My 4 Year Journey with Hunter x Hunter (2011)

I Was Skeptical

It used to be when you first became an anime fan that there was an almost unspoken list of anime everyone was silently expected to check out. You’d see shows like Code GeassCowboy Bebop, Death Note, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood appear on almost everyone’s list. As time when on, this list has changed, and for many even, doesn’t even really exist anymore. Some shows have survived the test of time and are regarded as “must-see” classics, while other titles have found themselves wasting away to obscurity. Hunter x Hunter is a show that has debatably hit this titan status as you’ll see it recommended countless times to both new and veteran fans alike. Today we are going to discuss my four year journey with the 148 episode series, and what a journey it was. Continue reading “My 4 Year Journey with Hunter x Hunter (2011)”

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!

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!

Top 25 Anime Openings

nfzmig8When the OP is Just Right…

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve personally put an actual article up on here. So I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by celebrating some of my favorite anime openings. I’ve seen a couple hundred anime, so this list took some careful consideration to whittle down to just 25.

The list is in no particular order and the only rule is that the opening has to have come from a show I’ve seen. Other than that, no repeats for stuff I’ve reviewed outside of honorable mentions. Obviously this is just my personal taste, so if an OP you love isn’t on the list I probably didn’t see the show or just didn’t like the opening that much ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Continue reading “Top 25 Anime Openings”

Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (Season 1) Review – Gambling is Serious Business

Serious Business, With Serious Consequences

80032After finishing Kaiji:  Ultimate Survivor, to be further referred to as Kaiji, I felt it was necessary to immediately do a write up. Normally, I would wait a bit, think about it some, and do this, but not for this show. I have a passion for the “mind game” genre which Kaiji belongs to and have waited a good long while before watching. Did it live up to all the praise, or is this anime not worth taking the gamble on?

Continue reading “Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (Season 1) Review – Gambling is Serious Business”

Rightstuf Holiday Sale Buying Guide 2016 – Top 26-ish Picks

It’s That Time of Year Again!

Which means that I’m back with my annual Righstuf Holiday buying guide. This time of year is the ideal time to stock up on anime when the prices at Righstuf are unbelievably low. The best part is that whether you have a membership or not, the savings are the same for all so nobody has to miss out. Last year I detailed 35 picks, some are bound to make it back this year but first, here are some rules for this list:

  • Only anime DVD’s and Blu-rays will be featured on this list. I don’t really read manga and so I’m not all that well informed on what’s a good deal or even what titles people should really pick up.
  • No Mega Deals or Limited Offers will be featured since they have a time limit.
  • Has to be the best price I can find, if Amazon beats it then it doesn’t end up on the list.
  • Out of Stock items will not be on the main list but will probably get an honorable mention (they might come back into stock).
  • List is in no particular order.
  • Lastly, this list is only current as of 12/5/16. That means I’ve sifted through all 1,519 deals so far! More offers are added each day, so be sure to head over to Righstuf each day and see what new deals pop up.

Continue reading “Rightstuf Holiday Sale Buying Guide 2016 – Top 26-ish Picks”

My Top 10 Favorite Anime (2015 Version)

Overview

This post is part of The  ❄️ 12 Days of Christmas ❄️

With the year nearing a close, I thought I’d share my top 10 personal favorite anime. These shows are ones that I personally got a lot out of, so I’m excited to share them with you. Some of these titles are well known, while others aren’t as popular. Enjoy! Continue reading “My Top 10 Favorite Anime (2015 Version)”