I’ve noted here a few times that I’m a fan of the original 2011 series, Madoka Magica. It was a darker magical girl series, far from the first, but one that I particularly liked for how it all came together. Most notably, its characters, the art/animation, and of course sound. Then came its follow-up film in 2013, Rebellion, which reopened the series for future works (on top of being a very good film). What came was silence for several years, that is, until today’s title, Magia Record came out during the Winter 2020 season.Continue reading “Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story – I Didn’t Know I Wanted This”→
Silver Spoon is about a boy named Hachiken who doesn’t really know what he wants to do with himself. In middle school he was pushed to perform at the top of his class by his parents, and as a result, lost himself in the process. Now in high school, he has chosen to enroll in a school as far away as possible. The problem? A city kid now living the farming lifestyle isn’t easy!Continue reading “Anime ABC’s S is for Silver Spoon”→
I 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).
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!
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to see both A Silent Voice and I Want to Eat your Pancreas (referring to this as Pancreas moving forward) at the theater. While I loved A Silent Voice, something I’ll spend more time on in a separate article (hopefully), Pancreas was more of a mixed bag.
There was a lot of online hype surrounding this film, especially with the unusual title that drew me to the film in the first place, and the book this is based on is pretty well liked. So I was pretty hopeful going in, but I figured it’d be worth the experience regardless of the quality in terms of shear uniqueness. I loved telling people I was going to see this film!
For those who somehow missed out on what this film is, it should be fairly obvious after one glance at the art. This is your typical sort-of-kinda romance story about a girl with a terminal illness, in this case cancer. For some that’s already going to be enough to have emotional resonance, but personally these kinds of stories need more than just some base appeal to do well long-term.
Additionally, it is worth noting that in some cultures telling somebody you want to eat their diseased body parts is a way of indicating how you wish you could cure them/take the illness onto yourself. The movie flips this a bit by having the female lead, Sakura, hear about how in some cultures the diseased person eats a healthy persons body part in order to cure their own. It’s kind of the thing this film relies on to get its big moment across, but ultimately it was pretty unimportant to the actual plot.
I want to take a moment to circle back to the theater here and mention something that actively hurt the movie. Before it began Aniplex decided the film should be front-loaded with interviews from both the Japanese and English casts. Awesome, right? Eh, not really. The Japanese portion was excellent as it was more a, “thanks for watching” with some genuine emotion from the cast. You could tell they loved this film! The English portion on the other hand….
It was filled with spoilers. They should not have put this at the start of the film. The one thing that this did improve was, “Gum Boy” who I would have literally given no mind to otherwise, but that’s it. So rather than discover the film for myself, I was actively told what to look out for and that signaled a lot of the plot to me way too early. Apparently this is a trend with Aniplex titles as reports of the same thing happened with NGNL 0 as well.
Putting that aside, let’s talk about the actual narrative. It’s very similar to an anime, Your Lie in April except it is very upfront about the whole death thing (by the way, this is not a spoiler for either Pancreas or Your Lie in April). The series has emotional appeal and time on its side, so that’s what I’d ultimately recommend watching over this but giving the film credit, I would say this has a better narrative in so that it doesn’t beat around the bush and takes a slightly more interesting route for its ending.
To level some more criticism at this Pancreas, it was a bit annoying that Sakura would shove her dying in the male leads face in order to force him to do stuff. At times she borders on abusive and that even tips him to a breaking point at one point in the film. It was a tense scene but I couldn’t help but feel it was kind of unnecessary, it didn’t feel organic at all.
Then you have Sakura’s friend, Kyouko, who hates the main lead for literally no reason. You’d think Kyouko would respect her friend Sakura, who constantly tells her not to worry about the guy and that they are friends. It’s not like I couldn’t find her believable, but Kyouko just came off as an awful person. Pancreas wants you to like her though but doesn’t really do anything to get you to that point. They try and give her some redemption at the end, which was appreciated, but it felt forced.
Speaking of lead boy, his name is this big secret for the film. Thematically, the idea is that you shouldn’t make assumptions about people based on appearance, their name, etc… but it resulted in a sort of anti-climax. Both my friend and I weren’t very impressed with this big reveal.
Now I did speak to the ending, which I won’t spoil, but I want to note that it was by far the most interesting part. They took what felt like an obvious cliche ending and gave it a bit of a twist. There’s foreshadowing for it and it did improve the film. However, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the film. Pancreas is kind of dull and fails at tell even a pretty basic story convincingly.
The dub was good though, music was good, and the animation was pretty
Again, was Pancreas worth watching? Yeah, I did enjoy it despite some pretty deep flaws, but I wouldn’t watch it again. For some this film is absolutely something to avoid, and hopefully I’ve given enough hints at things for you to decide if that’s the case for you, but otherwise this is a fairly average experience.
Did you see Pancreas while it was in theaters? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you’d like to support my writing, please use my donation button below to send a few bucks my way. I’d appreciate it! Of course, thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.
Alright, first order of business, we are going to refer to this series as Bunny Girl Senpai because the title is just too long! You may remember from my first look at the Fall 2018 season that this anime was high up on my list of shows I wanted to keep up with each week. I didn’t say much then, but the big point was that I liked the dialog and dry sense of wit. In this way, Bunny Girl Senpai did not disappoint! However, by its end, I wasn’t as hot on the show as I would have otherwise expected.
Some background for folks, Bunny Girl Senpai is yet another light novel adaptation that is somewhat reminiscent of franchises such as Haruhi and Monogatari. Except, it really isn’t too much like either of those series, but you are going to see this compared to them quite a bit. This isn’t a bad thing, and in some ways this is warranted. In Bunny Girl Senpai the main character, Sakuta, is a sarcastic guy, much like Kyon. He goes around helping various girls with various supernatural hangups, which is where the Monogatari comparisons come in. Though, at the end of the day, it is very much its own beast that isn’t quite at the level of either of the other series. This isn’t a mark against Bunny Girl Senpai, but if you are going in expecting either, you’ll be left disappointed.
What really surprised most folks, and I’m included in this, is that the first arc feels like a big climax that would normally be reserved for the end of any other series. You get to have the relationship resolved between Sakuta and Mai, as well as the supernatural hangup. There is still plenty of room for more story and places to go from here, so the 13 episodes aren’t wasted.
Sakuta and Mai have great chemistry. When it comes to the other characters though… they just aren’t as interesting. The only character I really liked other than these two was Kaede. It wasn’t that their stories were disinteresting, I still enjoyed them, but I didn’t quite care as much.
This reminds me of Kanon 2006 where the show has a HUGE emotional climax for its first arc (more so in this specific show than Bunny Girl Senapi) which diminished the proceeding arcs. It still recovered by the end, sure, but Bunny Girl Senpai felt similar to me in this way.
Back to Kaede, I was actually looking forward to her arc, and up until the final episodes, I was really enjoying it. Then the show just didn’t land for me. The ending felt too loose, like it didn’t really wrap things up. It did, but it didn’t at the same time. If you’ve seen this maybe you feel the same way, but I really don’t have a better way to explain it than that.
OP instead of a trailer like usual. I really don’t like this song, but at the same time, I can’t deny it’s catchy…
With all that, it probably sounds like I didn’t really like this show much, however, this isn’t the case. If anything, I’m just disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it more. What should have been a high-point of the season for me, ultimately only managed to be an interesting footnote in a season with a lot of hit-or-miss content. Worth the watch, but Bunny Girl Senpai isn’t the modern classic it should have been.
What are your thoughts on Bunny Girl Senpai? Be sure to share them with your fellow readers and me in the comments. If you enjoy my content then please consider a donation by clicking the button I have below, I’d really appreciate that. Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!
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 Kill, Love, Election and Chocolate, and finally, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it -Unkown
I hope everybody is doing well this fine October. The past couple of years I’ve done Halloween events, most notably last year with my October Review Fest where I did a whole month of themed content. Unfortunately this year I totally spaced the fact that October comes after September (I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff, bare with me guys) so I was not at all prepared to do an awesome event at that scale again this year. Don’t distress though, that’s where Freaky Fridays come in! Every Friday this month I’ll have a themed article for the Halloween season. Today, 10 anime to get you into the Halloween spirit!Continue reading “Freaky Friday 1 of 4 – 10 Anime to get You into the Halloween Spirit”→
The Summer 2018 season didn’t grace us with many gifts this season but the ones it did bring were quite good. One of them was Cells at Work! which is a better version of the Osmosis Jones television series (and film; 2002 & 2001 respectively). The series is all about the cells that well, for lack of a better word, work within our bodies. You follow a Red Blood Cell as she bumbles her way about, constantly getting rescued by White Blood Cell, and learning about various aspects of the body along the way. However, there is one thing that truly makes this worth while, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should; that’s right: Platelets!Continue reading “Cells at Work! – Platelet Appreciation (Also a Review… I Guess)”→
Last week I discussed how I finally found a Trigger show that I really enjoyed in Space Patrol Luluco. When I originally watched that series as it was airing I hadn’t gotten around to Kiznaiver yet and was pretty excited. Unfortunately, this was yet another Trigger show that didn’t do much for me.
The plot of this anime is about creating an ideal world where humanity perfectly understands each other and blah, blah, blah. How this is to be achieved is by doing this experiment with a group of 7 (technically) kids who are originally code named as the seven deadly sins. All of these kids are linked together so that they share each other’s pain. This eventually even includes emotional pain too.
Have I sold you on this one? Well that initial concept is pretty interesting but ultimately this ends up being a pretty boring melodrama. For those of you who are familiar with a show called Kokoro Connect, then you’ll know that Kiznaiver shares some similarities with some aspects of this prior title. I would just recommend Kokoro Connect over this, even without the final four OVA’s that would still be a better experience over this.
Furthermore, Kiznaiver feels like a bit of a rehash of older Gainax works but not in a good way. The ending is especially dull and derivative. I don’t want you guys to get the impression that I hated this show but I definitely didn’t love it. Parts of the show were fun and, as I mention, the initial concept is interesting. By the end, that just kind of gets abandoned and like many Trigger shows it just becomes so unfocused. I would say this isn’t as bad as Little Witch Academia but no where near the quality of say Kill la Kill.
The thing I probably liked the most about Kiznaiver is its opening theme, “LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME” by BOOM BOOM SATELLITES. You can actually listen to that song on Spotify but I’ll also link the video for that below here.
What did you think of Kiznaiver? Let me know in the comments bellow and if you agree with my alternate viewing recommendations. If you like the work I’m doing here than hit the button below to give me a couple bucks to keep at this. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!