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!

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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”

W’z – Mini Review

Hand Shakers Second Season?

Image result for w'zWhen W’z got announced it was pretty unclear whether or not this would be a sequel to the critically panned, Hand Shakers or not. As somebody who actually really enjoyed Hand Shakers, I was pretty excited for GoHands latest project for the Winter 2019 season. Quickly, it became quite evident that this was in fact a second season. As much as I hate to admit it though, this was a pretty disappointing followup.

The unique aspects of Hand Shakers are still present in W’z, namely the visuals. These actually got a notable upgrade with better visual coherence and general direction. Unfortunately, the writing and plot took a hit.

I think I should mention what I liked about Hand Shakers at this point. While it certainly was visually noisy and there were moments of absolute stupidity, it ultimately told an interesting story while explore some more interesting ideas. The absolute height of the anime being the arc involving the idol character, which will be relevant in a moment. 

When I dug a little deeper, I learned that it was actually made as a commercial for a separate company and a passion project of sorts. You may know that I’m a marketing major, so this struck me as particularly interesting. This is more something that personally interests me but I think it adds something to the show that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

I digress, let’s focus back on W’z. The plot of this show takes place 10 years after the events of the first season. Plot wise there is a decent hook, characters are looking for those who met with God the previous season and have mysteriously vanished. Our new cast can help with that because they have the power to transport people into Ziggurat. There’s other stuff going on here, but not much else really mentioning.

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Additionally, there is an emphasis placed on music, which is a novel concept initially, but it quickly out stays its welcome. The obnoxious catch phrase of our protagonist, who’s only real trait is that he likes composing music, is extremely intrusive. What’s worse, is that other characters, who are not even interested in music, also use the catch phrase… like a lot.

It was nice to see the previous cast make an appearance here alongside the new one, actively participating too. They, for the most part, aren’t just shoved in for the sake of it. W’z even managed to make one of the worst characters from season 1 one of the most interesting characters in this season. Unfortunately, the idol girl NEVER makes a return, the one character I wanted to see! I was extremely disappointed to say the least.

Eventually the main plot gets solved and this other plot takes center stage. It’s bad, even if they do a decent job explaining the backstory and motivations of the antagonists in this section. I should mention, that this plot runs through from the start, but it really matters very little until the final few episodes.

I’m kind of losing the plot in explaining just what it is that didn’t, and forgive me because I just complained about this, “mesh” with me here. Just going to try and salvage this here. Frankly, I didn’t hate this but I wouldn’t recommend it either. Hand Shakers, absolutely! W’z, not so much. That should speak volumes.


If you happened to enjoy Hand Shakers and watched this, did you like W’z? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way, even on the series prior. If you feel like supporting me, you can do so with my donation button below. Thanks for stopping by and have yourself a wonderful day!

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime – Having the Time of my Slife

*Hums Title to Tune of “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life”*

Image result for that time i got reincarnated as a slimeOriginally I tried to transform the lyrics into some semblance of a review, but that ended up being quite the undertaking! Instead, you’ll have to settle for a regular ol’ review of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, or just Slime, for short. There was a lot of enthusiasm for this one at the start of Fall 2018 but was it able to hold onto that momentum through Winter 2019 across its 24 episodes? Continue reading “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime – Having the Time of my Slife”

The Diary of Tortov Roddle – A Moving Painting

A Sense of Lonely Whimsy

Image result for The Diary of Tortov Roddle animeOnce again my paying attention to Digi has paid dividends. Love him or hate him, I do often stumble across excellent recommendations, especially of more obscure titles. One of his recent videos, “Finish or Fail A-pocalypse #2: Ayashi no Ceres & The Traveler’s Diary” convinced me to check out the show in question today. With six, three minute episodes, The Diary of Tortov Roddle is worth checking out for just the novelty alone. Continue reading “The Diary of Tortov Roddle – A Moving Painting”

The Price of Smiles – Mini Review

NOT an Idol Anime

I’ve mentioned this before in an update I did during some of my semi-hiatus time, but I genuinely thought that The Price of Smiles was going to be an idol anime. The way Princess Yuki looks, along with the only image I had seen at the time, really had me convinced. SPOILERS! It’s not an idol anime at all… it’s a mecha show about war. Not what I expected but that can be good, so, was it?

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Said image, featured on Karandi’s wonderful site. Be sure to check it out!

I also mentioned this in my little update, though in not very much detail, that this was a palate cleanser that I was finding just enjoyable. That held true throughout the entire viewing experience. The Price of Smiles was never boring, but it suffered from being too short at only 12 episodes. As a result, a lot of stuff just kind of happens because the show has to get to its ending. A shame too, because this could and should have been a far better show than it ended up being.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like The Price of Smiles had anything revolutionary to say, or even did anything innovative, but there was a solid show here. If this would have been doubled in length, it would have easily fixed a lot of the problems that resulted in this being such a short series. Namely, pacing and impact.

I mention this because the ending falls short in a lot of ways. Things just get wrapped up because they have to and it all feels a little too easy. It takes away from what should be a meaningful moment for the series, causing me to not really care when it came down to everything. It was all going to work out of course, but the stakes weren’t quite there. It didn’t help that in the epilogue, brief as it is, doesn’t really show any of the stuff they were talking about leading up to the ending. Lives were supposedly changes, but it didn’t seem that way at all. 

It’s not all bad though. As I mentioned not too long ago in my collab with Yomu covering Art Clubsometimes an average, enjoyable show is exactly what you need. For a season that was jam-packed with excellent titles, having something like this to slot between watches was a much needed blessing.

Taking all this into consideration, I don’t really have all that much more to say about the actual anime itself. I suppose I could poke fun at the simply ridiculous hairstyles that almost rival Shiki in that regard but a picture is going to speak more than words ever could there.

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I’m exaggerating a bit in regards to most the cast, but some guys really take the cake…

Beyond that, I suppose I should mention the OP, “Egao no Kanata” by Chiho feat. Majiko. I really like when things sync up well in OP’s and this has a shinning example where Yuki and Stella sing part of the song back-to-back. It is super good! There was actually quite a lot of great imagery in OP’s this season but that’s a topic for another time.

For better or worse, The Price of Smiles was just a pretty average show. A Pretty average show that I would fully recommend, especially if you are a fan of mecha stories about war. That’ll do me for this one folks, see ya in the next one!


What were your thoughts on The Price of Smiles? Did you think it was going to be an idol anime like I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. While you’re down there, tell me what your favorite mecha anime is too! If you would like to support my writing, please utilize my donation button below. I’d greatly appreciate that! As always, thank you so much for reading and have yourself an excellent day.

This Art Club Has a Problem! – Collaboration with Yomu: Episode 12 (& Series Review)

All Things Must Come to an End

This collab with Yomu has been a ton of fun! Watching Art Club each week has given me something extra to look forward to, as well as providing me with some unique ideas for articles. If you want to check out everything so far for episodes 1-11, you can do that here. Be sure to head on over to Yomu’s place and thank ’em for putting this thing together. Today I’ll be tackling a few themes from the list, which includes reviewing the anime on the whole. Let’s dive in on this final installment of the Art Club collaboration! Continue reading “This Art Club Has a Problem! – Collaboration with Yomu: Episode 12 (& Series Review)”

B: The Beginning – Heard You Like Psycho-Pass…

How About a Supernatural Version Then?

Spoilers, I couldn’t figure out a way to talk about this without spoiling parts of Psycho-Pass or this show. I tried to keep them to a minimum though.

Image result for b the beginningLately I’ve been on a bit of a Netflix kick so I figured it was finally time to get around to some anime I had put off for one reason or another. Today I’m looking at B:  The Beginning (going to refer to it as B moving forward), a supernatural, mystery, police-like procedural that is very reminiscent of Psycho-Pass. If you like one, would you like the other? Continue reading “B: The Beginning – Heard You Like Psycho-Pass…”