It’s taken me a lot longer than expected to work my way through the remaining Fall 2019 anime, but now that I’ve finished most of the shows, it’s time to get to some reviewing! Today I’m going to cover 3 shows that disappointed me the most during the season. I chose to do so in this format as opposed to my typical one-show-one-review style as I either have said a fair bit on the show or didn’t have much to say in the first place. With that, let’s get to it!Continue reading “Fall 2019 – 3 Disappointments”→
Pursuing your passion can seem like a daunting task, sometimes, it can even seem impossible to achieve. Such is the case for Urano Motosu, a young woman who dreams of being a librarian. Unfortunately for Urano, her life is cut short in a somewhat ironic twist of fate (crushed by her own weighty collection of books), but this is not the end for her. Instead, she awakens in the body of a young girl, Myne, in a world where books are seemingly out of reach. Thus Myne has to overcome innumerable obstacles all while trying to adjust to her less-than-ideal life. Continue reading “Ascendance of a Bookworm – Overcoming Adversity”→
Since A Sister’s All You Need first premiered back in 2017, I’ve been convinced that an anime about people playing board games could work well. Apparently a 2013 manga, later turned anime, was a head of the curve though with After School Dice Club. While this series took its time to finally put my money where my mouth was, there’s just one logical question to ask: Does the show actually work?
To get the show off the ground, because you can’t just have some cute girls randomly playing board games with no context, there’s Miki, a shy girl with no friends. How sad. Then she learns about board games, and wouldn’t you know it, she gets some friends which gives a boost to her self-confidence. Along the way, her newfound friends have their own trials and tribulations as well.
While there is that story going on, the focus is obviously the board games. Not your typical anime off-brand stuff, real board games that you can go out and get today. If you didn’t know, I am pretty well-versed when it comes to board games and I was generally impressed with the selection they showed off in After School Dice Club.
Nearly all the games featured are entry-level, meaning they are quick to pick up, learn, and teach. This allows the show to legitimately teach you how to play whatever the game happens to be in their entirety. It’s one of the biggest strengths the show has.
The other positive point this anime has is showing off the creative process for making a good game. That plot is easily the best one as it allows you to appreciate the games more while giving some basic insight into the industry. Having made a game myself, I appreciated it at least.
Unfortunately, the show holds itself back by trying to include so many narrative elements. The board game sections are great, but they had to be tied into the story, which is the problem. While I respect the mix of traditional Japanese games and great modern games, having to deal with random drama between them caused them to lose some impact along the way.
You can really feel this in the final episode where Miki sits on a bench bullying herself because she realizes she might not be able to spend every waking minute of her life with her friends. What should be an emotionally climatic moment, where she does eventually learn she has true friends, is instead accidentally really hilarious.
No trailer today as they are not subbed, instead enjoy a clip from the show
I’ve seen it said that After School Dice Club fails as a show as it just “makes you want to play board games yourself”, but I can’t help but see that as a positive. That’s kind of the whole point of the show. If you are looking for a decent story that breaks down toward the end, but does feature solid game recommendations and tutorials, this will absolutely work for you. It’s just comfy enough to recommend, but I feel like this kind of show could have done a lot better.
How about you? Did After School Dice Club live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments! If you like the work I’m doing here, please consider becoming a Patron or making a one-time donation via the buttons below. Thanks for reading and see you again soon!
When it comes to short-form shows, I really haven’t watched that many. There’s I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying as well as Tonari no Seki-kun, and not much else in terms of what I’ve actually bothered with (I’m sure if you looked there are one or two more, but the titles I listed are what sprang to mind). The former being a show that I wasn’t super into and the latter being a pretty big hit. So where does Null & Peta fit into all this? Someplace in the middle.
It’s not like I go out of my way to avoid these shorter shows, it’s just most of the time they aren’t that great or they don’t see any real distribution. That’s why when I saw that Crunchyroll had picked up Null & Peta, I decided to check it out since I was interested in the show’s premise:
Genius inventor Null tragically loses her older sister Peta in an accident. To get over the grief, Null develops “Peta Robo,” a robot with the same characteristics as her late sister. However, the robot is a little different as to what Null expected.
It seemed to me that the show would have a nice blend of comedy with an occasional serious moment, which is my general preference when it comes to something like this. I was right in this assessment, and while I can say that there’s more going on than it first appears (it’s not really even that hard to figure out), the production didn’t skip any beats in ensuring that the show lands.
Additionally, at exactly five minutes per episode, you aren’t risking much by watching this. There are 12 episodes in total that utilize their time well… mostly at least. One episode didn’t quite jive with me like the others, but it wasn’t anything that ruined the show.
As I said, everything generally comes together to deliver a great product. The jokes are funny, the animation is nice, and all the other elements play nicely with each other. It was a smart move to ease into the more serious parts of the show, that while being predictable, felt natural in their execution.
My only real complaint with the series is the lack of an ending theme, or really an ending anything. Don’t confuse this with the show having a lack of resolution, it does have that, what I mean is the episodes end abruptly. You can sense when this is going to happen, but it causes dialog to get truncated, and worse yet, some moments to lose impact.
The only trailer I could find is for Brazil but there’s not a lot too this one…
Finally, I wanted to mention that this seemed to be a precursor to a game that is yet to be released at the time of writing (1/9/20). I’d be interested to see how that ties into all of this and if the game itself is any fun. I’ll leave a link to the game here so you can check it out if you’d like.
With that, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Null & Peta. If you decide to try the game out, I’d also enjoy hearing about your experience there too. Want to support my writing? You’ll find my donation buttons below, to which I’d be eternally grateful for you checking them out. Thanks for stopping by and I can’t wait to see you again soon!
While Black Fox wasn’t the first to receive the simulcast treatment, we got to see this the same time Japanese theaters had it, it is the first time I’ve watched one. Namely because it isn’t tied to an existing franchise and it did look really cool. So when it got a fair bit of hype, I felt confident enough in checking it out. Unfortunately for me, and for Black Fox, the film is the definition of average.
All I knew about this movie coming into it was that it seemed to be about ninjas. When it opened up on a girl being chased by one, and knowing that the girl was clearly the main character, it wasn’t hard to figure out this was some kind of training. The sequence is really good, and in some ways, the best part of the film.
You learn that the girl, Rikka, is expected to take up her grandfather’s legacy and lead the Isurugi clan when she comes of age. However, she has other plans. Her father is a scientist who makes cools stuff like animal drones that have human-like AI. Rikka would like nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps.
Flash-forward and Rikka has taken the first major step to achieving her dreams, even if it is to the disappointment of her grandfather, getting into the same school her father attended. Now she’s coming home to share the good news AND celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, the past has come to haunt Rikka’s father, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you where this is going…
In that moment Rikka abandons her aspirations and takes up the blade to seek revenge on the man and all who took her family from her. Which would be cool, except the film abandons this idea in favor of exploring some themes of forgiveness and becoming your own person.
From my summary, you can probably already sense a big problem with the film. It’s predictable. So much so, that it almost feels like a paint by numbers for how to make a successful blockbuster hit. There’s not a single thing you shouldn’t be able to see coming a mile away, and that’s one of the biggest problems I have with Black Fox.
Outside the minor deviation from this just being a ninja movie to becoming something closer to a Spider-Man film, the whole thing is just one trope after another. While none of them are bad or hurt the integrity of the film, the lack of risk or innovation is sorely felt here.
My other gripe is that the whole “revenge” aspect of the film is completely abandoned. It makes sense when Rikka doesn’t kill the first guy she interacts with, but as time goes on, it gets harder to accept that she would give up on it because her robot pets told her to. On the one hand, forgiveness is powerful, and the people she ultimately does forgive, do ultimately deserve it. Though, on the other hand, having it completely removed from the table didn’t feel good, especially as events unfold.
An example is likely needed here. Toward the end of the movie, the bad guy from the evil company (which is so obviously evil it is hilarious) sends an evil drone based on stolen technology from Rikka’s dad after her. It destroys a bunch of the city and everybody can clearly tell the corporation made it. I find it hard to believe that Rikka is going to somehow resolve this peacefully with no casualties.
Furthermore, as an aside, can I just say that it is so stupid that when the people confront the corporation about the evil robots that all the doubts and outrage is dispelled because the corporation says they’ll pay for all the damages, help rebuild, etc… Then the CEO or whatever he is also announces that they are changing the name of the city to be his name. It’s so stupid, I honestly don’t get this part at all.
This is probably an issue more specific to me, but it all felt incredibly cheesy. Perhaps this wouldn’t have stuck with me as such a big deal if Black Fox actually had any resolution. That’s right folks, the film doesn’t have an ending. It “resolves” an arc of a much bigger story, but it also doesn’t seem like the movie will be getting a continuation as one hasn’t been announced (at least to my knowledge).
After doing a bit of research, it seems like this was the product of a failed TV show, which is likely why this occurs. But then, I have to ask, why was this even released? I just can’t help but feel that this is a half-baked product that teases more that may never come. Perhaps the popularity of the film, as it was pretty well received in general, will get it there, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to more.
Look, it’s not like Black Fox is a bad movie. The animation is really good and the story it tells is tried and true. It just needed more, and I don’t just mean the runtime, I mean this in almost every respect. That’s why I can’t ultimately recommend the film. While you may enjoy it, the experience ultimately feels lacking.
That’s it for Black Fox. How did you enjoy it? I know that I wasn’t the only one who felt a bit baffled by this, but maybe you saw something I didn’t. I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you want to support my efforts here, please click one of my donation buttons below as the support is appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you again soon!
I’ll be going over all 16 anime that I’m watching for the Fall 2019 season. This will include continuing series as I’d like to give my continued impressions on them since my thoughts may have changed from when they first started. Plus, that makes these a little more fun to read as well. As a result, however, this is going to be a bit of a longer article so buckle up and see what I’m watching!Continue reading “What I’m Watching – Fall 2019 Impressions”→