The End of Phase 1 – Important Information Regarding the Future of Jon Spencer Reviews

The Day is Here Folks!

If you’ve been following me for awhile then you already know that I’ve been talking about this mysterious “first phase”, and how that phase ends officially today:  10/18/19 at 11:00 AM PST. I’m also sure that most of you are wondering just what the heck is going on, how, or if, things will be effected here, and just what all of phase 1 even entailed. Fear not friends, I will answer all of your questions (and likely more) in this update. Please be sure to read this in full so you know everything that’s going on moving forward. Continue reading “The End of Phase 1 – Important Information Regarding the Future of Jon Spencer Reviews”

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest – Finalizing the Production Discussion

People Clearly Liked This, it Received a Season 2

Last week I covered two series where I discussed how production values and writing quality can impact the enjoyment of the series. These two series were Demon Slayer and Cop Craft. In the case of the first anime, I discussed how the fantastic visuals and sound meant little in the end due to obnoxious characters and poor writing. Production values made it watchable, but not much else. Cop Craft, on the other hand, had tons of issues in the production department. Still, this managed to be enjoyable for fun characters and (mostly) decent writing. So how does this all relate to Arifureta? Continue reading “Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest – Finalizing the Production Discussion”

Granbelm – Mini Review

Magical Girls & Mecha?

Image result for granbelm animeWell not quite, but it’s close enough. Granbelm is an original 13 episode series that aired in the Summer 2019 lineup. It had a fair bit of buzz around its production staff, most notably for the connections to Re:Zero as both productions share a director and character designer. The big question is if this lived up to the hype or not, so, did it?

The short answer is, yeah, mostly. It was a solid show with a seemingly impossible production (there was an episode animated by ONE person for heaven’s sake). In a word, Granbelm was consistent.

The long answer is that Granbelm was more consistent than Re:Zero, but it lacked something that the latter had. I really can’t identify what this was exactly, but I just couldn’t get into this series the same way. That’s saying something because it wasn’t exactly like I loved Re:Zero or anything like that.

Maybe it was the weird mech designs, or perhaps the short length of 13 episodes wasn’t enough time for characters to fully blossom. I sincerely can’t identify one thing that was truly wrong with Granbelm, but there was something holding it back.

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Take Nene for example, she got a lot of screentime, but I feel like her story was incomplete

However, I feel like if you liked shows such as Madoka or the WIXOSS seriesthere will be something here for you. Is it as good? Definitely not. Was it one of the shows I actively looked forward to during the season? Absolutely, yes.

Really, what better endorsement could there be? It’s getting compared to some legitimately excellent shows, so clearly Granbelm is doing something right here. Some downright impressive moments of visual flair, decent depth of ideas, and the story is pretty dang unique. I don’t know about you, but I’ve not seen mages need to duke things out in a magical realm, between space and time no less, with astral mecha before. That’s just the surface.

I’m genuinely conflicted here because I am excited by Granbelm and the unique things it brought to the table. It was really well produced (outside of that terrible ED, I can’t fathom that), most the characters were pretty great, and it reminded me of shows I really loved. However, it was just missing something. That’s really all there is to it.

I probably sound like a broken record in this review, but I do recommend Granbelm for what it’s worth. This one does need a little time to get going, but once it does it actually does you’ll probably want to binge through. That’s about it for me folks. Give Granbelm a try if you haven’t already.

What are your thoughts on Granbelm? Did you feel it was missing something that stopped it from being truly great? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you want to support my work, please utilize the donation buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Cop Craft – This Deserved Better

Oh, What Could Have Been…

You may recall earlier this week that I reviewed the fan favorite series, Demon Slayer rather poorly despite its great visuals and other production values. What it came down to was unlikable characters and some pretty poor writing at key moments. However, Cop Craft is almost the exact opposite of that. Lacking in terms of production but the cast was good fun with a story that managed to wrap itself up rather nicely in spite of itself. Continue reading “Cop Craft – This Deserved Better”

Demon Slayer – Production Values Only Take You so Far…

At One Point, I Dreaded Watching Each Week

I’ve been putting off writing about Demon Slayer because it is a really popular show, but one I really struggled with watching. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals are amazing, it has excellent music, and there are moments of brilliant direction. However, all of that doesn’t mean much when the show has an unlikable cast and problems with its writing. If you can look past that, it’s probably going to be one of the best anime of the year, but for me… Demon Slayer just falls incredibly flat. Continue reading “Demon Slayer – Production Values Only Take You so Far…”

The Ones Within – Mini Review

What Did I Even Watch?

When I was giving my Summer 2019 impressions I wrote this about The Ones Within:

Based on the first episode, I don’t really get how or why anything is happening. Streamers are forced into a contest of sorts, which has life-or-death stakes, but also not?

-My Summer 2019 Impressions

Now, after all 12 episodes I really can’t say my understanding of the show has really increased much further. This isn’t to say that a compelling story didn’t emerge through all this, but where everything is eventually heading to, and why, is totally unknown.

What The Ones Within really boils down to is a quirky slice-of-life show with these bizarre games tossed in to drum up some drama and tension between the cast. Really, the cast is what is going to keep you watching along with these unusual games. That’s the only reason I stuck around and I don’t regret it one bit.

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Eventually, a small mystery begins to unfold when it is discovered that past players are stowing away in the walls of the game space, but it just isn’t explored in enough detail to provide you with anything more than wild speculation. Part of the reason for this is in how this show handled its adaptation. For anime only folks like myself (I had a chat with some folks on Reddit), whole plots are dropped up until the very end which only adds to the ambiguity of certain events and a very confusing ending.

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I didn’t have room to mention this, but the visuals for this show were weirdly good. I don’t really know how to explain it, but they really mixed things up while having a strange consistency.

Speaking of the ending, it was horrible as a stopping point. While the cast has a moment of, “Look how far we’ve come, we totally got this!”, as a viewer, you feel like you’re waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. The thing is, it never does. It’s just a quirky, low-stakes episode that seems to promise more but really just leaves you hanging.

In a completely incomprehensible move, The Ones Within randomly decides to introduce its B cast, the folks in the outside world who are connected to the ones in the game, but outside of very minor context clues, it isn’t even clear who they are. This is what I was getting at with the weird adaptation thing.

For the web manga, the outside folks have a story that runs (mostly) in tandem with our principle cast. The anime cuts all of that completely until the very final episode. I suppose that the switching back and forth could have lead to another King’s Game situtation, but I would have rather taken that then this nonsense approach.

Supposedly this is getting an OVA episode… eventually. Perhaps that will offer some necessary answers? I’m not holding my breath but should I gain access to this episode, I will give it a watch and try to amend this article at a later date.

The source material isn’t too far in, but this really needed to be at least 24 episodes. There is a lot of intrigue in everything going on, but it ultimately ends up being so background that, in a small way, I do feel a bit swindled. Again, I don’t think I wasted my time watching, but I could understand if you said you did.

With all this under consideration, would I recommend The Ones Within? Yes, so long as you are comfortable with the fact that this is woefully incomplete. Normally that’s a big turnoff, but the cast really did have great chemistry. Plus, it was just fun! Himiko is still best girl, just in case any of you were wondering too.

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Her design is so good!

If you actually watched The Ones Within, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Truly an enigma this one is. Like what I’m doing? Consider becoming a Patron or making a small one-time donation via Ko-fi. Just click the corresponding button below for more details. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you back here again soon!

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Remnant: From the Ashes – My Game of the Year

Darksouls with Guns?

It’s very rare for me to want to jump on a new game, especially at a $40 price point given my current level of income, but Gunfire Games convinced me with Remnant:  From the Ashes. What’s often hailed as “Darksouls, but with guns”, I was skeptical that I would enjoy this game given my relationship with both Darksouls and Bloodborne. They are frustrating games that I just don’t really enjoy that much, so what exactly makes Remnant click for me? Let’s dive in and find out why this is my game of the year. Continue reading “Remnant: From the Ashes – My Game of the Year”

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? – Or Mom Isekai for Short

Well I Liked it…

Image result for Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka?I don’t really know what possessed me to pick this show up, but I did.  Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?MILF Isekai, or as I’ll refer to it as, Mom Isekai is an odd duck that really doesn’t look like it would have anything that would interest me. However, after completing all 12 episodes, I have to say that I kind of liked it. Continue reading “Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? – Or Mom Isekai for Short”

Engaged to the Unidentified – Mini Review

Watched for the Memes

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Specifically the one shown above, though there are more. I didn’t know much about Engaged to the Unidentified but had heard some nice things about. That’s why I decided to watch it recently while I was waiting between things. All I can say after watching this is, it totally makes sense that this is a Doga Kobo show.

Basic plot of this one is that our main character, Kobeni is a pretty average girl who one day has her life changed when she is informed that she is to be betrothed to a boy named Hakuya. Apparently he is a childhood friend, but Kobeni can’t remember much about that time ever since the accident, which Hakuya apparently saved her life during. That’s what the show would have you believe at least.

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While there is a hint of rom-com, and the mystery of the accident is explored to some degree, the real star of the show is Mashiro. She’s the loli girl, just in case that wasn’t clear. For all extents and purposes, she may well be the main character. Given far and away the most screentime, serving as the main catalyst for nearly every event.

The opening doesn’t place too much emphasis on Mashiro, though she is right up alongside the protagonist the entire time. However, the ED is almost exclusively about her, to the point where the male lead and the others are relegated to the side off-stage or blended into the background. It was an odd detail, well until I realized something.

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Mashiro thought Benio was bad…

What I didn’t realize this was a Doga Kobo show at first, but by the end of the 12th episode, when the credits were rolling, I saw it there. It really made the weirdness of giving Mashiro so much focus make a lot of sense. In case you don’t know, Doga Kobo is responsible for such shows as Summer 2019’s, How heavy are the dumbbells you lift? and last year’s, UzaMaid!. Though, they have a whole host of other shows, what I think of when I think Doga Kobo shows is cute girls, especially lolis.

Basically, you should know EXACTLY what you are getting into with Engaged to the Unidentified should you pick it up. I used UzaMaid! in my example shows because, unfortunately, this anime ends up being a mix of that and your more typical shoujo romance with a fantasy slant.

What drug the show down wasn’t Mashiro having so much attention, it was actually the lead’s sister, Benio that was the problem. She’s a hardcore lolicon, but she’s a bit extreme, almost to the point of UzaMaid! territory. While I don’t have a big issue with this stuff, I didn’t like how invasive Benio felt. The “gag” is overused, to the point where that’s really all Benio’s character is. She just loves “Marshmallow”, which is a cute name for Mashiro, I must admit.

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Run Mashiro, run! Don’t let Benio catch you!

Unfortunately, Engaged to the Unidentified is kind of over-hyped. Don’t get me wrong, I generally enjoyed it, but outside of two things, I found myself feeling a bit bored with the show. It feels really average. So what were the two things that kept me interested?

  1. Mashiro of course! I did really enjoy her character and loved seeing her interactions with the cast. She was one of the actually funny parts of the show too. Her character never wore thin on me, which is good. For the real focus of a lot of the show, this is an excellent thing in its favor.
  2. I really wanted to know what happened to Kobeni and learn more about the (and this is a small spoiler by the way) beings that Hakuya and Mashiro were. Unfortunately, this is not explored well at all, to the point where it barely matters outside a few key instances.

Otherwise, the show was just average at the best of times. Nothing to write home about. If Mashiro weren’t in the show, it’d be very boring indeed. If you want to see a cute loli girl and have some romance stuff going on the side, then I suppose this would be for you. Otherwise, you can probably get the full enjoyment from the GIF’s I’ve placed throughout.

Image result for engaged to the unidentified mashiro gif

I give this one 10 Mashiro’s out of 10, for Mashiro… just Mashiro though. Jokes aside, what are your thoughts on Engaged to the Unidentified? The 4-koma manga clearly has a lot more to tell, so I’d love to hear about that as well. If you enjoy my writing, click the Ko-fi button below and buy me a coffee or two to keep me going. Thanks for stopping by, and see you for the next one!

Astra Lost in Space – Best of Season

Classic Sci-fi Mystery & Adventure

When my buddy pitched Astra Lost in Space to me at the start of the Summer 2019 season, he described it as:

A space survival show with M. Night Shyamalan twists at every turn with a dash of comedy.

-My friend (who also read the source material before watching)

While I don’t think this is really an accurate description of the show, it feels more like Star Trek with a deep mystery running through it, I can now see what he meant. If you would have asked me what I thought the best show of the season was going to be, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one either. However, here we are. Continue reading “Astra Lost in Space – Best of Season”