They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Usakame, Berserk, Takamiya Nasuno Desu!: Teekyuu Spin-off, and more!
MAL Score: 5.79
The girls of the Usakame High tennis club, Tanaka Kinako, Suzuki Ayako, Sato Kurumi, and Nishiarai-Taishi Nishi, pursue their various dreams… This high school comedy kind of thing starts now. Usakame, the official rival of the high intensity comedy Teekyuu, depicts the mostly ordinary but slightly strange daily lives of four girls who devote themselves to practice. All members of Earth Star Dream, an Earth Star Entertainment idol unit of nationally famous voice actors, appear in the show! Sit back, relax, and enjoy Teekyuu’s rival Usakame.
For the uninitiated, Usakame, like its sister series, is a short 3 minute anime centering around the straight man and her 3 other foils. However, decidedly different is how the two anime handle its pacing. Take a look at Teekyuu, it’s fast and ruthless. Each second each moment the anime is on, the series spares absolutely no expense in having wasted. Jokes and gags get thrown at a ludicrous pace, and if it doesn’t work, it moves on to the next scene. This rushed pace is what drew me into the series and is where Teekyuu draws its primary strength from. Neither the characters nor the jokes are particularly good or anything, but the frantic pacing and unorthodox direction makes it something really special.
Now contrast that with Usakame. Despite having an additional minute, for whatever reason the pacing of the anime is decidedly slow. This works against the show’s favor for good reason. Scenes get unnecessarily drawn out, jokes drag on and on, and by the end of the episode, nothing really happened. The slow pacing is the biggest flaw to Usakame, it can’t decide whether it wants to be a 20 minute anime or a 3 minute short. Just watching it is tiring.
And that’s all I can say. It’s tiring.
Story 8/10: It’s average. It’s not as random as Teekyuu, but it still works, and I get laughs out of it now and then :3
Art 9/10: Great art! The way something’s are drawn is similar to Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Just connecting the art styles… not the anime in anyway.) I like this type of art style because it has texture, and it looks like well drawn storybook in a way.
Sound 9/10: This is the only spot I may have a complaint for. The ost, opening, were fine, but the ending didn’t hit me right. The huge saw wave synth you get as soon as you hear the end is nice, but it feels too overpowering for this series in my opinion. If it was slightly different, or tuned down a bit, I might like it 100%. Regardless, I like all the music, and that’s the only thing that turned me off.
Characters 9/10: Characters are just as good as Teekyuu. In a way, they seem more refined. I especially love Kurumi <3 Enjoyment 10/10: I love this short anime series. Made my Tuesdays (the day each episode airs) way better. I got laughs, and nice feelings out of this anime even though it's only 4 minutes XD Overall 9/10: This is a gem just like the rest of the Teekyuu series. For the rating this anime has at the time of writing this review (5.90), I think this is a very underated series. I would recommend any friend to watch it wholeheartedly. [/collapse] [collapse title=“Reviews3:”]Reviews saying this show is Teekyu played at 50% speed are pretty much correct: the premise, the formula and even the characters are rather similar. It follows the four girls from a rival tennis club of Usakame High School, that had a few appearances in Teekyu. Ayako Suzuki, the central character, plays the same role as Yuri, being the voice of reason in the group and actually being interested in the sport itself, while other girls are mostly goofing around (or participating in the club activities just to be near Ayako - there's a subtle yuri subtext to the main story-arc). The humour is of similar brand as in Teekyu, quite random and abstract, but its definitely slower (that's possible thanks to the 4 min episodes) and toned down (also when it goes to adult themes, which are almost absent here) - whether that's a negative is very much a matter of taste. I actually found this show very relaxing and much easier to follow, not as funny as the main series, but very much enjoyable in its own right. I also have to say that I liked the music (especially the opening song) and the art-style quite a lot. The animation is simplistic, but with its minimalistic style and pastel colours it feels like a sketchbook brought to life - a very nice artistic effect in my opinion. The voice acting sometimes falls flat, due to the cast not being professional seiyuu's (the show is pretty much a giant advert for Earth Star's idol unit and the girls from it voice the characters), but for the most part, it works fine. In summary, I was actually surprised by how enjoyable this show was, considering the below-mediocre reviews it gathers - it was different from Teekyu, but in a cute and mostly positive way. It's not even close as wacky and doesn't have many "laugh out loud" moments, but if you can get past that, you'll find a very nice and feel-good little series, definitely worth that hour of watching the whole 12-episode season takes to finish. [/collapse]
MAL Score: 6.32
Now branded for death and destined to be hunted by demons until the day he dies, Guts embarks on a journey to defy such a gruesome fate, as waves of beasts relentlessly pursue him. Steeling his resolve, he takes up the monstrous blade Dragonslayer and vows to exact vengeance on the one responsible, hunting down the very man he once looked up to and considered a friend.
Along the way, he encounters some unlikely allies, such as a small elf named Puck, and Isidro, a young thief looking to learn swordsmanship from the former mercenary. As the ragtag group slowly comes together after having decided to join Guts in his quest, they will face incredible danger unlike anything they have ever experienced before.
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]The Internet Hate Train has arrived. ALL ABOARD! WOO WOO!!!!
I put off watching this series for a while because all I had heard was extremely negative! Then my inner contrarian was awakened and I reasoned that the internet anime community also hates a lot of series that I love. Maybe this series isn’t so bad? WRONG! I swear this series was produced by the Rapehorse himself!
The internet anime community only has a couple “sacred cows” where you will get flamed to a crisp if you dare say a negative word about them. One is Legend of the Galactic Heroes and the other is the Berserk manga. Many corners of the internet regard it above Watchmen as the greatest graphic novel of all time. 4chan loves Berserk so much that even badmouthing the manga on /pol/ would make people go “WOAH…too far dude! Freedom of speech has limits!” Yet despite the slavish devotion Berserk has online, Japanese producers have always been skeptical and thus rather tight with their money. The original Berserk anime had recycled animation and non-animated splash pages to a degree that was occasionally comical. The soundtrack replayed the same songs over and over. Cool portions of the manga had to be cut out. Yet it was still regarded as a classic and rightfully so. Berserk 2016 on the other hand is outright, indefensible GARBAGE!
Plot and characters:
Berserk 2016 already had a difficult task because the Black Swordsman Arc is… honestly the worst point in the entire manga. It has glimmers of brilliance, but is weighed down by Miura trying to be so dark and edgy it becomes unintentionally hilarious. Examples of this include the infamous rapehorse and a nun warrior burning innocent people alive while fingerblasting herself. The dialogue includes such over the top classics as “Miracles make me wanna PUKE!” Caska comes down with classic soap opera amnesia. Adapting this portion of the manga was always going to be hard, but Berserk 2016 flat out eviscerates Miura’s work.
Remember the creepy yet emotionally powerful Rosina Arc that helps introduce us to the new Post-Eclipse Guts? Gone. They cut out the whole thing and gave us some schmuck apostle with no backstory that we have ZERO reason to care about. Remember how morally disgusting Farnese was at first and how big a deal it was that she gradually became good and turned face? The anime version of Farnese blushes at the site of blood and has never killed anyone. Her sadism is implied briefly, but NOTHING like how she was in the manga. The best portion of the entire Black Swordsmen Arc is Miura’s impressive ability to actually get the reader to forgive Farnese and want to root for her. The anime fucking ruined it! Characters are watered down, crucial backstory is cut out, and important arcs are entirely skipped. Most baffling of all is that the gore is cut way down from the movies and even the nipples are censored, let alone privates. This is fucking BERSERK! You can cut down some of the pointless squick nudity like the bathhouse chapters with Farnese and Caska. I would actually thank the anime for sparing us the cringe of Schierke’s loli ass shots. However, you can’t simply cut all blood and nudity of Berserk. It is too iconic and integral to the gritty feel of the story. It is true using too much blood and nudity can lead to backlash and unintentional comedy. Look no farther than the internet’s favorite punching bag Elfen Lied. However, going the opposite direction and making a PG-13 Berserk actually robs Berserk of the shock and awe edge that helped Berserk stand out and win over casual fans in the first place.
HOLY SHIT is the art awful in this series! It uses cell shading CG like Valkyria Chronicles on the early PS3 only the character art is shit and the animation is about 5 frames per second. This means the characters move clunky and unnatural like this was filmed in fucking stop motion. When the skeletons attack it looks exactly like a scene from “Jason and the Argonauts” or “Army of Darkness”. The art in the 2nd and 3rd movies greatly improved from the 1st movie, but the series looks WAY worse than the 1st movie! This art is so bad it simply has to be seen to be believed!
Remember how the original Berserk had “Forces” and “Behelit” and other memorable tracks? This soundtrack has none of that! Not to mention the voice actors are almost all amateurs because the producer clearly doesn’t give a shit about this project. The worst of all though is the fucking STUPID sound that occurs every time Guts swings his sword. They go with this metallic BOOONG sound that viewers have described as an empty oil drum being hit with a hammer. This same sound happens no matter what Guts hits with the sword and turns what should be serious scenes into comedy gold. They basically turned Guts into El Kabong! Berserk shouldn’t be making me think of Hanna Barbara cartoons from the 1950s!
1 episode of Berserk 2016: This is SHIT, maybe it will get better?
2 episodes of Berserk 2016: I think I’m beginning to lose my sanity!
3 episodes of Berserk 2016: I hear it’s amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!
4 episodes of Berserk 2016: DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!
This adaptation focuses on Guts trying to locate and eventually rescue Casca who has very much turned into an invalid after the traumatic events of the Eclipse. This is mainly due to the negligence of Rickert who as a former Band of the Hawk member was concerned with the mental state of Caska who was under his protection the whole time. This responsibility is ultimately Guts’ one in the end but would make his main objective seemingly more difficult. Learning about the details of Caska’s movements, Guts along with a new companion named Isidro who is obsessed with him and aspires to emulate his heroics find themselves in the desolate refugee camp called Albion. This is where the tower of ‘Conviction’ run by the Holy Iron Chain Knights is located and where the main events takes place.
Apparently the damage was already done when the fans of Berserk realised that the first few episodes did not cater to their expectations. Let’s be real here, anyone here knowing Berserk’s relationship with CG animation should have had the mindset of wanting an average/decent adaptation, only to get a big f*ck you when butchering the source material. If you are reading this then you are a brave soul indeed after experiencing this abomination that may have scarred you permanently. The verdict of most fans by now will probably be dismissing the show and refusing to acknowledge its existence.
The series barely manages to retain the authenticity of the manga with it being a decent portrayal of a dark fantasy series. It still possesses that gritty, inhumane atmosphere that is commonly associated with Berserk. It could even pass off as a post-apocalyptic setting due to the state of events within Albion where poverty and desperation is strife due to an outbreak of the plague in certain cities in the Midlands leading to an influx of refugees seeking help. Religion is the main theme for this arc as it is seen as the way forward when experiencing hard times – basically the only means of salvation for these commoners who would do anything to survive. This is evident in the numerous amounts of individuals being put to death after being accused of being heretics hence is linked to the tower of ‘Conviction’, where all sorts of horrific torture and other forms of extreme brutality taking place in the name of religion.
The hate for the animation techniques used in this anime is probably the single reason why many dropped the show. I abhor the use of 3D and 2D animation ever mixing and to me are like oil and water when done in a mediocre fashion. The ratio between the two is the most disturbing factor personally, as I’m actually impressed by the hand drawn animations which are sparse and are used occasionally as a means of conveying certain facial expressions such as Guts purely concentrating for the kill. This is short lived though as we are expected to put up with the unsightly 3D which infuriates me.
3D models of the characters make up the majority of the animation but are heavily altered with shadings being applied to everyone and the rest of the designs being drawn over by the animators. If there is a positive from this show (though not many) the character designs are consistent but is not always the case as there are times when normal animation is used randomly in certain scenes such as the girls from Luca’s group.
The more episodes you watch, you gradually become more accustomed to the CG which would be case for those who managed to stay on. There is no smooth movement from the animation as it can look jerky at times mainly through different shot compositions such as close ups and its use in the background. The last thing that needs mentioning was the opening had good animation but that is just pure deception compared to what actually takes place.
The sound is one aspect that probably goes unscathed in my review as the voice actors did a reasonable job at performing their characters. Characters such as Farnese and Mozgus sound just like I had imagined them when reading the manga which was unexpected. The soundtrack is a slight disappointment as it can’t compare to the greatness of Susumu Hirasawa’s one for the original series. This series just has one theme that I find worthwhile whereas the other has plenty to offer in comparison despite it being half an hour long. The background sound use is adequately used in most cases except for Guts and his use of his broadsword which can come off as being similar to striking a metal bannister when obliterating his enemies.
I was very much hyped about Berserk getting an adaptation because everyone hates cliffhangers after the 1997 Berserk finale. I wouldn’t even call this a direct sequel as it assumes you have prior knowledge of the manga when watching and for an anime-only would be difficult to follow. This show is not worth your time and so like they say, avoid it like the plague.
Let’s start with the main problem, the animation. It is bad! When I though I got used to it after the first episodes but another punch in the face came. Silly censorship incarnated into characters with no genitals. The animation is a mix of CG and drawn one. The CG parts are really strange. However it’s not like a total fail. Some parts were beautiful. Some were sadly, hilarious. So I can’t agree with statements like “The whole animation is terrible!”. More like “Some parts are funny. (When they are not supposed to be funny.)”
Enough of that. If you forget the animation, then this anime is pretty good. Exactly what I expected and wanted to see as a sequel to the original series. The dark and raw atmosphere is still there, even darker. Guts is as badass as always and you even see some old characters not only in flashbacks.
There are also new characters that are really well made with a focus on their inner feelings. They are just humans after all and they act like that. There are some inner conflicts and deep thoughts. Also some epic quotes that we “anime only watchers” were waiting for!
The sound effects are very specific, especially Guts and his sword slashes will leave a trace in your memory. The music is a treasure. Really an amazing OST. (Susumu and his Hai Yo really reminded me the previous anime adaptations.)
So I have really enjoyed this show despite the bad expectations I had after watching the trailer. I was really wondering if I should watch or drop it. Glad I stayed. You know it was also announced that the season 2 is coming next year. Give it a shot, survive the animation torture and you’ll never regret it!
11: Takamiya Nasuno Desu!: Teekyuu Spin-off
Japanese: 高宮なすのです！ てーきゅうスピンオフ
MAL Score: 6.43
A spin-off from Teekyuu which centers on the daily life of Nasuno Takamiya, the “exceedingly airheaded” school tennis club member in Teekyuu, and her friends.
I start finding things out about the TQ series and it’s spin-offs; being done in a minimalized fashion with a small staff yet resulting in episodes that only go for around 2 minutes. (I’m thinking about how SHAFT does it but they don’t like doing things “normally.” So yeah.)
The shows are obvious:
TQ4 continues to be random, random, and random; tennis is maybe mentioned in one episode but this show’s not about tennis anymore. It’s mainly about Yuri, Kanae, Nasuno, and Marimo being themselves and comically playing off of each other.
Nasuno’s spin-off is mainly about Youta, Yuri’s little brother, becoming Nasuno’s butler and (because of the difficulty of her “magical airhead” personality) “automatic retort machine” (like his big sister).
Both of these shows are fun because of the “good” randomness (as oppose to the evil randomness that treats characters horribly because of their gender or what country they come from).
And IMMHO: Those episodes where Nasuno was kidnapped and where Youta was playing soccer against a zebra should’ve switched with each other.
Quite why it flops as a spin-off, however, is perhaps more difficult to explain, because it doesn’t really do much different from it’s parent show. The comedy is still abstract, random & delivered at a million miles a minute. Takamiya is still Takamiya, only now she has centre stage like every rich girl wants. The art & animation hasn’t changed, indeed almost nothing has changed. So what’s up?
Well that’s part of the problem. TND to all intents & purposes is Teekyu with three of the four main characters missing. It doesn’t try anything different or do anything new with what one might consider this new found freedom, which begs the question: what was the point? Spin-offs that work: Frasier (Cheers), Daria (Beavis & Butthead), The Cleveland Show (Family Guy), often take an ensemble character & give them the starring role in a show that is noticeably different from the one they started in. TND instead just goes through the same motions as Teekyu with less characters to contribute to the wackiness, resulting in an experience that is too similar not to be compared to its parent show & found lacking.
That’s the thing with spin-offs. Done right, they can take a relatively minor & one dimensional character who worked as part of an ensemble & flesh them out in ways that the original show couldn’t allow for, as well as explore themes & adopt a tone that would otherwise feel out of place. The only “new” thing TND brings with it is giving Youta, Yuri from Teekyu’s younger brother, the role of foil to Takamiya’s foolishness. He fits in about as well as a square peg in a round hole, a more conventional & boring anime foil than his sister who suffers for being shoehorned into the show to begin with (he’s her butler for :reasons:), only to be pushed out of the way of Takamiya’s shenanigans in a way that Yuri isn’t in Teekyu.
The absence of the other characters in Teekyu’s ensemble is notable from the outset. Instead of having different shades of absurdity coming from three different nutjobs, each episode consists almost entirely of rich girl stupidity from one character. As can be the case in spin-offs, taking a character whose quirks worked as part of an ensemble & giving them centre stage in what is otherwise the same show just gets wearing. Ten minutes of Joey in an episode of Friends was fine. Forty minutes of Joey on his own was not. The same is true here. Takimiya works as part of Teekyu’s ensemble but on her own her shtick is dulled by repetition. Indeed, it’s only when the other Teekyu characters show up in the last couple of episodes that it gets some of that spark back, which just further shows how redundant this spinoff is.
¨WTF did I just watch? What happened?¨
And I still wonder from where did the main characters know each other.
But overall the story was good, even tho I started pitying Youta more after every episode.
The art was funny and playful. There were some weird things in the anime too which I couldn’t identify but that makes it more interesting.
The voice actors did a good job with expressing this anime. The actors’ voices were so fitting for the characters, I was surprised (in a good way). And because the episodes were so short, they had to make the voices more powerful and the sentences short but meaningful. I actually enjoyed watching this very much because of the voices of the actors.
The characters were different, in a fun way. The Takamiya family was reeeally rich but none of them were snobs or anything. But they did buy some useless things tho along the way. They said some unexpected things all the time but those things just brought more enjoyment to this anime ><. I really enjoyed this anime for the fun story, good voice actors, awesome characters and the overall feels. And I really don't get why this got an average of 6.something, I personally really enjoyed this \(^~^)/ [/collapse]
10: Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou
English: Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter
Japanese: Wake Up, Girls！新章
MAL Score: 6.53
“Wake Up, Girls!” is the story of growth and friendship of seven girls living in Sendai, Miyagi who form the idol group “Wake Up, Girls! (WUG)” and work together to become top idols.
Operating under a small production company in Sendai known as “Green Leaves Entertainment,” WUG overcame countless obstacles to beat national idol group “I-1 club” at the Idol Festival and win the event. They had suddenly become top idols… but with an idol recession going on, things weren’t so easy. The days of steady and honest idol work continued for the girls.
Meanwhile, Sendai-based middle school trio Hayashi Ayumi, Morishima Otome, and Atsugi Itsuka have developed an increasing desire to become idols…
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]Wake up girls is a series that was really low on my “to watch” list, and I think this is true for most people. As someone who loves to binge watch everything, I was waiting until the entire franchise finished, and I binge watched it.
My Overall Thought:
Some cool characters, ok story, good music, bad animation.
Just the continuation from the “beyond the bottom” (not going to spoil it). However, we are introduced to a group of three girls that wants to become an idol. Job for the WUGs are steadily increasing, and are ready to put out their first album.
It was neither good or bad. Compared to the previous seasons, it felt lacking, but this is expected. It’s hard to have a good story when you already develop your idol’s story. The addition of the new 3 girls was refreshing, but it was nowhere close to revamp the story. I think this is why many idol anime end in 2 seasons, and WUG was no different. I don’t think you can make another sequel with these characters. To me, this story felt more like the studio saying “we gave up on WUG and want to create a new story in the future, so let us add some new characters for the future franchise”.
If you love watching the artwork (someone like me, especially if you can understand Jpananese and watches anime for the animation), I would not recommend this series. It got worse and worse over time. There were cut scenes that were too long, and I think it had to due with financial problem with WUG production. I think the overall rating would have been 8 if the artwork was better. Last episode was the only redeeming quality (it was really good).
I actually quite like the characters, but the character development is poor. We are introduced to some of I1 idol’s problem (find out who yourself), and that was quite nice. However, I wish there were more to this. Also, alot of the characters disappeared from the previous seasons. For example, I was wondering what happened to bvex?
Idol anime needs good songs. One thing I really liked about the songs in WUG is that all the songs felt like it was WUG (as they include this in the song). However, I felt that the songs were overused too many times, and it felt stale towards the end. I would rather have one new song being played, than have a repeat of 5-6 songs that WUG has already sung. Especially the last song they sang. I don’t understand why the production team though it was a good idea to play the last live song before the actual finale.
It wasn’t terrible. If I had my full attention to this anime, then it would have been a much lower score, but its not a bad anime to zone out of.
I gave it a 6. But, this series did have potential. Nicer artwork, more funding, etc. Especially when there were some cuts that were okay for too long.
But nonetheless, it was a remarkable series in its own right. While more popular idol series like “The Idolm@ster” and “Love Live!” gave an idealized version of life as an idol, WUG always had a grounded approach in regards to how it represented its young idols. Life as a young star was not as glamourous as it seemed. It was a life filled with competition, stress, and bottom lines. Producers were not there to help their girls achieve their dreams. They were, for the most part, there to ensure that their stars were profitable and marketable. WUG’s willingness to show this side of the business stood out to me, which is why I have always been on the lookout for WUG-related media.
So how does the “Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou” (WUGSS) fare?
Not too well.
Firstly, I will admit that I didn’t head into this new season with very high expectations. People who have read my review on the last entry of the series, “Beyond the Bottom,” will note that I had a rather low opinion of the movie. In my opinion, none of the entries that followed the original series were able to capture the feeling that WUG had. And unfortunately, it appears that this series is no different.
I have a fair share of issues with this season, which is why I am not surprised to see that the show has had such low scores on MyAnimeList.
Firstly, I thought it was impossible for the animation for the WUG series to get any worse. As I mentioned before, WUG had a rather poor production values, which I was hoping would be fixed when WUGSS came around. For whatever reason, the new animation team has not only failed to improve the animation quality, but has managed to make the art shoddier than before. One prime example would be the dance and singing sequences which, unsurprisingly, are the crux of any musical idol series.
Rather than utilizing traditional animation for these sequences, we have been given CGI sequences that are ugly as hell. For those of you that have played mobile idol games like “Idolm@ster: Theater Days,” I am about to tell you that your mobile game boasts far better animation than this animation series. I understand that this may seem like I’m exaggerating, but the animation is so damn choppy for the CGI that I was beginning to worry that my monitor was beginning to lag.
When you finally get to the fifth episode (assuming you last that long), you will begin to realize that the animation has devolved to the point that you are literally watching a glorified powerpoint. WUG has taken animation shortcuts before, but never on the scale of WUGSS, which has led me to believe that either the animation team was completely absent that day, or that they somehow ran out of budget and decided to take an Evangelion-esque approach to animation.
If I had to sum up the story, I would say that it is just alright. There are glimpses of the harsh idol industry that was so well-captured in WUG, but those moments are few and far inbetween. Perhaps there’s more to the story, but at the time of this review, I have decided to drop this season at episode 5. I don’t expect the show to get any better in its remaining episodes. I would love to be proven wrong, but as of now, the show is not very good. If anyone reading this review would like to let me know if this show has gotten any better near the end, I would appreciate it if they send me a message sometime. I don’t expect much in any case.
The only real positive thing I have to say would be in regards to the music and voice-acting. As always, the musical talents from the real-life Wake Up, Girls! Have come to bless us again with their catchy and phenomenal tunes. Although not as great as WUG’s opening “7 Girls War,” “7 Senses” is a decent opening song that lives up to its predecessors. It’s a shame that the opening animation is absolutely terrible.
All in all, “Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou” is an example of sequel that fails to improve upon itself. Its poor animation makes the original look like a masterpiece, while its mediocre and forgettable story prevents it from being anything but missed potential.
I can’t even recommend this to the most dedicated of WUG fans.
I’d stick with the real-life Wake Up, Girls! if I were you.
9: Teekyuu 9
English: Teekyu 9
Japanese: てーきゅう 9期
MAL Score: 6.57
Ninth season of the Teekyuu anime series.
Since this is a short series, this is gonna be a short review with mostly short sentences. I liked how Yuri was made the Boke briefly in the Birthday episode. I liked the introduction of the 2 new side characters, Tennouzu Airu and Kiyozumi Shirakawa and how the series didn’t just throw them aside as one-off gags but actually developed them (however briefly). I liked the 100th episode which was essentially a character ranking episode but with the good ol’ Teekyuu twist. I liked how Marimo was the Tsukkomi for 2 episodes. Toma-Tomarin!
Teekyuu 9 excels at what Teekyuu normally excels in, frantic pacing and machinegun jokes. Although, this season’s pacing is noticeably slower than all the other seasons, with one episode even featuring an eyecatch and another episode featuring a beat panel! It’s not as slow as the dreadfully dull Usakame, but it is a bit offputting at times, especially if you’re used to the series’ madness by now. Despite being 30 seconds longer, the extra 30 seconds are dedicated to the frankly mediocre ED (Yes Teekyuu has an ED now and it’s basically idol shilling), but one wonders if the extended length contributed to the slower pacing. Think Yama no Susume when it got extended from 2-minute shorts to full episodes. Also there were some minor continuity errors but this didn’t impact my enjoyment of the show. Still, some jokes do benefit from the series’ new slower pacing, such as the aforementioned beat panel or the ending to the Marimo Tsukkomi episode.
All in all, Teekyuu 9 is a return to form after the quite frankly miserable 6th and 7th Seasons. A bit slower, but still the same Teekyuu goodness. Part of your 5-A-Day!
And as usual, if you’re a fan of the series, you’d have already watched it at least 3 times. But if you’re curious, you could always start here. Or marathon the series from episode 1 if you’re brave enough. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal when your nose starts to bleed at around the 30-minute mark.
Regardless, I still watched the whole thing and it wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t measure up to the earlier seasons.
If you enjoyed the first few seasons, I would still watch this because it’s not entirely disappointing– just not as good.
Have a great day everyone! 🙂
8: Teekyuu 6
English: Teekyu 6
Japanese: てーきゅう 6期
MAL Score: 6.59
Sixth season of the Teekyuu series.
The key to this show is that you have to me present and paying full attention for the entire episode, or the fast pace and the randomness will easily throw you off and confuse you. There were some genius stupid jokes in this one, if it makes any sense, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂
However, you sad emo pieces of trash who’d rather watch shows like Elfen Lied and Serial Experiments Lain most likely think sports anime is crap and is a terrible excuse of an anime. Well do I have news for you guys.
That’s right, I spent 2 entire days marathoning the five season and still ongoing show that is Teekyuu! Get ready for the ride of your lives.
That synopsis doesn’t the anime justice. I can tell you what Teekyuu is about in just one picture:
That’s right, it’s literally nothing. One moment they’ll be going to the beach, the next they’ll be in Cambodia getting sworn at.
And another thing: the entire show is fast af. You think shows lasting 6 minutes is short? Try two freaking minutes and still managing to have an opening sequence. How do they do it? It’s simple, it goes machspeed. If you blink once, you’ll miss a whole joke. Teekyuu is truly a challenge for the experienced of otaku.
Now let’s talk a bit about out four special snowflakes
First off is Yuri Oshimoto, the only girl of the four that has a sense of sanity. Her purpose in the show is to watch over the other 3 like a human seat belt and make sure they don’t end up as strippers on the side of the street. Every slapstick comedy needs a sane person to interject, and that’s what Yuri is: a big giant interjection.
Who here likes pink hair on a cute anime character? I sure do, your grandpappy sure dies
So what happens when you put pink hair on a nittlebopper named Shijou?
One spaztastic demigod on LSD.
Yes, Nasuno is by far the most snazzy Himedere you’ve ever seen. Whether it be traveling by eagle, having the mascot of KFC as a father, or intimidating a baker to sell himself as a slave, Nasuno is most certainly a rich dumb blonde without the blonde. Also, she has a sort of relationship with Yuri’s little brother. Nnnnnnng, I ship it hard.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. That’s right, we’re about to talk about everyone’s favorite character in all of existence. Yes, I introduce you to Mario Brando, I mean Marimo Bandou.
Voiced by seiyuu Goddess Kana Hanazawa-sama, she’s literally the reason half of the people who watched Teekyuu actually watched it. However, what many don’t expect about Marimo is her personality.
You ever watch an anime where a school girl gets confronted by an old, smelly, and hairy old man? That is Marimo. Legit talk, on a scale from 1 to 10 on pervertedness, Marimo is a 69.
There’s seriously nothing good about the music in Teekyuu. I applaud them for somehow managing to include it in their 2 minute time frame, but that’s about it. Other than the season 4 opening, none of the others are worth mentioning.
Now hold onto your seats for this one guys. Strapped in? Ok
You know the frames in Teekyuu? Yes, they’re all done by a single guy. Pretty amazing, right? Considering you watched Shirobako, you can probably comprehend just how much work that really is. Because of that, it isn’t necessarily fair to judge every single frame and compare it to studios like Madhouse or A-1 Steak Sauce. Yeah, he’s that important.
Let’s be honest here guys: most of the time when there’s a review of an anime on AA it’s always positive. Well guess what?
This will be the same ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) the 2 minute length can be a turnoff for a lot of people. By the way, don’t try and watch Teekyuu on your TV, it takes hella long to finish buffering.
I will also say that the jokes of Teekyuu were humorous and random, the kind of jokes that I live in a comedy anime. I had a good time watching this show since you can literally watch the entire 6 seasons in a day.
If you’d like an extremely short and funny comedy anime to marathon with maximum retardation into the mix, Teekyuu is the show for you. My suggestions is to not focus on the sound and animation too much, as what really makes Teekyuu the bag of gags that it truly is are the jokes. You seriously don’t have enough time to focus on everything in this show, so I suggest you simply try and keep up and remember: don’t blink
7: Berserk 2nd Season
English: Berserk: Season II
MAL Score: 6.60
Demons have now become commonplace around the kingdom of Midland, which has fallen into chaos. The swordsman Guts still cannot stay in one place for long due to his demonic brand. He could always manage to protect himself when he was alone, but now he has the added challenge of protecting former Commander Casca, a shell of her former self who neither remembers nor trusts him. They never have a moment’s rest with the constant threat of demons, and they need a place where Casca will be safe till they find a way to heal her. Their elf ally, Puck, tells of the mystical land of Elfhelm, which is supposed to be a safe haven from the demons that ravage the lands. Tired and with only a vague hope, they struggle on to find a place to live—and they still need to find those responsible for the madness they are forced to endure.
It’s the 4th of July everybody! As an American, I will celebrate my country with one of our time honored traditions…beating the dog shit out of something weak and defenseless. Everyone is lining up to shit on Eromanga Sensei. Worst animu of the year! Sure that’s pretty low hanging fruit, but I’m going even lower. If bashing Eromanga Sensei was the equivalent of America’s pummeling and carving up Serbia, picking on poor Berserk 2017 is like the 1983 invasion of Grenada!
Berserk 2017 has 2 clip show episodes in a 12 episode run! That’s really all I need to say to illustrate how fucking shit this series was. That could be the entire review right there!
However, I’m a tad more professional then that so let’s get on with the review. This series covered the part of the manga where Guts meets Schierke, gains the Berserker Armor, and fights the New Band of the Hawk. Basically this is the part of the manga where Miura abandons the “Ow the Edge” feel of the Black Swordsman Arc and makes Berserk a shonen with occasional tits and gore. I’m exaggerating of course, but the tone has changed vastly and it often seems to almost venture into shonen territory. This SHOULD make it easier to adapt into a fun and fluid anime right? Unfortunately it would seem not. They cover very little of the manga in these 12 episodes, not only because there are 2 fucking clip shows, but because the pacing isn’t great. If they were going to make it short and sweet, they could at least put serious attention and detail into the battle scenes. However, the art budget got gutted AGAIN, so this series often looks even worse than Berserk 2016! The battle scenes are predictably lackluster, so we mostly get padding and dialogue. Does it even end at the logical point with Guts gaining the Berserker armor and standing tall against Griffith’s minions? Nope. The series rushed that scene and farted on for another episode so we could meet Bonebeard the Pirate…the character near universally considered to be the worst character in all of Berserk. Yes, he’s worse than Puck. Since this series bombed and there are no plans for a Berserk 2018, this is where the Berserk anime journey ends…with Bonebeard the fucking Pirate! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
If you had told me last year that Berserk 2017 would look even worse than 2016 I wouldn’t have believed you. How could they possibly sink further down when they had reached the center of the Earth? From that point, any direction would be up. However, Studio Gemba has accomplished the unthinkable. There are a lot of anime studios I love to give shit: Toei, ARMS, 4C, OLM, etc. Those are all GODLIKE though compared to Gemba. Only Idea Factory can compete head to head with Gemba when it comes to being an absolute shitstain of an animation company.
Were my expectations high following last years’ travesty? Nope. Was I STILL somehow disappointed by this trash? Yep. Berserk 2017 isn’t even good as a guilty pleasure. Keep in mind my standards aren’t that high. Dragonball Super is something I watch as a guilty pleasure. Berserk 2017 is to Berserk what Superman 4 was to Superman films. It is a blow so devastating that it may never recover. As successful a cult following as the manga has, it will likely be YEARS before we see another attempt at a Berserk anime if ever.
It’s basically the exact same, except the pacing problems have gotten better. There really isn’t too much too say, the CGI art is trash, but if you have read the manga you’ll take what you can get. Obviously the ending is incomplete because the manga continues on much much further, and is still ongoing.
I’d say don’t watch this if you haven’t read the manga, because it will confuse you and will be the least bit enjoyable. For me I love seeing manga come to life through animation even if it isn’t the best so I did enjoy it to a degree, and overall will give it a 7.
I decided to give the Berserk franchise a chance with the introduction of the 2016 season and if I had to compare that season to 2017’s there are a couple things I can mention.
The story for this season was amazing as always and it is what keeps me coming back to watch week after week. I didn’t have any issues with how the pacing was done.
I felt like the directing was a bit better this season than in 2016 although this was mainly for about 75% of the series. The last 1/4 had some major issues that I couldn’t look past. Much of the same can be said for art and animation. The addition of 2D animation for some scenes were more than welcomed on my end but if you are one that do not like the mixture of 2D and 3D in shows then it might be a bit jarring for you.
The soundtrack is what you would’ve been familiar too from the 2016 season and it is great as always. The introduction of new characters as well as the development given to some members of the cast was appreciated. Overall I was able to enjoy this season of Berserk a little bit more than I had the first season.
If you are coming across this anime for the first time, I’d suggest you give episode 1 of the 2016 season a go to see if the 3D CGI would sit well with you. After that I recommend you check out the Berserk anime that came out in the 90s(or the movies if you’re short on time) or you can read the manga for which I keep hearing great things about. I hope my thoughts on this show was useful to you!
6: Teekyuu 8
English: Teekyu 8
Japanese: てーきゅう 8期
MAL Score: 6.64
Eighth season of the Teekyuu anime series.
First story: 7/10
same old stuff as the seasons before it i like every new season because while same concept the randomness always keeps it refreshing for me to watch no matter it wasn’t interstellar or amazing its a just a fun watch if u want some adrenaline filled anime to boost your energy that day.
Art 7/10: i mean what do u expect honestly from teekyuu, 2 min an episode so much fast paced wacky cocaine induced action of course the animation won’t be the best but for what it is it was not bad i did not have a hard time watching it because of art it was just fine for what it does i was expecting worse from these type of fast paced shows but they did good.
sound 8/10: for the wackiness of this show the art was superb because it expressed what teekyuu is all about and considering this is the 8th season I am surprised they still kept this consistency of sound quality throughout the whole 8 seasons that it has been airing.
character 8/10: the characters are so fun and amazing they are the reasons why i get my good chuckles because they are so fun and strange unique all interesting to watch all act comedic and stupid.
Enjoyment 7/10: this was really enjoyable it wasn’t something ill remember and be impact but it was a fun watch throughout either way.
Overall 7/10: this was super fun to watch not something impactful or amazing like i said its just fun if you want to have a fun time or have some free time or just want some adrenaline in your system then you have come to the right place for some wacky fast fun packed into 2 min episodes enjoy the 8th season of this cocaine induced ride (please 9th season come out soon).
The OP changed a few times I think, and I really enjoyed that. I like how they went back to the episode arcs a little. Witty and self-aware, always breaking the fourth wall. At times it can get difficult to understand, however. Other than that, this is a very light-hearted, fun anime for when you need to unwind and don’t want to sit through long episodes where you have to pay attention to actual plot/
Have a great day everyone! 🙂
5: Teekyuu 7
English: Teekyu 7
Japanese: てーきゅう 7期
MAL Score: 6.65
Seventh season of the Teekyuu series.
It hurts to try to follow along with Teekyuu, let alone think about it on any critical level. The jokes fly by at supersonic speeds and the actual quality of the humor fluctuates dramatically on a second-by-second basis. Having watched through all 7 seasons of Teekyuu thus far, I’ve learned to just accept it for what it is, but to make it this far you’ll have to train your brain to turn itself off, and your mileage may vary depending on how much condensed randomness you can physically absorb.
That said, this season was probably the most consistent of them all so far – I was able to enjoy every episode on some level, and some of the best moments of the entire series happened this season. Currently I haven’t heard anything about an 8th season being announced, but if it gets made, you can bet I’ll be watching it. Teekyuu is the kind of anime that I can’t drop any more, I’ve invested too much of my mental well-being into this series to back out now.
I recommend that everyone at least watch one episode of Teekyuu, preferably from this season because like I said, it’s the most consistently enjoyable one so far. You’ll know right away if you will be able to watch any more of it, but it might take some time before you know if you like it or not.
Upon further reflection, it might not be that Teekyuu is improving, but rather that it has broken me completely by this point. As this is actually quite likely, please disregard everything I’ve said up until this point. 10/10
Honestly, if you didn’t like the first few seasons, what are you doing here? On the other hand, if you did like the first few seasons, again, what are you doing here, reading reviews? Go watch the series, it’s exactly what you want and have been expecting. 🙂
Have a great day everyone!
4: Teekyuu 5
English: Teekyu 5
Japanese: てーきゅう 5期
MAL Score: 6.68
Fifth season of Teekyuu series.
Teekyuu is back, with another 12 episodes, equaling a total length of about 24 minutes (your basic length for an anime episode). But what has changed? Well not that much, but who CARES!? We have been blessed with 12 new, exciting episodes. Yes you’ll probably miss a majority of the subtitles and words, and realise that each episode manages to become more and more random.
– Still no story
– Still the same characters (who are probably on drugs)
– Still completely unrelated to Tennis (the description of the anime is about girls in the Tennis Club)
– New Opening (actually pretty cool)
But all that together makes Teekyuu an awesome (completely random) anime!
If you enjoyed any of Teekyuu at this point, go ahead and watch this. It’s pretty consistent throughout the seasons. If you didn’t like Teekyuu, then I suggest that you don’t watch this. It’s probably not anything you want to see. It’s pretty simple. Even though that’s all pretty self-explanatory, let me put some stuff out there for people who marginally enjoyed the first few seasons and aren’t sure whether to continue.
The story, art, sound, and characters are all pretty true to what they have been in earlier seasons. There’s nothing more to say about that. Not much has changed, except that the art seems to continuously get better, including the animation. The sound is a little clearer, and now there are sometimes arc episodes. There are some running gags instead of just regular randomness. I suggest you watch most of it one sitting if you want to catch some of the reoccurring jokes. That’s pretty much all there is to it. 🙂
Have a great day everyone!
3: Teekyuu 4
English: Teekyu 4
Japanese: てーきゅう ４期
MAL Score: 6.70
Fourth season of Teekyuu series.
The story, art, sound, and characters are all pretty true to what they have been in earlier seasons. There’s nothing more to say about that. Not much has changed, except that the art seems to continuously get better, including the animation. The sound is a little clearer, and now there are sometimes arc episodes. There are some running gags instead of just regular randomness. I suggest you watch most of it one sitting if you want to catch some of the reoccurring jokes. That’s pretty much all there is to it. 🙂
Have a great day everyone!
No story but slightly more coherent than previous seasons. There are legitimately “slow” episodes, as far as Teekyuu can get. I still don’t think any of it is genuinly good, and I think the fact that I don’t remember a single plotline to the previous episodes in the show proves how much of a waste this is, but it’s nice to boost my completed and sports tag count on graph.anime lol
Bad animation but it’s intentional. Doesn’t make it better, but at least there’s some sense that the animators don’t care but they don’t care ‘with love~~.’
Decent voice acting work and the music is alright I guess but you can’t really focus on any of it since it’s all just flyin’ by.
Like, 2 grams worth of character out of this whole season, and I guess the whole show since I don’t remember anyone in this series. Holy crap why do I do this to myself.
I, quite literally, acquired a headache while watching this season. Good thing it’s still early enough for me to take something.
((If you liked this review, check out my other reviews by going to my profile and clicking the ‘reviews’ tab. I review virtually all anime and manga I find!))
2: Cop Craft
Japanese: COP CRAFT [コップクラフト]
MAL Score: 6.72
Fifteen years ago, a hyperspace gate appeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, connecting Earth to a strange world filled with fairies and monsters. The city of San-Teresa became a home for over two million of these otherworldly visitors. Unfortunately, the population boom also brought its fair share of problems—drugs, prostitution, and trafficking. To combat the rampant crime lurking in the city’s shadows, a new department was established in the San-Teresa Metropolitan Police.
Former JSDF soldier Kei Matoba is one of the best cops that the department has to offer, despite his inclination to occasionally bend the rules. After a fairy trafficking case goes wrong, Kei loses Rick Fury, his friend and partner of four years, setting him on a quest for vengeance. To help him with the case, the department pairs him with Tilarna Exedilika, a noble of the Farbani Kingdom. As one of the Knights of Mirvor, her duty is to rescue the noble fairy that Kei encountered during his last case. Despite his distaste for non-humans, he accepts the arrangement at the request of his superiors. Now, the unlikely duo must come together and overcome their differences in order to return the missing fairy to her country and avenge the death of Kei’s partner.
Ever seen a buddy cop film? This is a love letter to the subgenre, and it turns out, buddy cop plus moe is a match made in heaven. The key premise of a buddy cop film is forcing two very different people to work together – anime allows these people to be as different as a gruff veteran detective and a space elf loli jedi. They’re supposed to bicker – so we get angry loli pouts and a despairing guy too old for this shit. “Fish out of water” – we get treated to a curious inquisitive daughteru interacting with the modern world. None of that, of course, gets in the way of the pure cop drama goodness – you still get all the “getting shot two days before retirement”, “investigation leading to a strip club” and “the FBI rolling in and taking over” that your heart desires.
Juxtaposition is also a hell of a drug. Sword and sorcery stuff happening against the backdrop of the criminal underbelly of Not Los Angeles makes up for a unique, eye-catching setting. The world-building, the characters, the comedy and dialogue writing are quality stuff you can expect from Gatoh Shoji (Full Metal Panic and Amagi Brilliant Park creator). Special mention for a western setting that actually feels western.
On the story front – despite being an adaptation of a novel series, it isn’t just “stuff happens until it doesn’t.” It feels like an actual story that begins with the first episode and ends with the last. The last two episodes work as the culmination of every major arc that happened up until that point.
There is an unavoidable fact that the animation is very lacking due to a blatantly tight budget (which in practical terms means the deficit of manpower), but the show does an amazing job of working around its limitations with clever editing/shot composition. In fact, this series is a great illustration of the fact that animation/sakuga (the amount of movement, the number of frames per second, etc) has very little to do with how good a show actually looks. For example, there is one scene of a car crossing over the hill, and it’s literally a cutout of the car moving against a static background, with the front wheels just going up into the skies. It looks bizarre… until the scene changes and you see the car’s suspension violently smashing down from a jump. The front wheels did, in fact, go into the skies, what you saw is what happened in-universe. A tiny studio pulling every trick in the book to make up for the lack of resources is to be commended, especially when the very same season we can see an inverse of that with Fire Force – the cream-of-the-crop animator talent being wasted on terrible visual direction.
Even bigger flaw is a bizarre episode structure of the first arc which makes it look like a movie that just got cut into 25 minute chunks – a culmination of an entire arc happens basically in a pre-credits scene, while the rest of the episode starts a new arc. Again, it appears to be a consequence of simply not having enough animators and being forced to do 2.25 episodes out of what was supposed to be 3.
Anyway, what I am getting at, why is a show with such flaws is rated 10? It isn’t, I’d take out 0,1 points for bad animation and 0,3 points for the episode structure, so the final score of the show would be 9.6/10. There is no way in hell I’d feel justified subtracting more because neither random junky frames, nor the other thing detract in a meaningful way from story, dialogues, humor and ideas that together make up 96% of my enjoyment of this show. If other people are incapable of appreciating those things and resort to focusing on other aspects, such as production values – it’s their loss.
9.6/10 for “unique, thought-provoking and entertaining piece of fiction.”
Suffice to say, anime as a medium has yet to evolve to the level of films or literature, and as such I choose to keep my expectations rather low with every coming season. Sure, you have your hard-hitters like Vinland Saga and Demon Slayer, but then there’s the expected boatload of isekai, or series with potential but fall into mediocrity–for me and plenty of others, To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts was one such show. And even then, the hard-hitters often are not something I personally find enthralling, since they tend to fall under specific tropes palatable to very young teenagers; or as we call them, shounen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m onboard with that every once in a while, but there’s only so much of it I can take before a medium of seemingly endless potential and imagination begins to feel surprisingly safe and sterile.
To be clear, I’m not trying to diss anime as a whole. Plenty other mediums have their own problems, especially in their infancy period. Anime is a medium I love and support, and as such I’m all too aware of the drawbacks I’ve come to expect while digging my way through the depths in search of anime that are true standouts. And it’s because of this that the level of enjoyment I had watching Cop Craft is truly precious. If you’re like me, you’ve certainly had reservations or mixed feelings about Cop Craft’s reveal, particularly in the context of Japan’s ever-so-uncomfortable liking for small girls. Some of those same people went on to be pleasantly surprised, just like I was, at its first episode. As for me alone, I kept watching to where it would become one of my most cherished anime in recent memory.
My love for crime-focused shows and films akin to Lethal Weapon, The Sopranos, and the like had sold me on the show within minutes. After some more time of watching, I was then engrossed by the character chemistry and splendid dialogue. And with wild supernatural elements, fantastical concepts, and bizarre sci-fi all welded cohesively into a thrilling buddy-cop drama, Cop Craft stands as another showcase of what anime as a medium, compared to live-action, is truly capable of pulling off.
Before I go any further, however, I must address the elephant in the room. Yes, this show has serious problems with its production, which many people are aware of due to the damaging effect it’s had on animation and pacing. Cop Craft’s overall quality undeniably suffers as a result, but I feel like people should know the whole context of why this show is the way it is. I’ll go much deeper into this later on, but the basic story is this: this show was made with the passion of a driven and talented team in a very small studio with budget constraints and scheduling issues; a project far too ambitious for what the team is capable of doing. As a result, the animation quality is a horribly mixed bag, but this should not be attributed to laziness of the staff, as tempting as that is. As pressing of a topic as this is, I want to save it for later in this review. As of now I want to make the point that poor production is a tragic reality of what is otherwise a fantastic experience.
The dynamic between Kei Matoba and Tilarna Exedilika is the essence of what makes Cop Craft such a worthwhile experience. The incessant passive-aggressive remarks between the grouchy nihilistic cop and the spoiled, ill-tempered young rookie is one of few aspects of their interplay that makes their first several hours together so immediately riveting. Not only is their interplay superbly written, varied, and sometimes comedic, they’re highly fleshed out characters whose relationship evolves from a bitter incompatibility to a dubious comradery. In general, Kei is someone who doesn’t get along with people, which is understandable since he’s one of the last people you’d ever want to hang out with. He’s a callous and largely inconsiderate man, making rude or judgemental comments towards people regularly with no signs of remorse. But he is not without a heart, as much as he tries to hide that fact from Tilarna. A man of few words, his sparse acts of kindness and courtesy are often dubious, with his true intentions left concealed in his own frigid mist of a personality. Even his most notable good deed, rescuing and adopting a stray cat after pursuing a perp, is reasoned with the idea of it being selfish instead of altruistic, saying he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he left the cat there.
While ostensibly uncaring, Kei clearly has humanity as shown in his outrage over the death of his partner, Rick (which, by the way, happens within the first few minutes of the first episode, so no spoilers there), and the fact that he views his chief, Jack Roth, as a father figure. Likewise, it’s made obvious that in spite of his bitterness towards Tilarna, he does grow to care for her. His dialogue with her later on walks a fine line, making it uncertain which of his lines are playful, complementary, sarcastic, or tough love. In general, Kei appeals to the part of us that wants to be spared of the nonsense and get the task out of the way. His cold attitude is admittedly hard to tolerate at points, especially when he shows no gratitude whatsoever for when Tilarna saves his life, but that’s just part of what makes him so endearing. Kei and Tilarna’s rough interactions are what makes their sparse cases of growing closer all the more meaningful.
Tilarna is always aiming to uphold her dignity and her moral code, making sure to never stray from either goal, excluding particular circumstances. Yet she’s also prudish and naive compared to Kei, often used to great comedic effect and is crucial to her development in much later arcs. Similar to Kei, her abrasiveness towards him isn’t exactly reflective of her actual feelings. More than anything, she just wants to feel respected by Kei and not be treated like a burden, which is an understandable frustration for anyone having to work with the man for so long. With such an entertaining banter between well-realized characters whose bond develops with every few episodes, topped with brilliant dialogue, Kei and Tilarna end up being one of the most compelling duos in anime I’ve ever had the pleasure of following.
On another note, it’s strange and disappointing to see the stereotypical depiction of gay characters that plagues Japanese media appear in Cop Craft–by which I’m referring to Tony. Funnily enough, I initially approved of his character as I assumed *he* was a transgender woman. Because transphobia is just as much of a problem in Japan, my first impression of Tony was a pleasant surprise. And I was let down upon finding out that Tony isn’t a transgender, but a very effeminite and flamboyant gay man. Generally, his appearance and character alone isn’t all that big of a deal. But it does get a lot more off-putting with that one scene of Tony subconsciously feeling up a teenager only to be stopped by Aleks; and wiping drool off of his face as an added bonus. Although Tony is portrayed more tastefully than the likes of Puri Puri Prisoner from One Punch Man, they’re both still sad reminders of how long of a way Japan as yet to go in terms of proper LGBT representation in media.
This is a real shame since Tony is generally a good character apart from this, alongside his detective buddy Aleksandr, both of which are a treat to watch thanks to Cop Craft’s sheer aptitude with dialogue and comedy. And then there’s police chief Bill Zimmer, who is just about the closest to an anime Samuel L. Jackson since Afro Samurai. Although his spitting rage and humorous lines are a joy to witness, and with how respectable he was in speaking favorably of Tilarna towards a racist subordinate, Zimmer isn’t one of the more fleshed out characters of the show, unlike the doctor and ex-girlfriend of Kei, Cecil Epps. While it’s shocking to see someone actually put up with Kei’s rudeness, and even remain friends with the man, the main draw of Cecil’s character is how easily she befriends Tilarna. The friendship between the two feels genuine, with Cecil consoling Tilarna about difficult tasks and personal woes. Their playful dialogue about Kei also leads to one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in an anime. A lesser writer would simply use Cecil as a plot device or to flesh out Kei’s history, but she’s given the humanity needed to make her truly feel like a person with a physical presence in the overall narrative. With such an engaging main duo alongside almost equally great side characters, Cop Craft boasts one of the strongest casts of characters of any anime I’ve seen in recent memory.
This setup for a buddy cop show is hardly a unique one, especially to those well-acquainted with Western TV and films, but it does stand out in the anime medium among its contemporaries at the very least. And besides, execution is everything. And Cop Craft’s execution in its story is as great as one could ever hope.
As we’re welcomed to the fictional city of San Teresa, we venture into the unknown as well as the familiar. Conflict is abundant here as any Earth-dweller would expect a city to be, but the presence of the Semaani race brings forth a plethora of surprises among the crime scenes and detective cases, imparting a fantastical and arcane flavor to the adventure rarely seen in a police drama. With roughly 15 years of interaction with humans, the Semanians and their world is still largely alien to its human neighbors, with many discoveries to be made about them and what bizarre occurrences and fields of magic, or ‘Latena’ as it’s called, could be at play. To be a policeman in San Teresa means to expect the unexpected, a mantra that would benefit the viewer just as well.
Of course, constantly throwing surprises at the viewer runs the risk of making the world feel incohesive and random, but these ideas are well-developed and properly built up to thanks to some impeccable world-building and (for the most part) remarkable pacing. The true depths of Semaani reveals itself little by little in the human world, pacing out these discoveries in such a way that provides intrigue and tension in a near-perfect manner. It also helps that Semanian arts have a logical presence as opposed to simple magic. Aside from the admittedly far-fetched “strong feelings create Latena” thing, practices and contraptions of Semanians operate on rules of their own, much like our technology. Perhaps the author, Shoji Gatou, was given a freebie by age-old concepts in Western fantasy when creating the Semanian race, but this world is so fleshed out to where it’s given an identity of its own. Semanians even have their own language, which when spoken sounds remarkably elegant and refined, unlike numerous other fictional languages such as Parseltongue of Harry Potter which sounds vague and almost like gibberish. To show just how refined this language is, aside from apparently being learnable, it’s worth considering Tilarna’s uttering of “Boliceman.” This is made to be an endearing quirk, but it also gives the implication that the Semaani language likely lacks a ‘p’ sound, with ‘b’ as a common substitute.
After some time, the role of exploring a foreign world is passed over to Tilarna. Here we have the pleasure of watching Tilarna trying to cope with and adapt to facets of our planet Earth–specifically, pornography and vehicles of transportation–all bundled into an episode’s worth of hilarity, enticing chaos, and a grace of character bonding at the very end. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable episodes of anything in recent memory, as well as the few cases of anime humor making me laugh out loud. This is an episode that lingers in my memory continually, which is a very high honor to hold.
A prominent facet of the setting is how the world of Semaani interacts with that of Earth. The many fields of Latena originating from Semaani unsurprisingly can accomplish certain tasks in a way that human technology cannot. And surprisingly, the opposite is also true. Coding, hacking, firearms, automobiles, photography, and night vision goggles are what the world of Semaani lacks, and play an equally vital role in snuffing out the perpetrator.
Obviously the aptitude of your arsenal means little if the one using it lacks competence, as evident in many shounen and seinen that get away with artificially stretching out their arcs by having characters fumble around or arbitrarily bringing forth a greater power to stall the action. Cop Craft is the exact opposite case. The policemen of San Teresa are intelligent and capable as policemen are expected to be, using any strategy or asset at their disposal to gain the upper hand. I think anyone could remember a time they watched or read a piece of media, getting aggravated at characters for not seeing the obvious solution or making moronic decisions leading to their downfall, taking you out of the experience. Cop Craft almost never stumbles upon this, and crimes are dealt with efficiently through the use of Latena magic, Earth technology, and competent storytelling.
That said, as praiseworthy as this is, it comes with a cost: conflicts in Cop Craft are dealt with relatively fast, and arcs can feel frustratingly brief and even anticlimactic as a result. Some could frame all this as a negative, but it ultimately depends on what you look for in an action show. I for one couldn’t be happier with how Cop Craft chose to execute this. The overall narrative of Cop Craft is akin to that of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, and not just with its Western influences. It spends a brief enough time on an idea so as to throw a new one on the table. Cop Craft never gives anything a chance to get boring (excluding the fan-hated episode 8). Each arc is expounded upon enough to be satisfying in its own right, with the resolution feeling authentic and plausible rather than climactic.
Apart from human tech and Latena, the interaction between Semanians and humans leaves sociological effects that are intriguing and applicable to reality. Heavy politics are in full force as would be expected in a city of mixed races, and Cop Craft is incredibly bold and proficient with this direction, especially for an anime–granted, it involves a fictional race, but the point stands. Multiple points of view regarding the presence of Semanians are touched upon and come into play during a much later arc, lending more weight and authenticity to an already fascinating world. A simple biased aversion towards Semanians or humans for what they are is obviously just racism, but one character in particular has a far more elaborate and justified viewpoint that comes from a similar place, whose quote is written below:
“Coexistence, peace…just lies idealists tell. Earthlings and aliens can’t ever get along. We must keep apart.”
“Some of them are getting by just fine!”
“And their ability to adapt is what scares me. Look at their strength, their vitality; in three generations they’ll usurp us and rule the Earth! The invasion will be over before anyone notices. Yes, not even the invaders are aware of what they’re doing. The world needs to wake up and see just how dangerous these Semanians are.”
If you’ve watched Cop Craft up to a certain point, you definitely know who these quotes are from, and where this exchange transpires. For spoiler reasons, I won’t say, but the crux of the matter is the ideology of what is said here. This is clearly in line with most conservative views regarding immigration; a fear that there is more to lose than to gain, and results can be disastrous. Obviously there are different viewpoints on immigration and I don’t wish to have this sort of discussion at the moment when it comes to real life issues, but Cop Craft is commendable in bringing this predicament to light in a setting where it fits like a glove.
For a 12-episode season, it would be wrong of me to say that these issues are explored to their fullest, but that’s all the more reason to consider the ongoing status of the source material, and to acknowledge that the anime only covers a portion of what is, or will be, in the full story. If anything, this is a positive way of looking at the studio’s size. Since their budget is so small, there’s a relatively greater chance of Cop Craft making a good profit, thus hopefully leading to a second season being made.
What’s really admirable in regards to the studio’s size is just how well the team could do in spite of such meager production. While Cop Craft’s animation is limited, the overall aesthetic is a feast for the eyes. While the show lacks in frames, it excels through well-directed framing and glorious attention to detail. The open nocturnal suburbs are coated in a softly-lit patch of neon colors, contrasting with the grim and subdued tones of the alleyways where conflict is sure to erupt. Bloom lighting is applied constantly in places to accentuate the bright urban life. Most indoor areas are rendered in modest colors where bloom lighting is sparingly used, creating a calm environment where the brutality of police work is given a rest. With such limited resources, the team has made a show that is not only pretty to look at, but with effective theming for different environments. All of this is to say, Cop Craft is one of those cases where the art is superb, but the animation is lacking–hopefully the anime community will finally know the difference between the two.
When it comes to Cop Craft’s visuals, there’s no getting by without mentioning the action scenes, which are of particularly low quality past the second episode. This is where the studio’s size is made all too clear. However, lack of animation isn’t exactly the only thing holding back the action scenes, and this is an area where people are most inclined to blame the director. So here’s the way I see it: is the director, Shin Itagaki, at fault for Cop Craft’s shoddy action scenes?
My answer is: yes and no.
Shin Itagaki is an enigma of the anime industry. You might construe that as a word of praise but that’s literally what he is. Shin Itagaki is the director of shows like Basquash!, Ben-To, Teekyuu, and of course the infamous Berserk 2016/17. On top of being a director, Itagaki is also a freelance animator, sometimes doing his own work during production, and an extreme perfectionist. When discussing the animation quality of Cop Craft, an important thing to consider is that Shin Itagaki has a rather unusual way of directing fight scenes, putting more emphasis on impact than spatial awareness. This sort of style favors very dynamic camera angles and frames of impact, constantly breaking the 180-degree rule of cinema which all results in an action scene that feels visceral yet lacks sense of place. Cop Craft is consistently animated in 3s, and most of its action scenes are animated similarly to the likes of Studio Trigger, with limited frames, heavy smearing, and very dynamic pose-to-pose action facilitating impact in a way that fluidity cannot. However, with such wild storyboarding and constant breaking of the 180-degree rule, higher frames are a must for the scene to flow properly, and Cop Craft is proof enough of how much this can backfire.
To see just how well Itagaki’s action can turn out, look no further than Ben-To. Fight scenes in Ben-To, as well as certain ones in Cop Craft, are evident of just how much increased frames make the difference with this style, creating enough flow between scenes that would otherwise end up disorienting and drain the scene of its tension. With the current state Millepensee is in, it seems most wise to ditch such strenuous methods and stick to basic, conventional fight choreography to make do with what little frames there are to work with. In the case of Cop Craft, this would have been the better approach in plenty of cases. Many scenes would have worked much better with the same amount of frames but different storyboards, but it seems that Itagaki is hellbent on sticking with his vision no matter what, making demands that the studio just isn’t able to meet.
This really hurts the anime in the long run, and it’s incredibly tragic. But there’s a reason I’m not putting so much scrutiny on this front. And it’s that I fully expect the DVD releases to amend this. Itagaki is clearly a very ambitious, passionate individual, and along with his team would love to take any opportunity to make this project exactly how they wanted to. For some episodes it’s not a huge deal if not many changes are made, but as for episodes 3, 5, and 10, Millepensee would be insane to not give them a makeover when the chance comes. Those episodes are infamous for containing some of the worst action in the series, with episode 3 commonly remembered as one of the most shocking dips in quality an anime has ever suffered. But I have faith in Itagaki and all of Millepensee, and wish them nothing but the best.
Cop Craft, you deserve better. You deserved a bigger budget, you deserved better management, you deserve more attention, you deserve more support, and above all things else, you deserve a second season. This fascinating world, these splendid characters, the intriguing storytelling; Cop Craft is a project that is clearly too ambitious for what the studio is actually capable of, and it’s my earnest wish that the BDs improve upon this significantly, as it’s their one chance at polishing this product into what they truly wanted it to be. The heart is there, the team is competent, and the tremendous quality of the source material is for us to experience on a small screen. While I hardly ever excuse poor production, this is a team that deserves our sympathy and support. The story of Cop Craft feels like it’s only just begun, and I’m fully on board with what more adventures await our duo, as well as how much higher the studio will go from what is their biggest project yet.
Are you a fan of storytelling with a buddy cop style formula? If so, Cop Craft will probably be a treat with the amount of character dynamics. There’s certain level of character interactions that will get you comfortable with its first opening episodes. Make no mistake though, Cop Craft itself is meant to be taken seriously although its execution of humor can be questionable. I’ll get to that later but the first two episodes hit the right marks to make a favorable impression. We meet main protagonists Kei and Tilarnia after a strange encounter and it sets the tone of the main story. This pair stands out as the most important character duo as they tackle on the challenges in this dark metropolis.
One of the more fascinating element of the show revolves around the strange premise itself. The story blends fiction and reality together in what should be described as a police procedural drama. In the present timeline, Teresa City is filled with crime. It’s like the type of city where you’ll see chaos erupting from weapon trafficking, drugs, prostitution, and even murder. Based on the light novel of the same name, some of these concepts doesn’t entirely surprise me. Shoji Gatoh (author of Full Metal Panic!) has been known to craft work with police drama. Cop Craft relies heavily on its insider ideas and main character duo. Unfortunately, the main storytelling itself is very loose and sometimes, I find that it lacks a general purpose. By the time this show almost concluded, I pretty much accepted the fact that the plot wasn’t going to improve. At least we have the main characters carrying this anime, right?
Kei is a human cop. He fights the good fight in this dark city while Tilarnia is the sidekick and partner. Imagine a strange alternate world where Full Metal Panic’s Sousuke and Chidori became detectives. Somehow, I picture Kei and Tilarnia in similar roles. There’s no doubt the pair has character chemistry despite their vastly contrasting differences. Humorous gags also occur between the two although over time, it feels more and more redundant than being actual funny. Coming from different backgrounds, there’s a mediocre appeal about both characters individually. It seems the pair’s character dynamics work best when they are together. When apart, I quickly find myself losing interest in what they’re doing. In some episodes, the anime also likes to poke fun of Tilarnia’s weak common sense and alludes to adult humor. The lack of character development doesn’t help either to get invested into either character. It’s a shame really since both Kei and Tilarnia could have been what holds this anime together. When you begin to lose hope for its main cast, there’s not much room for improvement. Unfortunately, most of the side characters hold little relevance. I honestly can’t even remember most of their names out of the top of my head.
Putting the drawbacks aside, I do think Cop Craft had a wealth of ideas to be something special. The main problem is the execution. It’s difficult to get invested into the plot when the mood changes from frame to frame nearly every episode. The plot structure also has a ‘monster of the week’ like format where some sort of crime needs to be solved. It does reinforce the dark side of the city with its underworld activities. But when the show lacks a general purpose, it quickly wears itself out and loses significance. The character development is almost non-existent with every episode spitting out random events rather than a concentrated focus. With each progressing episode, I felt like the show loses more of its relevance. The anime is only 12 episodes and according to some content I’ve heard, there’s pacing issues too. Coming in as an anime only viewer, it’s a major disappointment from what Cop Craft could have been.
However, that’s not the end of its problems. Even on a technical level, Cop Craft suffers production issues in later episodes. From an early example (episode 3), you can tell that the animation quality drops with lackluster battle sequences. It doesn’t help the anime also has to rely on some rather strange fan service at times to do the talking. Somehow, Tilurna’s character ends up becoming a source of animal jokes in one particular episode. Desperate as it seems, it’s the type of fan service that basically shows it has nothing else to say. Luckily, the world setting itself has a decent amount of creativity. The dark metropolis contains a degree of realism despite the fantasy content. It reminds me of Los Angeles with a wealth of cultural ideas and social problems.
Ah Cop Craft. I wish I read the light novels beforehand so I limited my expectations. The first two episodes made a strong impression but quickly begins to wear itself out with its charm. The main character duo delivers popcorn entertainment but it doesn’t manage to fully make the show itself entertaining. If you don’t mind the cheeky humor or bland storytelling, then this may turn out to be a treat for you. For me personally, this is one of those anime that lost steam and never looked back.
1: Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka
English: So I’m a Spider, So What
MAL Score: 7.46
The day is as normal as it can be in high school as the students peacefully go about their everyday activities until an unprecedented catastrophe strikes the school, killing every person in its wake. Guided by what seems to be a miracle, a handful of students are fortunate enough to be reincarnated into another world as nobles, princes, and other kinds of people with prestigious backgrounds.
One girl, however, is not so lucky. Being reborn as a spider of the weakest kind, she immediately experiences the hardships of her dire situation. Even so, she must press on to survive the numerous threats that endanger her life. Discovering that her new world has a system like that of an RPG, she tries her best to hunt prey and defeat monsters to level up and evolve. As she gradually grows stronger, she hopes one day her efforts will be rewarded, and that she will be granted a better life.
Announced back in 2018, there were some concerns about the production schedule of the series. Promotional material surfaced online but they caused some controversy with the amount of CGI content. It also didn’t help that studio Millepensee helms the production. It’s a studio that have produced mediocre projects and seems to specialize in CGI content. Don’t believe me? Just check out their infamous Berserk project or Cop Craft. Watching this show at first glace gave me a feeling of uneasiness and it didn’t take awhile until I realized what the show really had at its disposal.
Now imagine being stuck in the body of a spider and then thrown into a danger with some of the most dangerous creatures you can imagine in a fantasy world. That’s the raw fate of Kumoko, a former high school student who was hit with some misfortune. Kumoko must adapt, survive, and with her new circumstances, she’s going to need all the help she can get. Do note that Kumoko isn’t her real name but was given by universal fans. Thankfully, she lives up to her name because not only is she a spider, Kumoko also retains all her human personalities and knowledge. In essence, she’s almost like an RPG character in a vast and mysterious world.
But that’s not all. Kumoko isn’t the only character that reincarnated. In fact, a whole group of students got reincarnated and has their new roles set. These include Sophia, Katia, Filimos, Shun, among others. It seems when the author made these characters, they wanted to dress them into RPG skins. Let’s face it, we got vampires, elves, princess, heroes, and just about any light novel trope you can imagine. Of course, it’s not an original idea although Kumoko remains one of the more unique characters. In fact, why don’t we talk about a bit Kumoko and know who she really is?
Kumoko’s character and personality is protrayed as a happy-go spider with a hopeful vision of survival. Yes, she feels terrified and overwhelmed at first but is also prone to make sarcasm at any chance she gets. It’s to prevent her psyche from being harmed and honestly one of the more unique dynamics about her character. What I mean is that despite being a spider, she thinks like a human and even retains useful knowledge. Kumoko’s main goal is to survive and escape the dungeon that she’s trapped in. Think of her situation as a video game protagonist trying to beat a level or even the game. The world she is in is one huge game playground and that dungeon is only a part of it. Kumoko’s progression also translates into a RPG-like system with skills, development, and learning to level up. It’s funny to see just how far she make use of her system and it isn’t an easy task to adapt. That’s because the monsters in that dungeon are easily some of the most dangerous in the world. Like with its core characters, the author threw in dragons, giant arachnoids, wyrms, and the typical type of creatures you’d find in a light novel. There’s even a danger level scale that determines how deadly these monsters are. Kumoko’s personal challenge is to survive against these monsters because she’s only got herself to rely on. And trust me, it’s no simple task. There’s no reset button or an “easy mode” like in video games. She has to rely on the skills she learns and her human knowledge. Watching Kumoko overcome such obstacles shows that no matter how small she is, there’s always a beacon of hope.
Then, there’s the other side. I’m talking about the main core cast besides Kumoko. Unlike them, they took on more advantageous roles such as vampire Sophia or the warrior hero Shun. In particular, we follow the adventures of Shun and his former clasmates as they take on personal challenges of their own. And that doesn’t come easy either. This is seen an in early example when they face off against Hugo, a character with dangerous abilities of his own. Every prominent human character in the series has his or her agenda. The bottom line is, when getting transported into a new world, characters needs to learn, adapt, and find their place. That’s exactly what the cast has to do in this show to not just survive but ultimately discover their purpose. And true to its premise, this anime aims to entertain with the personalities of the cast. Every relevant character has a role whether they are human, spider, or demon. Among the most prominent character in the demon community is Ariel, perhaps being Kumoko’s biggest obstacle. Indeed, Kumo Desu Ga, Nani Ka feels like playing a RPG alongside a spider and a group of daring adventurers.
Although I’ve mentioned about the art style of this anime, it’s still hard to ignore the fact that it’s animated in CGI style. Fighting scenes can look a bit clunky at times but qualifies for fast paced action that you should expect. Hilariously, your eyeballs will probably be glued to Kumoko as a spider trying to beat enemies multiple times her size. Watching the fighting scenes in this show convinced me that when she needs to, Kumoko will do anything to ensure her own survival. She has truly untapped potential and with each level up, Kumoko feels like a video game character bought to life.
Set at 24 episodes, Kumo Desu Ga, Nani Ka is not a very easy anime to get into at first, even for a fantasy isekai. There’s also the novel series that the anime didn’t fully adapt. I mean, how many anime do you know about a main protagonist turned into a spider? Not many I assume. Fantasy isekai these days tends to jump the gun with its themes and indeed, this anime does love to flirt with its RPG-style ideas. However, rest assured that along the way, you’ll be entertained with this little spider at the web.
The hideously ugly plotline is led by an overly enthusiastic girl who was reincarnated as a spider. She must fight for her life in monster-infested caves. That explains the English name: “I’m a spider, so what?!” If that sounds intriguing, you will be disappointed. The title is misleading because the mind-numbingly boring half of the show is a bog-standard isekai plotline: A high school class gets reincarnated in a generic fantasy setting… How original.
The first plotline follows Kumoko, a high school girl who was reincarnated as the titular spider. It primarily takes place in caves where she first hatches. Wherever her journey takes her, she is isolated in the body of a spider—talking to herself, personifying the ghoulish monsters she fights, and creating imaginary friends. Her portion of the show is practically plotless, and it is written like a stream of consciousness, often repeating the same events with no progression. Unfortunately, her plotline is marred by repetition, plot armor, and hideous 3D animation ripped straight out of a Playstation 2 game. The second scenario was produced on the generic isekai anime assembly line: It follows Kumoko’s classmates, who were also reincarnated, but primarily as humans. It takes place in the same world, years in the future. All of them were reborn as babies, though the story is about their trials and tribulations as teenagers in a strange new world. The show randomly swaps between scenarios 1 and 2—sometimes, the whole episode will follow Kumoko. Other times all we’ll get is the infinitely less interesting teenage class (much more common in the second half). Needless to say, I preferred Kumoko. She is the only reason why I continued watching.
As a heroine, Kumoko has potential. She’s charismatic, resourceful, and she has a unique character design to boot. Her sarcastic quips are funny, at first. Over time, I grew gradually less entertained by her overdone and forced sarcasm. Kumoko’s wide variety of facial expressions were consistently amusing, reminiscent of Konosuba’s ridiculous character art style. The animators chose to give Kumoko a CGI model with facial expressions drawn in during close-ups. That creative decision suits Kumo’s chaotic fights with monsters and beasts, allowing for dynamic camera movements. At first, I was charmed by her zany personality and Aoi Yuuki’s energetic performance. That stopped being the case halfway through. Her ‘jokes’ devolved into yelling loudly (no, that doesn’t count as a joke). Either the dialogue is yelling or bland exposition dumping. The screenwriters included pointless light novel narration rather than using visual storytelling. This obsession with “telling” rather than “showing” is the root cause of every mundane light novel adaptation; this is no different. From the start, Kumoko fights for her life against horrid CGI monsters, but each one follows the same pattern. The monster is far stronger than her; she nearly dies, then a contrived mechanic will keep her alive. Right before getting “killed” Kumoko either cracks a joke, ruining any chance of taking it seriously, or she gives a long monologue as the animators slowly zoom in on the giant CGI monsters looming over her.
You will hear her say HP, MP, SP hundreds of times. The show spends excessive amounts of time explaining surface-level RPG mechanics, but Kumoko is so plot-armored that, ultimately, none of it matters! I know someone will say, “She’s not like other isekai protagonists because she worked for her skills.” No, shut up. Stop. Even if a character starts weak then becomes overpowered, they are still overpowered. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that; One Punch Man is one of the most successful comedy anime, and being overpowered is the whole joke. Just because Saitama trained his ass off to become all-powerful doesn’t change what he is. But Kumo desu ga doesn’t realize that WE KNOW Kumoko is overpowered—so it puts on an act: pretending like she’s in danger. Tons of censored blood spattering, limbs get torn apart, screaming, ripping and tearing sound effects—then she gains a power-up to save the day!
Kumoko’s fights have no stakes, but there’s an effortless way to fix this. Suppose she had something, anything to lose. A companion, a McGuffin, a tiny spider buddy, or some power that could get taken from her—then there would be a sense of danger. What about her personality? Characters who go through traumatic events should have some long-term mental effect. In a better anime, for sure. After the most violent and harrowing fights, Kumoko is still the same old peppy spider. Her near-death experiences never cause a lasting impact on her personality. In the second plotline, the generic male protagonist has more to lose. He has friends and family to create stakes, even though he is torturously dull.
Above ground, the archetypal isekai characters stare at each other with unconcerned looks as they deliver exposition in the most literal manner possible. Perhaps the animators just couldn’t be bothered to animate facial expressions and body language. If we’re lucky, one will make an ill-timed joke to keep us awake—but even if there’s a punchline (very rarely), it bounces off the protagonist’s thick skull. Shun, the protagonist in question, is about as compelling as watching paint dry—and he has even more plot armor than Kumoko. Even when he grieves or suffers due to some contrived conflict, it’s impossible to feel anything for a piece of cardboard with eyes and a nose.
The rest of the students are either one line nobody’s destined to die unceremoniously or mouthpieces to dump exposition. All of them are named, but trying to remember them would require caring. There are a few intriguing characters; one girl was reincarnated as a dragon and another as the opposite gender. Of course, neither of them gets enough screen time to be memorable. A running theme was: What would happen if you were forced to live out as a different identity? They could’ve used this theme to explore the insecurities it’d cause each character to feel. None of that happened, it was swept under the rug in favor of generic male isekai protagonist #304. One thing all the characters have in common is plot armor. The show hints at them having more depth in the source material. A few minutes here and there are spared to info dump one of their backstories. Of course, that information is utterly irrelevant and never brought up again. At least the light novel fans got some scraps amid the doubtlessly butchered adaptation. I feel sorry for anyone who likes the source material, you did not deserve this affront to humanity.
There’s an antagonist for both storylines—A vacuous demon lolita in dominatrix gear and a kid with an inferiority complex for the cardboard protagonist. They’re 1-dimensional, but they cause enough harm to motivate at least one of the protagonists. Neither do much except attempt (and fail) to look menacing. How do they expect us to get engaged in a ‘Good vs. Evil’ power struggle if the ‘Evil’ is neither intimidating nor relevant?
Four years ago, studio Orange animated Houseki no Kuni with luxurious CGI… Unfortunately, Studio Millepensee is not Orange. Previously, they made the stunningly awful Berserk (2016) CGI adaptation, and since then, their animators have not improved. Houseki no Kuni had excellent fight choreography, it utilizes 3D art for smooth dynamic camera motions, and the CGI models look good. Unfortunately, Kumo desu ga has none of those. The fight choreography is incomprehensible: Nauseating camera movements flying around dark 3D caves. Splotches of dark colors spurting everywhere, random magic circles tossed in, and that’s only Kumo’s half of the show. The 3D models constantly phase through objects like a poorly made video game. The 3D models have different lighting from the background art, so they stick out like a sore thumb. The jarring visuals look similar to a video game running at 5 frames per second. The only thing that prevented me from dying of boredom was my struggle not to vomit.
Once the studio ran out of either time or money, they began using low poly CGI models for every character. I don’t care if people call me a “CGI elitist,” but someone has to say it. The final four episodes of this anime are some of the hideous I’ve seen in an anime, rivaling Hand Shakers, Arifureta, and Ex-Arm for the worst three-dimensional art in a TV anime. But unlike those three, it wasn’t enjoyably bad. It was just nauseating and boring. Imagine a burning dumpster filled with used diapers that rolled off a cliff and landed in a pile of steaming manure.
The 2D art is hideous too, though at least it’s not as nauseating. First, there’s almost no animation. It’s entirely panning shots, still images, zooming, and animation loops. Second, the transitions look like they were done in IMovie—simple fade to black and jump cuts. Third, the character designs are entirely forgettable. In both worlds, the sound design is amateurish. They used the bare minimum stock sound effects. It took me time to realize the vocals don’t sync with the mouth flaps. Sometimes the voices cut out altogether while the character’s mouth is still moving! It’s no surprise the two subplots look and feel entirely different from each other: Studio Millisenpe made the 2D half, and they outsourced the CGI to Exsa, a studio no one has heard of. The first OP and ED are good, but the second two are ear piercing. These intros might have the worst credit integration in any anime ever: With text barely fitting on the screen in a jarring font that blocks the intro visuals. They would’ve been better off letting high school students design it.
Regardless of Kumo desu ga appalling art, animation, sound, and directing—the storytelling and character writing is still awful. It is filled with tedious exposition and stale comedy. If the anime was true to its title and focused on the spider portion, perhaps it could’ve been halfway decent. The production suffered from overwork, constrained budget, and limited resources, even leading to the final episode getting postponed. I’m seriously worried for the health of whoever was forced to create this abomination.
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka doesn’t look very promising at first glance, the premise is pretty much the same as your average isekai anime, with our main character dying and reincarnating in another world with RPG videogames terminology. Not even the fact she revives as a spider monster is something new or original at this point (but at least is more striking than a lame slime!). But what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in personality and self-awareness, while taking enough care of important things that other animes of the genre don’t bother to even show. Let’s address it by parts.
Our protagonist, simply and unofficially named Kumoko, was reborn as a spider monster, the weakest monster race, inside the most dangerous dungeon in this new world, while still remembering her previous life as an antisocial loner otaku (of course it should be that way). Sooner than later we are introduced to the main selling point this serie has: Kumoko struggling really hard to survive in this new world, trying not to get devoured in the process, while getting new skills, becoming stronger and learning about the world. All this is done in the most energic, charming and amusing way, thanks to Kumoko charisma and positivism. Now, this is not the only thing we’ll see, alongside Kumoko, her classmates and the teacher died and reincarnated as well, having enough luck to get way better lives.
Don’t let this innocent and rather simple premise taunts you. Which may initially appear just a fantasy story about a spider monster striving inside a cave, turns out to be a way vaster and more convoluted plot as it appeared, borderline on pretentiousness. Outside of the dungeon we see there are factions, nations and politics issues, going for wars between races and churches ideologies clash, which get more fraught as the series moves on, to ancient god and demons scheming over the world origins. Not only that, the skill system by itself, initially just appearing as a hook for RPG fans like in many other isekai animes, ended up being an important part of the mystery of the world, and the reincarnation itself.
Yet those topics are touched in a very basic way, the serie fills up this ambition with a solid narrative going hand in hand with the story. The narrative switches over two different POVs: the inside of the dungeon with Kumoko, and the outside world with a little group or reincarnates. Yes, this isekai does focus on story and worldbuilding, and while these two perspectives are rather different, they actually complement each other really well, sharing information actively, and explaining terminology that is going to be used in the next segment, without feeling forced. Subtlety is well-handled as well, mentioning topics or terms that are going to be important later on the serie in a very natural way (ex: talking about a skill that will be important to explain the MC motivations, or why the skill system by itself can be dangerous). Some people couldn’t notice at the beginning that both perspectives, Kumoko’s and the reincarnates’, are actually from different timelines, considering they were born in this world and the same time, but we see Kumoko from her birth, while we see the reincarnates when they are teenagers, and it’s only later on when the reincarnates’ side mentions Kumoko existence as a kind of legend, without directly telling it’s her; they don’t even cross paths until the very end of the serie. This kind of subtlety and naturality to show and explain important topics in a narrative this ambitious is pleasant to see nowadays.
Story and narrative are very good by themselves to support all the serie, because the rest of it is… not so impressive. Characters, for example, are like day and night:
>On the one hand, we have Kumoko. As previously stated, she’s pretty much the main selling point of the serie: if we search the definition of “charisma” in a dictionary, it would be her. Kumoko is charming, funny and very optimist, always doing her best to survive even with all the rough situations she goes through. Her role in the serie is pretty much acting like a guide to the viewer, constantly breaking the 4th wall and making comedy with a lot of references to popular culture, yet she’s witty enough to be aware about her situation without unnecessary edgyness; this serie touches dark themes in the least dark way, and Kumoko it’s the living proof. For a lot of people she alone carries all the serie over her thorax, but she’s not so perfect, she got little to no development along the serie (it’s not like she needed it) and remained pretty much the same even with all the harsh moments she went through, the things she learned and the power she got. Still the most solid character in the serie.
>On the other hand, we have a little group of reincarnates who were Kumoko classmates (and the teacher). While Kumoko, as plain as she is, can still be described with a lot of adjectives, those guys can be described with just two words: boring and generic. Unlike our eight-legged MC, this group reincarnated as humans (most of them), living in prestigious families, so most of the outside world is showed by them:
-First, we have Shun, we can say he’s the deuteragonist. There’re not enough words to explain how PAINFUL and INSUFFERABLE is to see this guy taking the lead. He’s pretty much your generic isekai protagonist, with all the cliches included in the pack: bland design, lack of personality, cringe hero complex (and yes, he was born in the Hero family, so he got blessed by the power of script) and harem pandering. He’s basically an Emiya Shirou, less pretentious but way naiver. And is this naivety by far the worst part, to the point every time he got the spotlight, the serie handled to make fun of it for being such a silly. He’s so misplaced to the point he got into a war he has noting to do just because “I can’t allow these people to suffer” (yep, even his sentences are prefabricated). Honestly, I can’t blame people for thinking human side is boring just because this dude.
-Katia is Shun best friend in this and previous life, and your typical tsundere chick, with the plot twist that she was a boy before reincarnating. Actually there was a moment when this character faced her inner conflicts and decided to be honest with herself and becoming a full girl instead of a boy trapped into another body…moment that was never well-developed.
-Hugo is your edgy vain and power-thirsty villain who thinks he’s better than anyone else.
-Filimos is the students’ teacher who got reincarnated as an elf (excuses to introduce a loli character it seems). While started as a mysterious and a bit interesting character, later on it’s revealed her motivations, which are very dull, and she’s way naiver than Shun.
-Generic crazy yandere girl is a generic crazy yandere girl who got brainwashed by the church.
-Fei was actually the most decent character in this group. She, like Kumoko, reincarnated as a monster (a dragon), and she was a bully in her previous life, especially with her (she doesn’t know she’s alive living as a spider). She feels guilty, she feels this new life is a divine punishment for her actions, and she was always concerning about Kumoko and wanted to meet her to apologize. Sound like something that could drive to an interesting catharsis… except when she gets a human form and forgets about all of this.
Initially, the serie got a 50/50 split between Kumoko and humans sides, but in the second part of the serie, when the politics themes and war calls became the main focus, human side got more spotlight. If it weren’t because, again, story and narrative by themselves are good enough, this would be really painful to watch because of this bunch of generic character. But at the same time, watching Kumoko getting stronger and destroying any trace of tension would be even more boring (and we don’t want such a thing to happen, right, Rimuru?), so the change of perspective was more a win than a miss. But actually… there is a third side here! Kumoko goes in her way, humans go in theirs, but there are a bunch of character that walk another path, this includes other three reincarnates (only two of them are worth it), some demons, and even Kumoko can be placed here under certain circumstances. What makes this group different from the other reincarnates, is that they were born under different circumstances, which push them to live under this new world rules, instead of being attached to their previous lives like Shun group. This group is by far more interesting that Shun groups, it’s a shame they weren’t fully showed in this season.
Having this ambitious story and this charming MC would be worthy of a decent direction, right? Sadly this was not the case. I don’t really need to explain why this show has a very hideous animation, especially the CGI, everyone can see it, but the direction has to be the worst I’ve ever seen in many years. Not only it was disastrous in action-packed moments, where transitions and cuts were so random that was really hard to tell what was happening, and it seemed director forgot some frames in the middle, but also covering up all the scream with that hideous CGI instead of trying to hide it a little at least with dust or light rays. Even in slower or more serious moments it was a mess, like the catharsis of some characters like Katia and Filimos, they were so shallowed portrayed it’s hard to even care about what they said, even more to care about them at all. Luckily the music was decent enough to partially conceal this, and seiyuus work is really good, especially Aoi Yuuki as our favorite arachnid girl, big part of her charm was there. Yet there were a couple of good action moments with a decent -in this context- direction, like Kumoko vs Alaba.
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka is how an isekai should be made, with an interesting and promising new approach to an already burned-out genre, focusing on a deep plot with a witty narrative but shallowly developed, and a great main character to carry the serie.
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka is how an isekai should not be made, with really bad side-characters, going hand in hand with an appalling animation, and a very weak direction that doesn’t do justice to such an ambitious premise.
Even with all its cons still is one of the most decent isekai animes out there, and I’d love to see another season, considering all the potential it has.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka
2. Cop Craft
3. Teekyuu 4
4. Teekyuu 5
5. Teekyuu 7
6. Teekyuu 8
7. Berserk 2nd Season
8. Teekyuu 6
9. Teekyuu 9
10. Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou
11. Takamiya Nasuno Desu!: Teekyuu Spin-off