Children of the Whales – Another Stop on the Netflix Journey

Enter a Storybook World…

Image result for children of the whalesOn an endless sea of sand floats a lone island known as the Mud Whale. It’s like something out of a story book, the villagers there living peaceful lives. Chakuro is one such person, he is a young record keeper for the Mud Whale. One day, a new island floats by and Chakuro is among those who go to scout it. There he makes a startling discovery, a lone girl named Lykos. However, with her discovery, the Mud Whale would soon lose their peaceful existence. Continue reading “Children of the Whales – Another Stop on the Netflix Journey”

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Domestic Girlfriend – The Right Kind of “Trashy”

Y’all Know I Love School Days, Right?

Well if you didn’t, you certainly do now. That’s why when the Winter 2019 season had a show called, Domestic Girlfriend, I would have to watch it. Took awhile for me to get to, but here I am. Today I’ll be exploring what sets this apart from the sea of trash that masquerades as something similar. Continue reading “Domestic Girlfriend – The Right Kind of “Trashy””

Anime ABC’s – U Voting Round

A Quick Turnaround!

I got to my review of Tokyo Godfathers from the last round very quickly. Being a film helped a lot of course. So we are having another voting round right away! This’ll be the 21st round, meaning we are on the letter “U” this time. It’s a pretty small pool, unsurprisingly, so I’m expecting a very tight race.

Remember, if a show is missing from the list, be sure to consult my alphabetized list of everything I’ve ever discussed here. If you don’t see it there, go ahead and vote for it using the “Other” option. Encourage other folks to vote for it as well, it could always win!

Anime ABC’s S Voting Round Link <- Click Me!

Voting is open from today until 8/21/19 11:59 PM as usual.

Not Sure What Anime ABC’s Is?

Anime ABC’s is a fun community focused event that I run here at Jon Spencer Reviews. Any and all people can participate in this event, even if you know nothing about anime! So how exactly does this all work? It’s simple! Just follow the link above and vote for as many of the listed shows (or provide your own) that seem interesting to you. Each round moves to the next letter in the alphabet, so the current “U” round is the twenty first anime ABC’s. This is done to keep things interesting and to allow for more variety with each passing round.

The goal of this series is to encourage community input, interaction, as well as to allow me to discover cool new shows, or in some cases, rediscover ones that I previously watched. You can check out my previous ABC reviews for:

Be sure to click on any of the titles listed above (you can’t click on the pictures below, the link thing doesn’t work in a collage) to see what a finished product will look like!

 

What are you waiting for? Vote now and have your say in what anime I review next!

Enter the Anime – Mini Review

It’s Not Even an Ad

Netflix released a “documentary” on August 5th, 2019 titled, Enter the Anime. The premise is simple enough, “What is anime?” and follows a newcomer to the industry, Alex Burunova, as she doesn’t proceed to do anything for approximately 50 minutes. If it had not been for this review, I would never have touched this film. Even in the first few minutes, it was so repulsive that I would have turned it off altogether. Yet here we are, as promised. Today I’ll be discussing Enter the Anime through the lens of a piece a marketing for Netflex, as it transparently seems to only exist to sell you on their shows (and it can’t even do that).

I’m going to be frank with you all. There is not a single positive thing I could say about this “documentary”. Even when it had something interesting to say, it was often cut off, impossible to decipher due to the hyperactive editing, or drowned in a sea of vapid nothingness. Just wanted to be upfront about that.

The thesis statement of this is to find out what anime is. It’s clear that the target audience is folks who have never seen an anime in their life, but it also expects the viewer to be familiar with the material as well. If I were totally new to anime, this would have turned me off to the medium entirely, and in the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain why.

First, Burunova constantly talks about how “clean” and pristine Japan is as a nation but then says that anime is made by these “deranged” individuals who are the fringe of their society. This is not only extremely offensive, and mindbogglingly baffling that this was ever released, it implies that there is this level of taboo to the medium.

She also takes every moment to be as edgy as possible. I hate the “fellow kids” kind of comments people make about things when people are genuinely trying to connect to multiple generations, but this was exactly that. There is a moment where they say that a character in Baki says, “I don’t give a fuck” and she follows that up by saying, “Unlike Baki, I do give a fuck”. Which I guess is an alright line if it weren’t ruined by things like, “The Instagram royalty of yore” or whatever that stupid line is.

Image result for enter the anime
Oh right, guess I was a bit off, like it matters though…

Burunova is like this from minute one. She is a terrible narrator and host.

This is followed up by showing the most graphic content that Netflix anime has to offer. Seriously, nonstop. To the “documentary’s” credit, there is a very brief section on “cute culture” and how “anime is for kids”, but it comes so late in, and is so short, that it may well not even have been included.

Finally, the editing and presentation of any topic is just plain awful. It is so transparent that this is just a giant ad for Netflix anime, especially the CG shows (which is fine), that it goes as far as to undermine its entire premise in the opening minutes.

Let me explain, the first interview is with the Castlevania guy. You know, not a Japanese person or a show even made in Japan. I’m not one of those people who think anime is only something from Japan either, but this really undercut any credibility anyone might have for what’s to come, and not just for this reason.

The guy is a massive weirdo! He starts things off by telling the audience that he is a “time traveler” and wastes almost 12 minutes of the runtime talking about his DOG and Kanye West of all things. What does that have to do with anime?

Image result for enter the anime
“Professional” editing…

Even when they do finally talk to some industry people, half of the “interviews” are just… nothing. The worst instance of this was when they left a phone call with Yoko Takahashi’s manager in the “documentary”, instead of talking about NGE (which they never even mention by name for some reason) or showing her performance beyond a few seconds. It was just bad.

Oh yeah! They even recycled footage in this 50 minute piece of garbage. Can you believe that? More than once too! There’s no substance here. One interviewee talked about how many people don’t know him because Netflix lets you skip OP’s and ED’s, but that is given like 2 seconds. Almost all of them laugh about the lack of sleep they get, as if it is some joke you need to “get” about the industry. It was frustrating to watch.

Ok, so what was the point then? Like I said, this is meant to push Netflix shows. I think that’s fine, but they don’t really show much off, and a lot of the things they chose were the edgiest and least accessible titles. Even just choosing from among their “original” properties, they really did not offer variety here. It made anime feel immature, hyper violent, and kind of obnoxious.

Furthermore, they chose almost exclusively CG shows, where much, or even all, of the product was not animated in 2D. Again, this would be fine except that just isn’t what anime is on the whole. Same can be said for the last point.

Also there was this strange focus on titles that haven’t even come out yet. Some not until 2020. This was really dumb, because when those things were stacked up alongside this train wreck, it didn’t make me want to watch them. Seriously, I have less confidence in some of these shows because they were in this “documentary”.

In a lot of ways, this would have been better as a mini series with proper time given to all its topics. The question of “what is anime?” is answered in a lot of ways: culture, food, style, etc… but ultimately settles on saying it doesn’t matter. It chooses to abandon its core premise to say “it brings people together” and “it gives a voice to the outcasts” but, I just couldn’t help but feel it was pandering. Void of all meaning. A genuine waste of time, and a massive mistake on the part of Netflix.


This is slightly longer than the max character limit of 1,000 words I set for these mini reviews, but this was just that bad. I tried to stay focused on the marketing angle, but I just couldn’t avoid airing grievances. Let me know if you liked this in the comments, please tell me how you managed to do that. Support my stuff via the Ko-fi button below. See ya in the next one folks.

Anime ABC’s T is for Tokyo Godfathers

Remembering a Legend

Image result for tokyo godfathersIf there is one person I’ve wanted to talk about for some time now, it’s the late Satoshi Kon. I’ve seen nearly all of his work and it is something that is certainly worth talking about, but finding the words hasn’t been easy. However, you guys voted and here we are today to discuss the 2003 film Tokyo Godfathers. If you are here just looking for a recommendation, you have it in full. This is a great movie to watch whenever, but especially around Christmas time. You can find the film pretty easily and legally, so go out and watch it. Continue reading “Anime ABC’s T is for Tokyo Godfathers”

Anime ABC’s T Results

It Was The Battle of the Films!

With 22 unique voters it soon became apparent that this was a fight between films. The other titles, with the exception of Trigun, didn’t even get close! For a long time it was between the following:

  • The tale of Princess Kaguya
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Tokyo Godfathers
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

It wasn’t until the last few votes rolled in that these four movies even diverged from each other. Soon it was apparent, our winner was…

Tokyo Godfathers! I’ve actually seen this one before but I love Satoshi Kon’s stuff and  am looking forward to revisiting this one as a late “Christmas in July” type deal. I can tell you now, if you haven’t seen this one, it is well worth your time. To find out why, you’ll just have to wait for my review 😉

Since this is a film, I’ll probably get around to this fairly quickly, so please keep an eye out and look forward to it. Until then consider checking out the previous winner, Silver Spoon or my big alphabetized list of every anime I’ve reviewed.

As always, the breakdown of the votes can be found below. It seems again that I forgot to include a show, Time of Eve when it came to this list, but at least 1 person gave it some love with the “other” option. Trust me guys, it is tricky putting these lists together!

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Other – Tsurune, Time of Eve, To Love-Ru, and Tekkaman Blade

Rec – Supporting Each Other

Life Sometimes Takes Unexpected Turns

Image result for rec animeThe other day I was listening to Digi talk about his favorite OP’s on YouTube when he reminded me that Rec existed as an anime. I was in the mood to watch a romance show, and at only 9 episodes, each really only ~12 minutes apiece, I decided to give it a watch. It’s a Shaft production and I had some expectations for something interesting, so, was it? Continue reading “Rec – Supporting Each Other”

7 Seeds – Mini Review

Worse than Hero Mask?!?

Image result for 7 seeds animeI’ll save you the trouble, yes, 7 Seeds was a worse Netflix show than Hero Mask was. That’s really saying something, and a massive disappointment because this show is based on a very well regarded manga that is extremely interesting! This adaptation does have the intrigue, but it fails on almost every level to execute on any of it.

Long time readers will know that studio Gonzo and I have a history as I’ve watched a surprisingly large amount of their library. It’s impressive that they are still producing stuff even today, like in today’s case with 7 Seeds. Even though I think this show is rubbish, it does live up to my main thought on Gonzo’s work:  not all of their shows are good, but they are all at least interesting.

This is a doomsday survival story. The world is about to end, so the government forms teams of people, putting them in cryosleep, so that they can one day rebuild society long after the remainder of humanity has been wiped out as a last resort. It’s such a strong premise, which I am not doing justice to.

I was just praising Phantom in my last article for how well it adapted its source material by making changes, that I feel kind of bad about what I have to say on 7 Seeds’s behalf. It too makes changes, but it really doesn’t work at all. Shots are pretty faithful to the manga, the issue more lies in that an episode could cover up to 10 chapters of the manga at a time. That’s absurd!

All of this isn’t helped by the fact that the anime chooses to jump all over the place, following various groups of people, some even on unique timelines. It isn’t like things are hard to follow, but stuff is just constantly happening and way too quickly. Especially the bad stuff.

Image result for 7 seeds anime
This arc was just way too much for me, and I LIKE dark stuff…

What I mean by that, is the bad things that happen to the characters. Even if you somehow cared for any of them (seriously, there are maybe 3 I didn’t totally hate), you have no down time to appreciate when they have a moment of calm. Unrelentless is how I would describe this, it just keeps throwing tragic event, after tragic event.

On the note about the characters, they are all terrible, even the supposed “good guys” from the “good teams”. Let me give you an example, one character hates another character because he is kind of a coward. She does horrible stuff to him and others. Later, he dies to save her life and MAGICALLY she gives a huge speech about how much she loved and cared about the dude. It all feels so fake. These don’t even feel like characters.

It wasn’t all bad though, like I said. There was a lot of cool world building details and concepts tossed around. 7 Seeds even managed TWO whole (mostly) effective story beats! One was about an underground shelter, the first way the government tried to protect people. This was the more effective of the two, even if it was a little goofy and over the top in places. The second was about Jesus, but he’s good at baseball and also has dogs. It was just his backstory.

Otherwise, the animation was baffling in terms of how bad it was. The character’s look great, aside from the gross hair thing, which is cool because the manga art would not have translated well to animation. Music was a joke, even the OP and ED. I’ve already spoken to the writing and direction, so that’s it really.

I guess there is one pretty big thing left. 7 Seeds doesn’t even have an ending! Netflix really has a bad habit of not finishing what they start when it comes to these “original” projects. Thankfully, I do know that the second half of this series is coming soon, but it was a pretty big mistake to leave things hanging like they did.

Not going to lie, I was still interested in watching to see how things progressed. The world was interesting and critiquing the issues with things was fun for me. However, leaving off on what I wouldn’t even call a cliff hanger, literally just cutting from the middle of what feels like a normal episode, was gross. It also wasn’t clear that this was meant to just be a part 1 either.

Should mention, the dub is not bad. Anyway, this trailer doesn’t look too bad, does it? Yeah, I wish it was true…

Of course it isn’t hard to figure that out once you finish the “final” episode, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. Clearly, I mean I’m on my third paragraph about it now. Do yourself a favor, totally pass on 7 Seeds. If you really want to check it out, at least wait until the second half drops on Netflix so you (hopefully) get a complete product.


Did you make the mistake of watching 7 Seeds? Totally disagree with me here? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Consider dropping a few bucks my way by hitting the Ko-fi button below if you like my articles here. Thanks for reading and see ya soon!

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom – A Near Perfect Adaptation

The Best Bee Train Show I’ve Seen

Maybe you haven’t heard of Bee Train as a studio, but they have less than a stellar reputation. You probably have heard of Gen Urobuchi, known for such series as Psycho-Pass and Madoka Magica. So what happens when these two get together to adapt one of Urobuchi’s early visual novels? Well, you get Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, a dramatic tale of two assassins filled to the brim with twists and turns. Continue reading “Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom – A Near Perfect Adaptation”

Anime ABC’s – T Voting Round

Spoiled for Choice!

The 20th round is started folks! The “T” round has a lot of excellent options, which I curated down to a manageable number of shows. Remember, if a show is missing from the list, be sure to consult my alphabetized list of everything I’ve ever discussed here. If you don’t see it there, go ahead and vote for it using the “Other” option. Encourage other folks to vote for it as well, it could always win! Finally, you can catch up with the latest review in the series covering Silver Spoon here.

Anime ABC’s S Voting Round Link <- Click Me!

Voting is open from today until 7/31/19 11:59 PM as usual.

Not Sure What Anime ABC’s Is?

Anime ABC’s is a fun community focused event that I run here at Jon Spencer Reviews. Any and all people can participate in this event, even if you know nothing about anime! So how exactly does this all work? It’s simple! Just follow the link above and vote for as many of the listed shows (or provide your own) that seem interesting to you. Each round moves to the next letter in the alphabet, so the current “T” round is the twentieth anime ABC’s. This is done to keep things interesting and to allow for more variety with each passing round.

The goal of this series is to encourage community input, interaction, as well as to allow me to discover cool new shows, or in some cases, rediscover ones that I previously watched. You can check out my previous ABC reviews for:

Be sure to click on any of the titles listed above (you can’t click on the pictures below, the link thing doesn’t work in a collage) to see what a finished product will look like!

What are you waiting for? Vote now and have your say in what anime I review next!