They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Hataraku Onii-san!, Kagewani, Hataraku Onii-san! no 2!, and more!
4: Hataraku Onii-san!
English: Working Buddies!
MAL Score: 6.36
The energetic Tapio Chatarozawa and the cool-headed Kuehiko Roshihara are two young cats trying out various part-time jobs. From delivering packages to washing windows on skyscrapers, the pair explore the opportunities that await them out on the recruiting field. As they struggle to learn the ropes, the duo endures the antics of their colorful customers and supervisors while bonding as working buddies.
What kept getting me in every episode was the philosophical Koala, whom I’ve dubbed Koala Sensei. He speaks like a fortune cookie, in my opinion anyway. I’d honestly watch it again, since I saw it back to back so fast.
Not sure why it has such low reviews. It’s meant to be light hearted, tropey, and fun. It felt like a gem you’d discover on YouTube. I think it sets out to do what they intended. Just something for fun.
The intro and ending theme are earworms. I think they’ll be stuck in my head for awhile.
Hataraku Onii-san may not be a big ticket show but what it tries to do it does very well. The moment of them working are varied and showcase the different places that they work at well. The show also does a good job of showing the bond between the two workplace buddies and how they slowly become closer with time. While the show does have a general formula it also knows how to use that formula well in order to make everything work and still have it feel fresh. Furthermore it isn’t so rooted in its formula that it feels the need to repeat it every single time. While it’s not the only show that does that, it’s much appreciated as the moments outside of the formula wouldn’t work with it, as well as it allows for a little break that allows the show to shine.
For a short the characters are pretty good and we get to see a bit more of how they are throughout the episode. All in all it’s a funny and cute show with a nice art style and some good jokes. At 4 minutes an episode it’s well worth the watch and enjoying these working cats.
To give the show credit, the main characters were surprisingly entertaining. Maybe I’m easily amused, but the dialogue and reactions humored me. There were also some really funny moments. The high point of the episode is usually the wombat. Voiced by Tomokazu Sugita, accompanied by an ominous theme, and saying something completely bonkers: it’s pretty crazy.
This being said, however, the good moments are scattered pretty far. Not all episodes have the wombat gag, and not all of the gags are even funny. Usually, the rest of the episode is boring and it only gets good when the wombat appears. Some episodes aren’t even comedic in nature. If the show was constantly on the level of its high points, it’d be a hidden gem. Sadly, it’s not.
If you really are interested in watching it (I don’t recommend it), I’ll warn you that it doesn’t start off with its best foot forward. The first two episodes are boring, and the wombat bit is strange, but not great. The third episode is downright atrocious. But if you stick with it, you will find some good jokes.
At the very least, it is better than Pop Team Epic. That’s right, you heard me. Fight me, punk!
MAL Score: 6.40
A video blogger attempts to fake cryptid sightings to boost his views, but gets more than he bargained for when his crew is slaughtered by a real monster. Elsewhere, students find themselves preyed upon by a sandworm-like beast, initiating a desperate struggle for survival on their own school grounds.
With more of these attacks from mysterious creatures occurring, researcher Sousuke Banba tasks himself with delving into the mystery. With nothing but the keyword “Kagewani” to lead him, he scours the sites of recent attacks in hopes of finding a lead to eradicating the creatures for good. However, Sousuke finds that these threats to humanity are even closer to home when the pharmaceutical company, Sarugaku, starts to encroach on his investigation.
Told in a quasi-memoir like structure, the story of Kagewani was comprised of a series of anthology-like fables, where we find ourselves following Sousuke Banba, a scientist (or better yet, a supernatural detective), as he investigates the trail of carnage left behind by mysterious monsters that populate Japan. Sharing a personal life-altering encounter with these monsters, a majority of the story was dedicated to not only putting an end to the monsters’ destruction but also exploring the backstory of Banba as well.
The first thing that would immediately grab your attention is the uncommon art-style that Kagewani incorporates. Similar to another occult mystery anime, Yami Shibai, the art-style is akin to that of cardboard cutout paper-mache collages. Images that move across the screen like a puppeteer pulling strings. In most cases, this type of art-style may feel out of place, but for an anthology series that basically uses folklore to tell tales of strange happenings across Japan, the choice is perfectly at home. It gives everything an ominous vibe, a type of uncanny valley effect to the way everything moves and looks, which helps compensate for the lack of atmosphere not allotted to it otherwise. Of course, you’ll have those individuals that immediately say that the show “is shit” for not following convention, but for those who like anime that diversify its style and art direction, it can serve as a unique entry. It isn’t bad, just different.
Another noteworthy thing is the monster design themselves; borrowing elements European fairy tales and merging it with Japanese kaiju designs to create interesting hybrids. As in the case of the art-style, these ugly monstrosities help out where the audiovisual output was lacking.
Surprisingly enough, the music selection was virtually nonexistent. Outside of a few sparse sound effects here and there, and the ending theme song itself, there was very little here of note. Usually, shorts like these utilize music to help build its atmosphere, so seeing how little Kagewani took advantage of this chance to really up the creep factor was a bit disappointing.
But this wasn’t a series I really had much investment in, to begin with, so not like it mattered all that much.
While it had its issues and doesn’t go beyond being a novelty act, Kagewani did well enough under the time restraint and limited material it had to work with. It’s not a title that you will probably remember in the long run, but I say it’s still worth a try. It’s short, to the point, and gets the job done, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.
Initial expectation :
I always had bad experiences so far with 7 minutes long Animes. Those encountered were always rushed, senseless or ridiculous and build around fanservice, so I had the tendency to avoid them. When I came across Kagewani, I wanted to test it out not only for its unique art style, but because it was tagged as horror.
What struck me with the very first episode is the mastering of the pacing. Writing a scheme properly within mere 7 minutes isn’t as simple as it may sound. On the contrary, to settle down every key points properly, without rushing it, to have a slow build up that brings you to the tension point, isn’t at all something I would have ever thought doable in so little time. And yet they succeed at 13 times in a row. Just for that I give them a giant cookie.
But then, I can understand why this type of pacing would be frustrating for others. Slow pacing and 7 minutes might appear contradictory.
The stories, separately aren’t exceptional, but they use the ancient codes and tropes of horror properly. (I say “ancient”, because, no, modern horror doesn’t work the same way and modern vs ancient expectations are easy to tend to clash together) Together, however, yes, they do bear a sort of “brilliance” by reusing and reactualizing various types of fears (among one single spectrum : monsters/creatures of legends/folklore), each episode focusing on one specifically.
Another thing worthy to note is the execution of the iconisation and gigantism of the various monsters. In a time where proper iconisation seems to be rare, Kagewani, is once again, able to do it 13 times.
My only real regrets with this show is how, with the last episode, it shifts from horror to supernatural, but I remain curious to see the rest.
Do you know the word “grotesque” ? No, not in the “ridiculous” meaning – though the art plays against the show in the first episodes with ridiculous animations which discredit the tension of the show ; thankfully, it improves through the episodes – the style, more specifically when coming to monsters. I won’t give you a definition, looking at the show is the quickest way for you to know.
Combined with this style you can find two other styles : drawn-over photographies and more classical drawings.
The animation is an in-between anime and manga (there isn’t any illusion of movements like you would usually find in an anime, but it isn’t static as in a manga). Be it the presence of three distinctive styles or the animation, it can be rather repelling or create a certain dissonance. Ironically enough, it only participates as a reinforcement of horror. Well, ancient horror.
In that aspect….having a 7 minutes long show is rather smart. It doesn’t try developing its characters, and it isn’t the slightest necessary for what it is attempting to be nor should it as it would be an incredible loss of time for something so short.
A single chara is attempted to be more fleshed out, the recurrent Banba Sousuke (that name is ridiculous XD). There’s nothing much to say about it. It occurs later in the show and there’s very little offered in the end. Only the next season, if it comes out, can give a more valid view but even then, too much shouldn’t be expected, not in a negative way, but by simply remembering in front of what you are.
The people who did this had guts. Daring producing an old-fashioned horror fiction with such a different art style is a bet in itself, reuniting with “horror” and “grotesque” in their primal forms. Sadly, if we consider its rather low reception, they partly lost it. Which, in my opinion is a shame, but at the same time, not surprising. I can only wish for them to have just enough success to make a sequel or to be more precise, that the sequel won’t be cancelled.
I am aware this review has a rather formal approach of the show, but I felt it was necessary to bring it some justice ; and it was the form that entertained me the most.
Kagewani probably wouldn’t leave much of an impression with its first episode.The animation is very janky with everyone and everything moving awkwardly, and there’s nothing in its narrative set-up that suggests it would be something more than overly repetitive vignette of ‘random silly people getting offed by monster of the week’. However, it does feel like it ups its execution for every episode afterward, ultimately becoming a net positive experience for fans of this particular sub-genre.
The animation (which could be aptly described as something like motion comic) eventually gets easier on the eyes, along with the choreography. There’s enough variety of setting, beasts, and the way the characters react and try to outsmart them in each vignette to maintain my interest and keep me on the edge of my seat. I’m also satisfied by the level of storyboarding overall, with most episodes making effective use of its 7-minute runtime. The atmosphere is spot on, the many voice actors sound appropriately tense/frightened/determined, and suspense tends to be nicely built up leading to the climactic money shots—the definitive moments of the series where the camera reveals the featured beast in its full glory and monstrosity.
I may have fallen from my seat a few times while watching. Maybe it’s just the creaky chair, though.
The show’s format does make the attempt at overarching plot suffer a bit. Main character Sousuke Banba and his mysterious vibrating scar don’t really have anything interesting to do until around the last three episodes or so, and there are times when the end of an episode doesn’t transition well to the next one plot-wise. The ending itself is pretty nice, although it also left a few questions hanging in the air and tantalizing tease for a second season (which I’m not sure is coming, but I’m hopeful).
Kagewani’s a definite recommendation for anyone with slightest interest in kaijuu/cryptids/mythical monsters, and it’s also worth a few episodes’ try for others who wouldn’t be scared away by its general format and animation style.
2: Hataraku Onii-san! no 2!
English: Working Buddies! No 2!
MAL Score: 6.41
Second season of Hataraku Onii-san!.
Calico Tapio Chatorazawa has more energy than anyone, and Russian Blue Kuehiko Roshihara is a bit of a sourpuss. These two classmates will do all kinds of different jobs to learn how fun and hard it is to work!
(Source: Crunchyroll, edited)
1: Kagewani: Shou
English: Kagewani -II-
MAL Score: 6.44
After surviving the onslaught at Sarugaku headquarters, Sousuke Banba resumes his investigation of the Kagewani monster hybrids. Armed with the ability to harness the Kagewani’s power, the researcher now has a means to eliminate the creatures. But despite the benefits of this skill, it has one major drawback: Sousuke now struggles to maintain his sanity, with the power threatening to consume his body.
Soon, threats old and new begin to rear their heads, as the upper echelons of Sarugaku become active once again and an assassin with a personal vendetta sets her sights on Sousuke. Nevertheless, he resolutely forges ahead on his mission, determined to track down the origins of the Kagewani and eliminate their threat once and for all.
The episodes are pretty much all connected together and the plot is really exciting and easy to follow because it mostly revolves around Banba and his fight with Kagewani. The origin of Kagewani is also explained and there are some interesting new characters and new types of monsters as well. Some of the old characters will also appear but in a new light. The animation is beautiful and unique and the storyline is chilling and tense. The show ended on a massive cliffhanger, so hopefully there will be a season three.
What makes Kagewani: Shou a must watch anime show is the artistic portrayal of the characters and their involvement with the narrative and each other. The animation is unlike anything from other anime, it honestly looks and feels like a living and breathing coloured story straight from a Manga printing press. It also portrays the shows narrative to the ultimate climax at the end which deadly fight scenes and addictive dialogue. The music and sounds continue to feel like they were specifically chosen for their duty to create suspense, and giving that feeling of danger by sucking you into the story. Giving you feel you are there with the characters themselves, as they traverse the next chapter of the story.
The only downsides are one, the show will most certainly leave you craving more. and two (once again) the season is too short. Overall, this cult-classic of an anime show deserves attention of anime lovers all over the world. A must see for the anime obsessed.
They tried to squeeze in 20 minuets worth of story into only 7 minutes. As you can imagine, it became very clear that they did not know what to do with it.
The art and sound were okay, with the ‘squelching’ noise being the most clear. I liked the touch of binuaral here and there as characters voices shifted from ear to ear. One complaint I have about sound is that I feel that they rely too heavily on it. The ‘jump scares’ rely purely on noise, as they are very predictable. While I understand that sound is there to submerge the watcher in the video, I feel like it was over-used here. They should’ve focused on making a more unpredictable jump scare, if that’s what they were going for.
In conclusion, I believe that the first series was better and more enjoyable 🙂
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kagewani: Shou
2. Hataraku Onii-san! no 2!
4. Hataraku Onii-san!