Anime ABC’s – Q Voting Round?

Welcome to Redemption!

This is the 17th voting round of the Anime ABC’s series and normally we’d be choosing between titles that begin with the letter, “Q” but this round is going to work a little differently. You see, there are not very many anime that start with this letter, and the few that I could feasibly watch, I have absolutely zero interest in. So instead, this is a redemption round where second place losers from the rounds prior get the chance to have their day in the sun!

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

Voting will remain open from today until 1/16/18 at 11:59 PM PST per the norm.

There were a few options where I more than one title was a previous runner up and in those cases I made a call or chose the title that hadn’t already been reviewed (as was the case in some instances). Including this in case you go back through each round and see how each round shook out because it wouldn’t line up exactly otherwise.

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 “P” round is the sixteenth 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:  Anohana, Bacanno!, Code Geass, The Devil is a Part-Timer, ErasedFlowers of Evil, Gunslinger Girl (S1-2 + OVA’s), Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying, Joker GameKimi no Na waLittle Witch Academia, Mob Psycho 100, NHK ni Youkoso!, Ouran High School Host Clubor Psycho-Pass. by clicking either of their respective titles for examples of what the end result looks like.

 

So what are you waiting for? Vote now and be sure to come back next week to see which show ended up winning this round.

 

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Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues – Mini Review

It Was Interesting

Mr. Tonegawa:  Middle Management Blues, or just, Tonegawa for short, was a show I watched from the Summer 2018 season more out of obligation than because I genuinely wanted to. My relationship with the original series that this is a spin-off of, Kaiji, is a somewhat rocky one. You can view my thoughts on both season 1 and season 2 of that series to get the full picture. Still, this promised me comedy and Tonegawa is a character I liked so there was some hope for this series. Did it manage some laughs and did I like it? Let’s find out!

For those of you who may not be familiar, Tonegawa follows one of the antagonists from the original Kaiji series. He’s the number two man for a (sort of) evil loan-type organization know as the Teiai Corporation. His job is to keep the crazy president of the company happy, but it isn’t easy since he is into seeing the darkest parts of humanity in increasingly sick and twisted ways.

Don’t let that fool you though, this is a comedy for the most part. While Tonegawa certainly straddles the line with some rather dark comedy, especially if you’ve seen Kaiji’s first season, it is overall a fairly tame affair. Really, the show is at its best in these moments but they are far-and-few-between.

When an episode landed, say episode 3 for example, it really landed. However, most episodes were only minorly funny or simply wholly uninteresting. Still, there is a charm here that kept me watching in spite of all that. While it felt like a slog across its 24 episodes at times, there would be streaks of good episodes or that one thing that made watching worth it each week.

Image result for Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues
If you haven’t seen the show, what do you think is going on here?

Part of this is enjoying all the nods to Kaiji. Even though I wasn’t a big fan, I do really enjoy referential works that I get. There are a lot! Some of them make scenarios in the original very absurd, to the point where you’d never be able to take them seriously, and others were just respectful nods.

At the halfway point I was having a decent time. Then the show decided to pivot and it really suffered for that. It decided to incorporate some season two stuff and follow a different character who is, for one, less interesting, and two, somebody you shouldn’t like at all if you’ve seen Kaiji’s second season.

Image result for Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management BluesNo longer a comedy, instead it became a foodie’s dream show. It wasn’t like these episodes were terrible but this show was supposed to be about Tonegawa, right? I don’t want to follow Ootsuki. They do bring it all together at one point, but it really wasn’t enough to justify the lengthy diversion.

By the homestretch, it does focus again solely on Tonegawa but these were among the least interesting episodes. It even had the audacity to throw itself a party for the last episode. You know what though? I was fine with it. Part of me was relieved that the show was finally over but the other part of me thought that Tonegawa had earned its ending. The show had fun, wanted you to have fun watching, and at the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask for.

Image result for Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues

Some quick thoughts that didn’t make it into the main review here. The various, “Zawa, zawa’s” and iterations thereof, were all done by different actors each episode. I liked that. This is by far one of the biggest things that is unique to Kaiji and having this much dedication and attention put to making this really standout even more in this series was a very good touch.

Furthermore, the opening changed quite often to reflect things that had occurred from episode-to-episode. While you probably won’t catch them at first, by the end of the show it is like night and day with the amount of little things that have changed with time. It’s an underutilized treat when animators go that extra mile to really make a show stick out just that much more. I was impressed.

I could only find the dub trailer, but it captures some of the spirit rather well

While I wouldn’t say this show was all that great, I did enjoy it. Somehow, it was better for me, even if a lot of it just wasn’t all that interesting. Tonegawa is something that die-hard Kaiji fans NEED to watch, and if you’ve never seen Kaiji, it may spark some interest. However, it really is something made for fans and I can respect that.


What are your thoughts on Tonegawa and were you a fan of Kaiji? Let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to support the work I do here please consider hitting my donation button and tossing a few bucks my way. Lastly, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to read this and I hope to see you back here again soon!

The wordpress anime awards 2018: Ladies and Gentlemen, the results are in!

The results are in. Be sure to hop on over and see what took home the prize in each of the categories. This was fun to do and I hope you all had fun joining us! 😀

You guys are getting spoiled for posts this week. The normal MWF on top of the weekend?!? Look forward to more great content not only from myself, but every-single-person who helped out with this. Give ’em all a follow why don’t you?

Raistlin0903

Hello everybody,

What better way to start the year then with a look back, or more precisely the results of the first ever anime awards that were held on WordPress. After a careful selection by a wonderful group of performers: Cactus Matt, Derek Lyons, Marthaurion, Matt Doyle, Jon Spencer, Karandi, Star & Luna, BiblioNyan, Lethargic Ramblings, Ano Nora, Ty-chama, Mech Anime Reviews, itsaanimething, and myself, our intrepid ringmaster the great and wonderful Ayano presented all the categories to you in this  amazing post. After that all of you voted for your favorites for which we all thank you so much! But alas, the carnival closed at the stroke of midnight on december the 31st 2018. However, the carnival has one last trick up it’s sleave, and that’s presenting you with the results of your votes. Before…

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New Year, New Game – Try an RPG this Year!

BONUS POST!

The other day I made a series of tweets about DrivethruRPG’s New Year, New Game sale and put together a curated list of RPG’s in the sale that you should check out. Of course you can view that thread here, but I thought folks might appreciate the easier to read/navigate layout. I also cut it down to just 10 entries. Consider trying a tabletop role-playing (TRPG) game this year, I have something for everybody here:  kids, adults, big groups or small, and even ones you can play by yourself! Continue reading “New Year, New Game – Try an RPG this Year!”

The First Anniversary of the Jon’s Creator Showcase – A Warm Thank You & Submission Update

CONGRATULATIONS!

Thanks to YOU and the efforts of the community Jon’s Creator Showcase is now celebrating its first successful year! To think, this project was almost completely shutdown after the first month of operation, and there was a bit of a rough patch towards the end, but everything worked out and it is now a fairly beloved staple in our community here. To every single person who has hosted, submitted, or promoted the project in any way:

THANK YOU!

Continue reading “The First Anniversary of the Jon’s Creator Showcase – A Warm Thank You & Submission Update”

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Film Review

Grade: A

Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

I never would have thought that an animated ‘Spider-Man’ movie would be the best in the series, but here we are. ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is the type of film that respects its superhero and history while also being entertaining and meaningful. It tells the story of Miles Morales (making his on-screen debut), and his own personal journey to become Spider-Man. Most comic book fans know that Peter Parker was not the only webslinger who has existed. Throughout the years, there have been many incarnations of Spider-Man, and most are represented in many different animation styles. 

Continue reading “‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Film Review”

Haiku Warrior – Fighting Warrior, Fend off Discord in the Land, Wear Neat Hats & Boots

A Role Playing Game Told Entirely Through Haiku?

Image result for haiku warriorFor Christmas this year I received a few games, as did some of my friends. Naturally, we deiced to give one of them a spin during one of our (mostly) weekly get-togethers. This time we chose to play Haiku Warrior, a game created by Jason Anarchy, who has also created other party-style games, most notably Drinking Quest. Claiming to be a role playing game told entirely through haiku, does Haiku Warrior deliver, and most importantly, is it fun? Continue reading “Haiku Warrior – Fighting Warrior, Fend off Discord in the Land, Wear Neat Hats & Boots”

Zombieland Saga – Mini Review

HELLO EVERYBODY!

Related imageThe Fall 2018 season of anime brought with it several interesting anime but one was a pretty big mystery at the start, Zombieland Saga. Nobody really knew what this show was going to be, outside of it plausibly containing zombies. It was with great surprise to many, myself included in this, that it was an idol show of all things. Not a fan of shows like Love Live!? Wait! Don’t go… Zombieland Saga may just be for you, so let me tell you why.

One of the big draws of this anime is its premise. Zombie idol girls? Sure! Cold opening with main character Sakura hurrying out the door, excited to apply to an idol group, only to end up getting hit by a truck (in the slap-stick comedy kind of way, complete with metal-type music). It’s one heck of a hook that immediately sets the tone. Zombieland Saga isn’t going to take itself seriously, or at least, that’s what it wants you to think.

A major problem some folks have with idol anime is the large cast and melodrama surrounding every little event. While it would be wrong to say that this show doesn’t have any of that, it largely avoids this problem with the prior established tone and a greater focus set on providing biting commentary on the current real-life state of the idol industry.

Related image

Each character represents different facets of the idol industry, which is achieved because each girl is, well, a zombie! Since most of the girls get a dedicated episode you learn more about certain aspects of not only that character, but the context of what being an idol was during their time in life. In this way the show is very clever.

Zombieland Saga also chastises how the idol industry treats people now. Restrictions on the girls dating, overwork, and several other issues are also explored. Generally, these are given a comedic slant with the girls’ manager, Tatsumi, Koutarou (voiced by Miyano, Mamoru of Steins;Gate fame, by the way) screaming at them about how he can do whatever he wants with each of them because they are zombies.

Image result for zombieland saga lilyLastly the show wasn’t afraid to feature socially forward thinking through the character, Lily. She’s a trans person, and idols like this do exist in real life. For an example just look at K-Pop’s Harisu. Zombieland Saga isn’t the first, and surely not the last, anime to do this in the idol genre, but it was handled particularly well (even if fan reaction wasn’t….). Even if you don’t agree with this sort of thing, it is out there in the real world and deserves a place for exploration in media like this.

Ok, so maybe one reason you’ve avoided an idol show in the past is the music. Fair enough. Well Zombieland Saga is going to go to some outright weird places as far as your typical idol show is concerned. Death metal, rap, the more traditional songs, and even a commercial jingle! There is a fair amount of variety here and it just works. Don’t like a song? No problem, the next one is going to be different.

On the subject of music, the OP is super stylized. It’s not even something I can explain fully so please check it out for yourself (provided below). What’s more? You can listen to the OP and ED for free on Spotify if you would like as well!

All-in-all the story here is interesting, especially as a gateway into other idol anime. It does a surprisingly good job of cluing you into the culture surrounding this type of media, the story beats, and can even get you generally excited for/invested in the very characters.

However, this does lead me to the bad bits of the show which prevent it from being as good as it should have been. First off, the pacing towards the end is not very good and basically repeats an arc twice in a row. The context for this is fine, but it wasn’t exactly the most interesting to watch. Then you have the actual ending itself, which was, in a word, unsatisfying.

Zomebieland Saga feels like a big prologue for a much larger story that you might see from the longer-running idol anime like Love Live!. A fair number of the plots are tied up and you know the general outline of why/how every character relates to each other and the events occurring, but it just feels incomplete despite that.

I had to include the ridiculous trailer XD

Still, I would ultimately recommend Zombieland Saga, especially if you’ve never watched an idol show before or are looking to get into them. For all the playing around with the troupes these types of anime contain, it still plays into them just as hard but in a way that doesn’t take itself overly seriously. Plus, it was genuinely one of the better shows of the season.


Did you enjoy Zombieland Saga? Are you a long-time idol anime fan, or was this your first time? Going to watch other idol shows now? Let me know all this and more in the comments below! Please support my content creation by clicking my donation button and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!

It’s a Terrible Day for Rain – Exploring the Storyteller’s Kit

It’s Raining & I’m Sad

We’ve all watched a TV show, film, or anime where somebody dies and then, as if by magic, it begins to rain. It’s a tried and true cliché that can be utilized to brilliant effect, or come off as incredibly corny depending on the context. Join me as I explore three examples of rain scenes in anime. One superb, one interesting, and one just plain bad. The shows I’ll be using for my examples are:  Akame ga KillLove, Election and Chocolate, and finally, Fullmetal Alchemist:  Brotherhood.

A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it -Unkown

Continue reading “It’s a Terrible Day for Rain – Exploring the Storyteller’s Kit”

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Film Review

Grade: A-

John C. Reilly, Ming-Na Wen, Brad Garrett, Irene Bedard, Kristen Bell, Jodi Benson, Bill Hader, Jennifer Hale, Taraji P. Henson, Linda Larkin, Jane Lynch, Kelly Macdonald, Idina Menzel, Mandy Moore, Paige O'Hara, Anika Noni Rose, Sarah Silverman, Alan Tudyk, Pamela Ribon, Jack McBrayer, Kate Higgins, Gal Gadot, Timothy Simons, Ali Wong, and Auli'i Cravalho in Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Out of all the modern Disney movies that has come out in recent years, none has ever tackled the subject of the internet more than ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, the long-awaited sequel to ‘Wreck-it Ralph’. While most people are looking forward to ‘Frozen 2’ (Seriously, who was?), I was waiting for ‘Wreck-it Ralph 2’ to finally be made. Though, one could argue whether a sequel was truly necessary when the first film was great on its own. Thankfully, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ does not lose its sense of social commentary or charm when compared to ‘Wreck-it Ralph’.

Continue reading “‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Film Review”