character in this show I would pick Hitomi. As a character, Hitomi was an absolute joy too because she went from being a typical middle school girl who is timed to a general hard-worker who is very skilled at the things that she does to a point where became a key member in several businesses. I also really adored her character interactions and arcs.
While Hitomi is my personal favorite character in the series Anzu is by far the best character in the show in terms of writing and character development. Compare to the other girls in the series she’s probably the most flawed and human character in the series despite being superman with powers. Not to mention her character arc was well written to the core.
Mao who comes in late in the series is an interesting character.
She an esper girl who has been stuck on the island who is trying to find her fellow espers. Despite having way less screen time in the due to her coming in the series very late she’s still managed to be an intriguing character that I really liked. More than Hina who had way more screen time than Mao.
The supporting characters are great in their own ways as they all memorable and intriguing to watch from start to finish.
Visually Hinamatsuri is pretty great.
Studio feel did a great job at sticking with the rough style of its source material with its jagged, textured linear and Gratuitous Overlays. The show also has great use of lovely and modern colour palettes which gives the show it’s own visual flare
I really adored the facial character expressions that series has to offer as it’s more tension to both the comedic and serious situations that go one in the series.
My favorite characters expression in the series was defiantly Hitomi because the way she opens her month sticks her tongue out whenever she thinks that she going to get caught by someone important because after all, she is working as a bartender at a young age.
The animation is pretty good for what it was so I have no complaints whatsoever.
The soundtrack in Hinamatsuri is great as it perfectly represents the daily life of Ashigawa.
The opening theme Distance by Rie Murakawa is easily the best opening from this spring 18 anime season as it’s very catchy and perfectly captures the setting and tone of the series.
The ending theme Sake to Ikura to 893 sung by Nitta’s Seiyuu actor was a masterpiece.
Before we get to the sub vs dub section of the review I just want to praise the fact that both the opening and ending evolving as the show goes along and this was perfectly shown by a character named Utako where if you keep on watching the opening each episode you will start to see how less important the character actually became and for this case was Utako where only appears once in the opening in episode 10 while she’s never present in the ending at all in episode 10. Another thing I really like is how it the ending theme features evolving supporting characters where I honestly hope more do theses evolving opening/ending themes in the future because one it really makes them unique and two instead of pointless recap episodes we the viewers actually see visually of how did the series progressed.
The sub is very good overall and I have no complaints about it however what really surprised me about Hinamatsuriwas the dub. The dub for Hinamatsuri is brilliant and well-acted.
Overall I adored Hinamatsuri Now I can safely say that not only Hinamatsuri single-handily dominated the Spring 18 season but it’s also one of the best slice of life/comedy series period.
The story was amazing and well created. The characters were wonderful and interesting. The production values were great and the soundtrack is awesome.
It truly feels like the creators for this anime put a lot of care and effort when making this anime and am glad.
Hopefully, this show gets a second season sometime in the future as well Blu Ray release by Funimation in the US and UK.
If you looking for a slice of life/comedy anime that is very funny and has great character development than I recommend Hinamatsuri.
3: Steins;Gate 0
English: Steins;Gate 0
Japanese: シュタインズ ゲート ゼロ
MAL Score: 8.51
The eccentric, self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe has become a shell of his former self. Depressed and traumatized after failing to rescue his friend Makise Kurisu, he has decided to forsake his mad scientist alter ego and live as an ordinary college student. Surrounded by friends who know little of his time travel experiences, Okabe spends his days trying to forget the horrors of his adventures alone.
While working as a receptionist at a college technology forum, Okabe meets the short, spunky Maho Hiyajo, who
later turns out to be the interpreter at the forum’s presentation, conducted by Professor Alexis Leskinen. In front of a stunned crowd, Alexis and Maho unveil Amadeus—a revolutionary AI capable of storing a person’s memories and creating a perfect simulation of that person complete with their personality and quirks. Meeting with Maho and Alexis after the presentation, Okabe learns that the two were Kurisu’s colleagues in university, and that they have simulated her in Amadeus. Hired by Alexis to research the simulation’s behavior, Okabe is given the chance to interact with the shadow of a long-lost dear friend. Dangerously tangled in the past, Okabe must face the harsh reality and carefully maneuver around the disastrous consequences that come with disturbing the natural flow of time.
Steins;Gate 0 is a story following “Open the Missing Link” – episode 23B of Steins;Gate.
My biggest gripe with the show is that no character delivers anything worth hearing in 20 episodes of the series. Okabe is a one-dimensional depressed person whose only way of exuding emotion is through shocked expressions. Mayuri is nothing but a plot device who clings to Okabe for reasons unknown since she has no character development at all. Her entire reasoning for existence is to love Okabe and that’s it.
Kagari is there to exist solely to look like Kurisu and make you feel bad. Nothing else… but she’s a cliffhanger for 4 episodes only to be overshadowed shortly after. She did not have enough character development prior to showing the sob story for you to even care.
I could break down each character, but this is what each of them are. They’re all hollow characters that have no justification for their actions. There’s no backstory and if there is it’s as basic as it could get, it’s just “This is them, and this is how they will always act.” and they never deviate from that.
World War 3 is imminent and they need to shift world lines to find “Steins;Gate” but Okabe says “nope”. After too many episodes, he says “maybe”. After more episodes, he’s just thrown into the future and he says “oh wow, maybe I should have done something”. From there his entire perspective changes because he “didn’t think it’d be like this even though he knew it’d be like this but didn’t think about it”. He actually says that. That’s it. Every other sub-plot that tried to fit itself in is now over-shadowed by this. Why did they exist? Mommy/daughter scenes? And did I mention this was 21 EPISODES of a 23 EPISODE series? So now he’s in a race to get back to the past to revert all the crap we had to painfully sit through.
Without a doubt one of the worst animations I’ve seen from an Anime that has done well world-wide. They pick it up in the final 4 episodes, but even than it barely passes. They kept the same art style which was great and a plus, but the proportions were insanely ridiculous in certain scenes. The action scenes were abysmal and sadly they came towards the end of the series. The series suffered a lot of realism with how poorly done every action shot was. Overall, it was pretty lackluster and the amount of close-ups of people’s faces started to become uncomfortable. Each episode seemed to have a different “budget” – some episodes looked bad, others looked a lot better, etc. Steins;Gate looked better, and that was 7 years ago.
There are no twists or turns along the way. Everything you thought would happen, did happen. And the worst part is, the show made you think you’re stupid and left EACH one of these things on a “cliffhanger”. We knew how this ended before it began, so why did you put cliffhangers of character deaths in it? That’s lazy writing.
The plot moved at a snail pace and the story didn’t flow together at all. It felt as if 5 people wrote it without talking with one another. They don’t delve into the plot until episode 20. Instead you sat through watching Okabe be sad and people trying to cheer him up with slight plot nuances here and there that you saw coming a mile away. There is no sci-fi/mystery in this, there are no philosophical quotes/ideas. It’s just, “hey get the time machine let’s go back in time”. The conclusions are just chopped up to “convergence” with no consistency or even showing it since it’d look so idiotic.
The new characters are all shadows of past characters(Kurisu vs Maho)… or Kagari being a duplicate of Suzuha that looks like Kurisu. We still don’t even know why she does. That’s the type of originality this show has to offer. It banked on nostalgia of Steins;Gate and it shows – this wouldn’t hold its own if it didn’t exist. The fan service episodes, the non-existent character development… and most of all, how little everything made sense when you look into it.
Amadeus is reduced to a plot device for people who wanted to see her and they needed to add some melodrama to it that made NO SENSE. The story makes you fixate on one thing, and hopes you forget about everything prior and what’s to come countless times. I’ll give one example. Why do we need a full episode of Amadeus right before the finale when Okabe knows the AI has to seize existing to have the REAL Kurisu next episode? Why did it exist? It’s like they forgot the entire plot for one episode in hopes of recreating what the original had that wasn’t forced. Any other cliche made sense there, “I’m coming to save you Kurisu. I love you.” – I’d go as far as to say THAT was better than what they did. It fit into the theme of what Okabe was at the time, unlike what they did.
If you’re looking for a sci-fi/thriller with a great plot, watch the original again. If you want to see the same ideas rehashed with bad writing, bad characters, and pointless plots with a good amount of fan service… look no further. Steins;Gate 0 awaits you.
when we are traveling or sleeping we don’t know what happened to the situation out there in other words if we pull out a hair what happens to our head? it doesn’t have much effect on us to imagine when a piece of hair gets pulled one by one over a long period of time what happens? of course we will feel the impact of a single hair.
in the world we live there is nothing that can stop time as our will is like a spinning wheel we live always spinning and experiencing some heavy process and if the wheel loses the chain what happens? the wheel will stop spinning like a world that stops spinning and only shows day and night forever.
and so on and on …
Originally a visual novel by 5pb and Nitroplus, Steins; Gate 0 tells the story of Okabe Rintaro (the crazy scientist known as Hououin Kyouma) who fails to save his lover and cannot stop the occurrence of the third world war. Okabe spends the rest of his time lamenting sadness after losing his lover and time spent with his “friends”. The gadget is the name of the laboratory that Okabe founded to experiment on tools that could be said to be like the tools of the future. After experiencing Okabe’s failure to save his lover he no longer visits the laboratory he founded with his colleagues.
after he gave up he threw out the name of chunnibyou “Hoounin Kyouma” and decided to become an ordinary student after three months of studying / as a student he met with the assistant professor at the place where he studied “Maho Hiyajo” a woman aged twenty-one years. the woman Okabe attended the brain intelligence seminar created by “Alexis Lexinen” in the seminar appeared Okabe’s lover who had died a while ago but his lover was in the form of AI (Artifical Intelligence).
Steins; Gate 0 is a good series, but unlike the previous series in this series it seems not too tense. White Fox is the maker of two series of Steins; Gate, this studio gives a good impression in adapting Novel Visuals and Manga (no need to be surprised because the studio this is a studio that produces Akame ga Kill and Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seiketsu which until now has become the best-selling series).
aside from the matter above now an anime series will not be good if it is not supported by voice actors, song themes, and song background (BGM) like a car if there are no supporters like wheels then it will not work well. Thanks to the voice this time of course only this matter did not escape Miyano Mamoru’s voice talents as “Okabe Rintarou”, Hanazawa Kana as “Shiina Mayuri”, Imai Asami as “Makise Kurisu” (although she did not play many roles and was AI), and Seki Tomokazu as “Hashida Itaru “once again I thank the series voice this time for struggling in carrying out their duties.
for the opening theme “Fatima” sung by “Itou Kanako” she has already contributed in the making of the opening theme song in the previous series. For the music background it’s pretty good especially when the “twenty-two” episode starts from music that makes the audience get excited and sad
This series gets three new characters, “Hiyajo Maho” as the, “Shiina Kagari” (she is a person from the future who came with Suzuha to stop the third world war), and the last is ” Leskinen Alexis “.
This series has the impression of being funny, sad, tense, and so romantic, it’s no wonder the viewers are confused by the nets of the story. Although this series focuses more on the daily life of “Okabe Rintarou” who fails to save his lover, compared to the fight itself it may this might have an effect on the value or ranking down in this series even though in this series it is also no less stressful than the previous series.
even though Steins; Gate 0 is an anime science fiction it is not denied even though the time we passed from this moment we cannot return or repeat and change it according to our own desires because it is something that is contrary to the universe.
it is strange if the final winding is regret or happiness
Back in 2011, we were stunned by the hit-anime named “Steins;Gate” with its unique story-telling of Sci-Fi, which is time-travel in the anime industry. The industry doesn’t have many anime that focuses on time-travel conflicts. So far, the only time-travel anime I’ve watched were Steins;Gate and ERASED, which both made me amused, excited and thrilled on their unique, individual scenes. Now, this Spring 2018, we were hitted by nostalgia with the return of the Steins;Gate franchise although, instead of it having a sequel, we get a “midquel” of the original Steins Gate. Thus, we get to watch the phenomenal dark story of the franchise named “Steins;Gate 0”. Just a brief reminder, before you watch Steins Gate 0, keep in mind this is an alternate story of the original. After Episode 22/23 of the original series, watch “Steins;Gate: Episode 23 (B), Open the Missing Link”, where this episode leads to the episode 1 of Steins;Gate 0.
We get to follow the story of a man once named “Hououin Kyouma” but then he suddenly changed with a certain incident, changing him back to only “Okabe, Rintarou.” Hence, “Hououin Kyouma” was no more in this world. We are looking into a broken-man named “Okabe, Rintarou”. With him not finding the goal which is the Steins;Gate world line, he was stuck to be in the Beta World Line, where Kurisu sacrificed herself for Mayuri. This is a story where Okabe failed to reach a good ending and was now stuck in a world line where WW3 was inevitable. If you want to expect more dark revelations like what the original Steins;Gate did, then you are on the right series because revelations are breathtaking on each episode of Steins Gate 0. We get to follow an Okabe who wears a dark suit, not a lab coat, depicting how his mental state is. Here, we get to see how he, a once delusional man, is now a normal college student. But, when “Amadeus” (AI Kurisu) was introduced to him, the peace that Okabe was longing started to get disrupted. Basically, everything up to the last episode, was related to “Amadeus” keeping the plot synopsis in tact and the characters as well. What I like about the story is the originality of the plot rather than copy-pasting from the original anime. Scenes that were anime-original that cannot be found in the VN were some instance, were there as well. Another thing was that the story keeps becoming dark and dark and as it goes darker, the characters are developing as well making the thrill of the story fitting to the characters not only Okabe but the others as well.
What makes a great anime is a ton of great and well-developed characters and the Steins;Gate franchise always impresses us, including Steins;Gate 0 with their characters. Take our favorite mad-scientist for example “Hououin Kyouma”. We were so attached to him on the original Steins;Gate that seeing him being so broken and fragile on Steins;Gate 0 makes me (and I bet the fans as well), hoping the great mad-scientist will return someday. But even tho he was so broken and fragile, due to the story’s progression, his character development progressed each episode as well. Then we have Shiina Mayuri, who shockingly have the best character development of all. She did something so courageous that is out of her character and made us fans say “Great Job Mayuri.”. Of course we will not forget Hashida Daru. The perverted otaku and hacker who for some instance a dad, a caring friend and a scientist. If you finished this anime, you know why Daru really improved alot on this series not only on a romantic way but with Okabe as well. Then we have Makise Kurisu (Amadeus a.k.a AI Kurisu), again like Mayuri, Courage made her a great character in an instance even though she is just a computer version of the actual Kurisu. Or should I say, she is just a fake. Not to mention the “trap” Ruka to have some character development even tho her screentime is not that much. Along with Ruka (who is a supporting characters) are of course Mr Braun and Moeka. If you watched the original Steins Gate you would have known they are the villains (SERN’s employees or like that) but it is a good fact that this two are allies of Okabe on this Beta World Line, so expect some revelations of villains ahead.
Then we are introduced with some new characters like Professor Leskinen and Hiyajou, Maho. Maho, who is a colleague of Kurisu back in America shows lots of character traits but one of them was jealousy. Then this trait was shattered as episode goes on and on and we see her having more confidence to herself. Then there’s Professor Leskinen who just wants her japanese shaman girls Lintahlo!!!..
There’s nothing to say about to visuals/art design of Steins;Gate 0 as it stays just what it was back in the 2011 adaptation of Steins;Gate, and of course I’m glad it stayed that way. However, if look at it, there are more action scenes on Steins;Gate 0 compared to Steins;Gate. If your an action fan you will be disappointed as the actions are pretty whacky and not so good. But since we all know Steins;Gate is more focus on the Sci-Fi and thriller stuffs, we can let it all slip. The visuals of the opening and endings are phenominal and matches the current state of the characters on the story. Not to mention, the Endings as well. But out of all those, the first ending which is entitled “LAST GAME” grabbed my attention both visually and musically. Its inferences and basis of Okabe and Mayuri to the first half of the story are all in that ED. Overall, the visuals are great.
A good anime comes with good openings, endings and background music and oh boy….. Zero really made my ears feel the nostalgia back when I watched Steins;Gate and play the VNs. Aside from the openings and endings being good, the background music as I hear them some felt like I heard them before. Even tho they are reusing those background music, it doesn’t affect the story and scene at all. It actually makes the scene more powerful and eye-catching with your ears hearing those nostalgic beats.
Overall thoughts and Enjoyment:
In conclusion, if you are a diehard steins gate fan you wil love this 23 episodes ride of Steins;Gate 0. It actually felt like I watched a whole another anime which should be because if I felt that I just rewatched Steins;Gate, then Zero would have lacked uniqueness with its plot and characters. But thank god I didn’t felt that and I enjoyed it at the same level of the original Steins;Gate. Even tho it is more dark, it should be and will always be a good anime to watch if you feel like Steins;Gate was not enough. If you haven’t watched Steins;Gate, do it now and then watch this. I assure you. You will not regret it. El..Psy..Congroo..
2: Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen
English: Gintama.: Silver Soul Arc
Japanese: 銀魂. 銀ノ魂篇
MAL Score: 8.82
After the fierce battle on Rakuyou, the untold past and true goal of the immortal Naraku leader, Utsuro, are finally revealed. By corrupting the Altana reserves of several planets, Utsuro has successfully triggered the intervention of the Tendoshuu’s greatest enemy: the Altana Liberation Army. With Earth as the main battleground in this interplanetary war, Utsuro’s master plan to destroy the planet—and himself—is nearly complete.
An attack on the O-Edo Central Terminal marks the beginning of the final battle to take back the land of the samurai. With the Yorozuya nowhere in sight, the bakufu all but collapsed, and the Shogun missing, the people are left completely helpless as the Liberation Army begins pillaging Edo in the name of freeing them from the Tendoshuu’s rule.
Caught in the crossfire between two equally imposing forces, can Gintoki, Kagura, Shinpachi, and the former students of Shouyou Yoshida put aside their differences and unite their allies to protect what they hold dear?
Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen adapts the first part of the Silver Soul arc, the end game of Gintama. So if you haven’t watched anything related to Gintama yet, this season will not be for you.
Silver Soul continues the story after the Rakuyou’s Decisive Battle Arc (Gintama.).
All the build-up done in the past it’s now coming to it’s climax, we see a lot of early plot elements and characters come back, and becoming relevant once again.
This arc has a lot of action, sad and fun moments blended together without altering the pacing or the story itself. It’s great.
The art has been mostly consisent, but there are some still frames that doesn’t look so good. Nevertheless, the backgrounds and characters design look good.
The animation is good, but not amazing. It’s understandable though, since this arc is realy action-heavy.
There are some new tracks, but it mostly uses the good ol’ soundtrack from past seasons, which is good.
The opening ‘Katte ni MY SOUL’ and ending ‘Hana Ichi Monme’ are catchy, and blend well with the current mood of the series.
Remember how I said the build-up was coming to it’s climax in regard of the story?
The characters are the best thing in the series, in Silver Soul, this is no exception. This arc features a lot of characters from past arcs and it’s done in a really well and realistic way.
All characters have their moment to shine, and this is incredibile rewarding for everyone that watched the series since the very beginning.
Silver Soul continues using the formula of past seasons. There are new gags, while some older ones return.
While sometimes the comedy may be a little “too japanized”, it’s still understandable.
This is arc is the most ‘Gintamesque’ arc of the series, and while it’s not finished yet, the first part of Silver Soul is amazing for every fan that has watched the past seasons, and this is why I love it so damn much. I feel rewarded for watching the series since the beginning.
Thanks for reading my review!
Silver Soul is Gintama arc. The representation that what Gintama is. This seasons shows your goal since the first episode: The blend of comedy and action that represents Gintama. And this is the strong point of this season!
This arc follow Utsuro plot, adding some facts extras that make a more complex development of the events of the war. Enshou wants to destroy the earth because your fury. Utsuro want to destroy he and all, because he is sick of living, but at the same time is sick of human existence. And our protagonists want protect what they love, those they love and the place they love.
Better than last two seasons, this seasons animation has some problems, but this doesn’t change the fact that most of the time the animation is good. The art is more consistent and fights was very good.
Nothing to complain about. This season has the same OST of past seasons. Great.
Several old characters return in this season, this fact creates a nostalgic feeling. Many characters has a great development, as Hata, Elizabeth, Gintoki, Tama, Kintoki, Nobume and mainly NobuNobu, that is becoming increasingly a better character.
Exciting, funny, epic. Simply great!
Gintama is my favorite show. This anime always shows that because is loved for several. Was a very funny season with great characters, good action and story. I hope the same in the Part 2.
Since the end of Gintama: Enchousen, every season of Gintama that has been released has had less quality than the previous one; reaching a point where It has lost its former essence and gets painful to keep watching.
The reasons of why this season is the worst and kills the anime, are these:
1 – Almost all the characters that have appeared in the series (even side characters from 2 or 4 episodes of 350) make cameos and participate in the action, and everyone says a motivational speech a couple of times while fighting. It happened the same in the arc of Shogun’s death, every character gives a speech with sentimental background music; it ruins the mood and gets annoying.
2 – Everyone is overpowerd for the sake of plot twists.
3 – There are a lot of flashbacks, some last half an episode.
4 – Gintoki lost his personality somewhere in the series, and now he is just a guy who yells at people, vomits at people, and tramples hordes of enemies.
He was a young adult with financial problems, drinking problems, gambling problems, diabetes, who cared more for sugar or taking a nap than getting involved with women. Now he has become someone who goes around doing barely nothing.
In my opinion Gintama should have stayed as a full comedy series with ocasional half comedy half serious arcs, and have an open ending; this is just a bad shonen.
In conclusion, I give this series a 6; but I recommend you to watch this. Why?, because you are going to watch it anyway; and is a good way of learning how to kill a good show.
1: Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen – Kouhan-sen
English: Gintama.: Silver Soul Arc – Second Half War
Japanese: 銀魂. 銀ノ魂篇 後半戦
MAL Score: 8.88
Second Season of the final arc of Gintama.
Other factors: 9/10
Many Gintama watchers may notice something from the beginning of the story, something many end up disliking. That is the fact that “Gintama has no plot”. The thing is that it doesn’t…. But it does…. But doesn’t. Without spoiling anything, Gintama is a mostly comedic series, only driven by the characters’ actions and development. People will often refer to that as the story itself, which I disagree with. The plot is actually existent within the series, but we can say it happens “off screen”, since the main cast is often not involved with it. The author does however throw out certain plot points and foreshadowing here and there, which later turn into an actual plot. Fans will often refer to the series’ “serious arcs” as the plot, which is valid, since they do tie in with the plot itself. But shortly said: Even though Gintama has almost no plot, watchers still stay for the rest of the content, until the plot actually begins at (surprise, surprise) not episode 1. They way Gintama does it, is brilliant, since even though the plot is to be looked forward to, there is so much else before it that is both appealing and worth watching. Something the plot alone will never justify.
The characters of this series are clearly the strongest points of the series’ quality. Not because the rest is bad (look at my rating), but because they are just so well established. I’ve heard many fans state that “Gintama’s cast will be the most lovable cast of characters you will experience”, and even though many may argue with that, I agree with the statement, since it does make a point. Gintama has a huge cast, with maybe 20+ cast members that you will often see throughout the series, including the three protagonists: Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura. Aside from them, you will experience that almost all of the characters will get their own depth and quality, which make them unique and memorable characters. Almost everyone has their own quirks and problems, as well as backstories, experiences and later development. You will often watch them as you laugh at them and with them, as well as cry with them. Each one of them is lovable in their own way, not because you are guaranteed to relate to them, but because how much the author respects and loves them to write them the way they are. I could sit here and ramble on how deep and lovable the main character Gintoki is for instance, and how much his past experiences and present connect to each other to make a good character, but nothing I say any more, can do the characters’ quality justice. If you feel like you don’t like even one of the characters, then I do not know how to defend myself.
This is finally something to complain a little about. The animation in this series has never been particularly good, nor has it ever been horrible. A very episodic series like this has no need for extraordinary or consistently stunning animation like the Fate-series or Violet Evergarden. In comedic and “calm” episodes, the animation is not the main point, since it is the comedy and the short-term storytelling that matters. You can say that intense scenes like battles, duels or chases require good animation for better experience, and that is exactly what Gintama has. Whenever a fight or an intense scene occurs, the animation will always step up (a lot) to make the scene great, but you cannot expect all of the 350+ episodes to have animation like that. Why I did not give the animation higher than 8/10, is because it would be to generous, but I do not complain too much either, since I do not require better animation than I need. If this is a problem to you, I will excuse myself, since this paragraph may have been useless in that case.
I will try to make my points shorter here, so that the paragraph won’t be super long. MUSIC is an important part in a story, but for Gintama, it is not exceptionally good (but not bad at all). The “beautiful” soundtracks do not match with for instance Naruto’s, and the motivational/intense tracks do not match with One Piece’s. However, what Gintama does great, is creating few tracks that are associated with a certain scene or a character. There are a few songs you will hear maybe 2-3 times in the whole series, which you will associate with one powerful scene, which will make a good experience.
THE COLLECTION OF GENRES, is also an important factor that makes Gintama, in my opinion fantastic. It is mostly known for being a comedy series (which it excels in of course), but there is much more to it. You will see many other genres or elements from other genres all the time, since it can go from lung-paining comedy, to touching and calm Slice of Life, to (sometimes) deep and emotional romance, bombastic and exciting action and, not least: Tear jerking and painful drama. All these genres get switched between all the time, and it is made in a way that is not absolutely messy or not understandable, but instead very structured and well-made. That is something many pieces of fiction have a hard time with.
Since Gintama is very episodic, we are bound to enjoy some arcs and episodes more than others. Even though there has never been an episode or arc that I really hated, some episodes end up being a little weaker in both quality and enjoyment. Another complaint is that since the cast is so large, some characters will be a little less developed and more flat. And as said before, as there are characters you will most likely relate to, there are some you will not care about so much, and that is difficult to avoid. But these complaints compared to the rest of the praise do not push the series to a 9/10 for me at all, so the series is still pretty much perfect in my eyes (sorry for being a little biased there).
If you want to start/continue with Gintama, there are things you must remember. This series requires patience, so do not expect it to become a masterpiece right away, but please know that as you go on, you will be rewarded with better and better stuff along the journey. When you finally reach the end, you may think “This series was long, but it was absolutely worth the time”. But to be more straight forward, think of it like this:
The first serious/plot heavy arc (around 5 eps long) arrives somewhere between episode 50 and 60, where many watchers learn what Gintama can be and WILL be except just comedy. But if you still hate the show after episode 87, then I do not know how to defend myself lol. You will se more arcs like these of course, especially in the last 50 episodes. One more thing: since most of the comedy is based around parodies and references from other anime, it will be better if the watcher has some experience with anime and manga beforehand. Having watched between 5 and 10 animes is enough, I feel, so the comedy will become better. If this review helped, I greatly recommend this series, as it is the best anime (in quality) I have ever seen. I wish you a happy journey, and I hope you will enjoy this greatness of a series.
Let’s start with the comedy because that’s the main reason Gintama is so horrible. Gintama is often called “a comedy series without any comedy”, and that’s very accurate. The “comedy” in Gintama consists of colorful bunch of jokes… at least if our color vision is limited to two as practically every joke is either a) a penis joke or b) IT’S a PRank BrO. Be it a gorilla mistaking someone’s dick for a banana or 7 feet long sword ending up inside someone’s anal cavity, Gintama has it all. But don’t worry. It’s all made with self-awareness and 4th wall breaking so it’s very funneh even after 700 chapters and 360 episodes. The parody side is really either a) an excuse to write something absolutely terrible and then claim it was made as a joke, or b) references that are so inaccurate and irrelevant that they could be used in E3’s pressconference. The banter on the other hand is almost as hideous as seen in the movie Deadpool 2, but thank God not as meta. The comedy is so bad and badly timed that even during the more serious and decent moments, it comes there and completely ruins everything the series accomplishes by inserting some dude there who farts or does something equally lame.
The characters are something that could be decent — to be frank, if the characters were a separate entity, they could all be said to be of respectable quality — but the author practically never uses their personalities for their benefit. Almost every single reaction they show is ridiculously, even absurdly overreacted because the author doesn’t trust that his characters’ personalities alone could carry the content and the jokes he presents. The work is filled with moments where characters just yell some nonsense to each others because apparently, acting like overdramatic clowns is much better than actually creating comedy based to their characteristics. The sentence “it’s so damn anime” is pretty much the perfect way to describe how Gintama’s cast works. The only character who gets dealt with the respect they deserve, is Zura, and that’s not enough.
The art is very clever. At least if we consider edgy 10 year old kids who are vandalizing the town by drawing pictures of genitals on every damn thing they see, clever. When it comes to Gintama, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone put so much effort into making every goddamn background object resemble the shape of a penis. Perhaps my favorite part of the art is how often it focuses on puking and blood and assholes and dicks, yet every time these are censored and pixelated so its readers/viewers won’t form a trauma because let’s face it, most of them are also like 10 years old. It’s beyond me how the main content is penis, farts and in generally, dirty jokes, yet they are presented pseudo and aimed for little kids. At least series like South Park went all out with their content and remained loyal to the idea to the very end. Gintama is just censorship aimed for people whose sense of humor was formed in elementary school toilets but never developed it more mature and over the top direction. Gintama is like a person who ages, but never grows up or matures.
As a conclusion: I laughed something like ~50 times during the entire run. Gintama is not a good series. It’s characters are pretty much always used as comedy elements, the jokes get old in 50 episodes (starting from 80 because the first 80 don’t even have any jokes), the writing is often ruined by stupid “gags” to a point that the good things become less good. Every cringe and downright awful piece of writing is justified by it being a parody. “So you’re denying all the good things the show accomplished.” Not really, I am just saying that even the worst of things have good sides in them and just like that, I won’t be praising Gintama for its achievements.
When someone who doesn’t know Gintama asks me to tell the synopsis, I can’t explain it. I’m sure you can’t either.
But on the other hand I can describe my different states: one second I start laughing and crying, the next I cling to my chair, the next I hold my breath, the next second I scream, the next I applaud, the next I want to cry so much because the emotion is so intense. In short, Gintama is a manga that does not leave anyone indifferent.
If Gintama has not lost her sense of humour, this season is barely letting us breathe. When you think Gintama can’t do better, a new twist appears!
The arc where everything makes sense!
Let’s talk about this new arc. For me, it is the arc where everything makes sense. In 15 years, Hideaki Sorachi has introduced us to characters who are all more atypical and marginal than each other. This arc is an opportunity to see all of them again: the ones we love and the others we love a little less and where we always wondered what they could bring to the story (Prince Hata for example).
A new approach to the main character.
In a typical shōnen, we are used to the character being the one who fights the most fearsome antagonist of each arc. And yet! Gintoki may be charismatic and badass, but he will not solve every situation on his own. This arc is a good example of this as he faces the strongest antagonist of Gintama. EVERY character has a role to play and it is together with their strengths and weaknesses that they will succeed in overcoming the challenges. Friendship, common purpose, teamwork are the key words of this season.
Verdict after 15 years:
Gintama has proven over and over again that it belongs among the greatest mangas shōnen. The mangaka masters the art of intensity with sometimes short, very short arcs (less than 10 episodes). So I was afraid when I saw the manga lasted so many years (700 chapters) and embarked on much longer arches. Well, I have to say, I’m speechless. So many plot twists and all of this without pretension with a dose of humour that makes Gintama a unique shōnen.
Bonus: an opening 21 full of emotion…
I invite you to look at it.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen – Kouhan-sen
2. Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen
3. Steins;Gate 0
4. Hinamatsuri (TV)
5. Megalo Box
6. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou
7. Darling in the FranXX
8. Planet With
10. Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online