Ingress the Animation – Mini Review

A Good Mobile Game Adaptation

Image result for ingress the animationI’m back with my latest Netflix adventure, this time with Ingress the Animation, a supernatural drama based on a mobile game by Niantic. You may know them for Pokemon GO, and like that game, this is an AR game meant to get people out and about but this one came first. Is there enough here to make for a good show? Does this sit somewhere closer to B:  The Beginning or is this another Hero Mask?

When I sat down to watch this one I had no clue it was a mobile game adaptation, I only learned all that part way through when I was doing some digging. I also expected the show to be another supernatural cop procedural, but this one was more action oriented. Still, Ingress managed to peak my interest.

What got me interested in everything was the introduction of Makoto, a psychic detective who is asked to investigate a strange incident. With the ability to see memories contained in objects, he soon learns something he shouldn’t and gets wrapped up in a global conspiracy. You know, just another Monday.

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It was good character introduction

It’s a bit cliche, but what I liked most about this was how the anime showed you how his power works. Actually, things were done this way more often than not. There were still info dumps, but they weren’t too often and were done when only necessary.

As the story unfolds Makoto gets involved with a girl named Sarah. She tells Makoto that there exists a hidden substance that has influenced humanity for some time called, Exotic Matter, or XM for short. This explains his ability. It’s an example where the show tells you things, but the whole while it does a lot of showing at the same time.

Mostly, this is to teach you about the mobile game. Surprisingly, it did a really good job because I was talking to my brother about it (he’s played it) and he was shocked how well I knew the game for never playing. Even more shocking, this never felt intrusive. It felt totally organic within the story and something that really sets this one apart for me.

In the end, the story isn’t revolutionary but one that I enjoyed more than expected. Going back to my earlier question, it had quality closer to B than Hero Mask, which is a good thing for sure. I’d watch more of this if it ever got more.

The characters for the series are done in CG and that can be a bit distracting, sometimes resulting in odd action choreography, but if you can look past that, the show looks pretty good most of the time. I’d say it generally looked worse in the early episodes but improved as it went, I also got a lot more used to it though, so there’s that.

Finally, the music was great! The OP and ED were both done by an idie band, alt-J. I joked on Twitter about how random geometry was used in the OP, and then the song had the lyrics, “Triangles are my favorite shape.” Which, at first, I found humorous, but as the show went on it made good thematic sense. It was a solid choice. Not to mention the animation sequence here is strong from a directional standpoint.

The ED, “In Cold Blood” was clearly picked for the binary lyrics because the rest of the song doesn’t really fit the show. However, that part is thematic and the AR sequence of real life places and the game collide is neat. It was another way to show off the game without being too in your face.

In short, I’d recommend Ingress the Animation if you are already curious about the game especially. Fans of supernatural action/mystery shows should also enjoy this one. As I said, it isn’t revolutionary, but you’ll at least have a decent time.


Have you ever played Ingress? Did you watch the show? Share your thoughts on either in the comments. If you want to support my work, you can do so via the Ko-fi button below. Thanks, as always, for reading and hope to see you back here again soon!

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Mob Psycho 100 II – You are the Protagonist of Your Own Life

Solid Followup to the First Season

Mob Psycho 100 III first took a look at Mob Psycho 100 for my Anime ABC’s series. The first season contained its share of cliche but was presented with a unique visual style and sharp contrast to ONE’s other work, One Punch Man that it couldn’t help but capture the attention of several viewers. Nearly 3 years later, Mob and friends are back to continue the story right where it left off. Continue reading “Mob Psycho 100 II – You are the Protagonist of Your Own Life”

Boogiepop Never Laughs – Better Than the 2000’s Version?

It’s Complicated…

Image result for boogiepop and othersWhen it comes to Boogiepop, my relationship with the franchise is a more complicated one. Very rarely do I have any real knowledge of the source material, and in turn, does that impact my watching. Further more, it is even more rare for me to have seen multiple adaptations of said work. This is the case with Boogiepop Never Laughs which has lead to an obvious question, so what is even worth engaging with here? Continue reading “Boogiepop Never Laughs – Better Than the 2000’s Version?”

Beautiful Bones – Heard You Like Hyouka…

I Guess this is a Series Now?

Image result for beautiful bonesWelcome to the, now, third article in this series. This started as kind of joke when I reviewed B:  The Beginning and noted some similarities with Psycho-Pass. Later I wrote one about Hero Mask, which I named in a similar fashion, this time meaning it in a negative way. So we’ve arrived to the subject of today’s article, Beautiful Bones and why you may want to give this a watch if you enjoyed Hyouka. Continue reading “Beautiful Bones – Heard You Like Hyouka…”

Sword Art Online: Alicization – Mini Review

A VERY Mixed Bag

Image result for sword art online alicizationAfter watching Ordinal Scale in the theater, I was pretty hype for the upcoming third season. Later, when I heard that this season would have a boat load of episodes, basically enough to run for an ENTIRE YEAR, that hype only grew. Then it came out… From my tone you are probably thinking I hated it, but I didn’t. However, the show was all over the place and something was, clearly missing from previous installments in the franchise.

It should be pretty apparent by the way I opened this article that I’m a fan of the Sword Art Online anime franchise. Yes, it has its share of flaws, but I’ve generally enjoyed a good portion of the show. With great highs such as the “Mother’s Rosario” arc and lows such as the “Excalibur” filler episode. Something that I’ve noticed though, is that over time each installment has improved upon what was previously built with room for continued growth moving forward.

Reki Kawahara, author of the series, has always struggled with pacing and how to properly balance which characters get screen time. However, by the end of Ordinal Scale, it felt like he was finally hitting his stride. Having had more experience and taking influence from others, see Gun Gale Onlineyou can see this gradual improvement in these areas.

When it comes to this latest season with Alicization, it feels like all that got thrown out the window. I’ve noted in my “What I’m Watching – Fall 2018 Anime” article that things open with problems. It is true that I still enjoyed the show, but signs of issues were present from the very start.

Everything in this 24 episode installment, just takes way too long to happen. Really, I don’t mind that so much, but not a lot of interesting things occur as we go from point A to B. Of course there were some pretty great episodes or moments, but I couldn’t help but feel that they were farther and fewer between than any previous season.

You know the pacing is bad when you have a dedicated recap episode that is immediately followed up by yet ANOTHER recap episode. Not even joking, Alicization brazenly did that. They didn’t even try to make those interesting either, which isn’t surprising, but just extra salt in the wound.

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This is pretty much exactly how much time they share on screen, like a scene or two.

There was a lack of hype. Asuna and Kirito don’t get to interact at all really, the rest of the cast basically doesn’t exist, and while some of the new characters, namely Eugeo are cool, not enough of them leave a lasting impact.

All said, there were still things I liked quite a bit. For starters, the series has received a notable visual upgrade to bring it inline more with the film. Despite the controversy, I enjoyed episode 10 which was proper payoff for an arc (even with the gross censorship). Even the villain, Quinella, who seems rather shallow at first, has enough going on that I could write an entire article about her and thematic elements involved with her character.

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I could talk about toxic femininity, just as an example.

Additionally, some stuff in this show was legitimately uncomfortable. Maybe that sounds like a bad thing to you, but this is actually a point of high praise from me. Personally, I think media should challenge folks and this does achieve that a few times. That, and anime struggles to convey real horror in any capacity and season 3 here managed it more than once!

My final point of praise is in the ending of the series. Even with the Eugeo deciding his purpose in life was to become a giant flying sword powered by love and friendship (yes, that actually happened), they managed to recover from that and have an emotional conclusion. It didn’t feel cheap or unnecessary either. Kirito has a real reaction and it felt very good.

Then, they go and leave off on a crazy cliffhanger. Now, I expected something to go wrong for this last episode but I didn’t quite think things would escalate to the point it actually went to. Don’t want to spoil it, but I am actually excited for this to return in October. I just hope they really narrow in on the pacing and keep a tight ship, because if they manage that, we should be in for a pretty good ride!


Love it or hate it, I want to hear your thoughts on Sword Art Online both as a franchise and regarding this series, of course! Was something missing for you or did this keep you hyped for its whole run? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. If you feel like supporting my writing, you can do so by utilizing my Ko-fi button below. Finally, thank you so much for reading and have yourself an excellent day!

Lost Song – Straight Forward Children’s Fare?

Critically Panned

Image result for lost song anime reviewContinuing my journey with anime on Netflix, I decided to watch Lost Song after the disaster that was Hero Mask. The description got me interested in this because it said there would be singing and a quick cursory look at the staff revealed that Yukari Tamura (you may recognize her vocal performances in shows such as Island or Higurashi) would be a prominent character. While not every roll of hers involves singing, this one seemed like it obviously would, and that was enough to get me to watch. Unfortunately, the show had a lot of bad reviews, but I was convinced there might be something to this one. Continue reading “Lost Song – Straight Forward Children’s Fare?”

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Mini Review

Flawed, but a Good Time

Image result for kaguya love is warYou know that feeling when you find something really fun and you just want to keep doing that thing but eventually you overdo it and kind of burn out on it? That’s kind of what happened with Kaguya for me. At the start of the season I had wanted to make an article (which I unfortunately didn’t get to do) about how much I was LOVING this show, but now that it’s over, I can’t help but notice I lost a good chunk of that enthusiasm. Despite that, this was one of the better shows this season for me.

The best way for me to explain this show is to use other shows as an example. Kaguya-sama: Love is War takes the best parts of Kaiji and the back-and-forth of Death Notes, but with none of the actual stakes. This isn’t to say that the characters don’t genuinely believe there are high stakes here, that’s what makes it so fun, because the efforts they go to over something that is relativity trivial, is pretty funny.

Each episode has the titular Kaguya and Miyuki squaring off, trying to get the other to confess their love. This is accompanied by over-the-top narration, Kaiji style paired with inner monologue from each character, akin to Death Note. Things usually go awry though thanks to their friend Chika. That’s about the gist of the show, well the first half at least.

Up until just after Ishigami’s character was introduced, the show was a fantastic time and I really looked forward to watching it each week. I should note I started in on this one late, like after it was already 5 episodes in, and binged it pretty fast. In fact, I even watched the episodes over with another friend.

However, after that, the show kind of started outstaying its welcome. I wasn’t outright disliking it or not having fun, but the jokes started to fall flat, the pacing felt off, and something was just… missing.

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Kaguya had a nice conclusion though that brought things back up a bit for me. It’s left me feeling a touch conflicted though because I want to see more, but at the same time, I also want the show to mix it up a bit. There’s a common complaint levied at comedy shows like this, and it’s that the jokes get repetitive.

I don’t think that is really the chief problem here, however, but I could see an argument to be made there. Instead, I’d say that the structure of the episodes is what changed and that is what caused the shift. There was suddenly less focus on these bombastic overly complex love plots and more just kind of boring typical romance stuff. It just didn’t work here.

Still, I would recommend watching Kaguya anyway. If for anything, it would be for the OP, “Love Dramatic” which was easily the best of the season both musically and visually. I listen to that song even now, it’s that good. If I had to describe the OP I would say it is like watching every James Bond opening all at once (from a stylistic sense) but with a more fun and upbeat musical backing.

Ah, that reminds me, episode three has a special ending theme that was reminiscent of Lucky Star or Haruhi. The only reason that exists is because there was some source that didn’t get adapted and they “needed” to have a plot point make sense. I wish there would have been more stuff like that, and judging by how it took the internet by storm, it seems most people would agree.

Kind of surprised by how little I actually have to say here. At the start of the season I thought I’d have a lot to say, but that’s about it. The show was fun, but it had its fair share of flaws. Kaguya also wasn’t my favorite show of the season like I thought it would be, but it was still pretty close despite what I said. All-in-all, I’d say that’s a win.


What were your thoughts on Kaguya? Did the show manage to keep you hooked all the way through or was it a disappointment? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments. If you want to help me out because you enjoy my writing, use my donation button below please. I would appreciate that. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you around again soon!

Hero Mask – Heard You Like B: The Beginning…

How About a Derivative Version Then?

Related imageAs you may recall, I’ve been going through Netflix shows recently. Last time I took a look at B:  The Beginning and how I found it to be pretty similar to Psycho-Pass. My primary complaint toward B was that it didn’t focus enough on the cop/mystery side of thing and eventually went too deep into its supernatural elements. While Hero Mask has some science fiction stuff going on, it sticks pretty hard to a Western cop procedural. The question is, did it work? Continue reading “Hero Mask – Heard You Like B: The Beginning…”

The Promised Neverland – Mini Review

Gonna be Real, Pretty Lukewarm on This

Image result for the promised neverlandI know it’s not everyday that we get a horror anime, or something that even gets close to touching the cat-and-mouse of Death Note, especially not as a Shonen Jump adaptation, but The Promised Neverland never reached the heights for me like it seemingly did for everyone else. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I totally did, and it had some great moments, but overall this was a pretty standard experience for me. Outside of (jokingly) suspecting Phil each episode of course!

Our story is about three kids, Norman, Ray, and Emma. They all live idyllic lives at Grace Field, an orphanage, with their beloved caretaker, Isabella, whom they refer to as “mamma”. I shouldn’t even have to explain where things go from here. Insert quote about, “then suddenly, everything changed when they learned the horrible truth” or whatever. It’s extremely obvious right away that this isn’t going to be some happy-go-lucky anime.

Just looking at the iconography of the poster for the show gives it up. The entire first episode twist isn’t even trying to be hidden. I actually don’t think this is that big of an issue but the show received a lot of praise for this first episode. While I think it is a decent episode, The Promised Neverland is not really good at keeping things to itself. The mystery elements are lacking.

Really the focus is on the back-and-forth of the kids who learn the truth and their caretaker. They want to escape their fate but are at a severe disadvantage, despite their great intellect. For awhile, the show totally gets away with having some slower pacing by consistently working at this goal. New threats are introduced in Sister Krone, and there are some genuinely creepy changes (some of which weren’t even in the original source material).

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However, there were a few points where the pacing took notable hits. The first being when the kids discover the secret code in the library, which seems like something relevant for season two, because it doesn’t go anywhere. They spend almost a whole episode on it though, which just feels kind of wasteful. Second time was when Ray revealed the dumbest piece of information I’ve seen in awhile.

Not even gonna label this as a spoiler, because it is that stupid. Ray states that he can remember everything since he was a FETUS. Not like, a baby, or something, nope ever since he was in the womb. While this is a real thing (though very rare) for very young children, it just completely ruined the tension of its episode. I constantly made fun of it, because the show kept reminding me about it.

When Neverland is on its game though, it is good. It doesn’t reach the same heights, but has a quality that reminds me of Death Note. Watching the kids and the caretakers try to stay multiple steps ahead of each other was a good time… usually.

Speaking of the characters, that is where the show does its best. The kids are a little one-note, but Isabella especially has a lot of depth. As the main villain of the season, she is sympathetic and quite nuanced. I loved that they also tied in this musical motif (should mention, the music for this show is easily the best part) into her backstory for the final episode, it was a great touch.

Whenever she was on screen, Isabella always had this looming presence. Almost like she was giving the kids these condescending looks while pretending to be an ideal mother to them. However, she does does all of this with good reason. I can appreciate her situation and why she works so hard at getting these kids to believe the lie of their perfect lives, and stopping those who do realize the illusion.

There’s a scene where Isabella offers Emma a job like hers when she discovers the truth and it is totally reasonable. Unlike a lot of folks, I don’t think Isabella is actually an evil character. She’s just a person making the best of her desperate situation. In the end, she isn’t really even trying to stop the kids from escaping or knowing the truth.

This brings me to the ending. I did find this to be the best part, not because it was over, but the resolution to all the buildup, which is 90% of the show, was finally given. Isabella had her fantastic character moment, and things wrapped up nicely with room for the upcoming second season.

Come time for season two, I will be watching but I’m not dying to see it or anything. Ultimately The Promised Neverland was a decent show with a good first season. It’s going to really need to step up in season two though. If it manages that, I think this has the chance of being a great horror/mystery show that will be talked about for a good time, but time will tell on that front.


What are your thoughts on The Promised Neverland? Was this your top show of the season or were you like me, and just kind of enjoying it? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments! If you feel like supporting my work please make use of my donation button below. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!

Anime ABC’s Q is(n’t) for Cowboy Bebop

A Little Context

For those of you out of the loop, Anime ABC’s is a series where I review an anime for each letter of the alphabet in order. Typically these are longer-form essays where I try something unique/different each time. This round should be Q, but instead I hosted a redemption round since there just aren’t a ton of Q anime. The winner of that vote was the famed Cowboy Bebop. Now that you know what’s going on, let’s dive right into the review. Continue reading “Anime ABC’s Q is(n’t) for Cowboy Bebop”