Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom – A Near Perfect Adaptation

The Best Bee Train Show I’ve Seen

Maybe you haven’t heard of Bee Train as a studio, but they have less than a stellar reputation. You probably have heard of Gen Urobuchi, known for such series as Psycho-Pass and Madoka Magica. So what happens when these two get together to adapt one of Urobuchi’s early visual novels? Well, you get Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, a dramatic tale of two assassins filled to the brim with twists and turns. Continue reading “Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom – A Near Perfect Adaptation”

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What I’m Watching – Summer 2019 Impressions

Summer is Stacked!

I’m watching way more than normal for the Summer 2019 season so I thought I’d put up a list of everything I’m watching and give a little bit of a first impression for each show. Held off on doing this for a week because I added a few more shows that hadn’t started airing. The list is 10 shows long with one held over from the last season, so let’s dive right in! Continue reading “What I’m Watching – Summer 2019 Impressions”

The Rising of the Shield Hero – Finding Something Worth Fighting For

Another Isekai, Am I Right?

Image result for shield heroJokes aside, when The Rising of the Shield Hero started in Winter 2019 it quickly caught my attention. Opening with an hour long episode, and what seemed to be an anti-hero story, I couldn’t help but get excited! However, what the show actually became was a lot more. Despite some missteps, this became one of the better shows I watched in both the Winter and Spring 2019 season. Continue reading “The Rising of the Shield Hero – Finding Something Worth Fighting For”

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?”

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie – Perfect for Old & New Fans Alike

Obvious Recommendation Here

As promised, along with reviewing the original anime for my Anime ABC’s series, I am also taking a look at Cowboy Bebop: The MovieActually, this isn’t even the first time I’ve talked about the film. I first recommended it back in 2016 in an article titled, “5 Anime Films That Non-Anime Fans Can Enjoy” which aimed to recommend some good entry points into the medium. It should come then, to no surprise, that this film is worth checking out, even if you haven’t seen Cowboy Bebop yet. Continue reading “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie – Perfect for Old & New Fans Alike”

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”

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”

Red Garden – Mini Review

A Gonzo Show! I loved it… Right?

Image result for red garden animeYou might not have heard of this bizarre anime from the Fall 2006, so let me do my best to explain this one a bit. Wish me luck:  

A series of strange suicides have been plaguing New York. Four girls from an elite high school find themselves in a strange situation when they realize their friend is one of the suicide victims. That’s when the butterflies appear and rip Kate, Claire, Rachel, and Rose from their normal lives. They are all quite different, but circumstance has forced them together. Upon following the butterflies, they meet a man and a woman who inform them that they are dead and now must fight for their right for continued existence.

Image result for red garden anime

That, or I could have just said, this is a lot like Twilight but if it were somehow more poorly written, acted, and WAY more enjoyable. Even if horror-comedy-musical-tragedies aren’t normally your thing, you may very well still want to check out Gonzo’s Red Garden. Let’s dive right in and find out why.

OMG, I’ve never seen this trailer before. Most anticipated horror-action of the YEAR guys! 

The first big thing about Red Garden is that director, Kou Matsuo, has this weird fascination with Western media. One thing in particular being musicals. For the first handful of episodes in the series, sometimes a random, in-character musical number breaks out. These don’t add anything to the show, but knowing that was enough to peak my interest.

What’s more is the crazy story format. It jumps all over the place. Sometimes it is a slasher show, a comedy, romance, etc… when I read about the plot a few years back, I just knew that this level of out-there was something I’d enjoy. I was right too, but it also was more of a slog to watch than expected.

Red Garden suffers immensely from pacing. This isn’t helped by the inconsistent format, poor acting, and generally bad writing. Plot wise, it actually isn’t hard to follow, but the dialog and events are an absolute mess.

The Western influence did bring about some more interesting things for the show though. For example, setting the show in New York, most notably Roosevelt Island, was a nice touch. The girls, while design wise not always the best, wore unique outfits that were generally believable. Additionally, the socioeconomic differences between its cast were more highlighted here, even though they all attend a rather prestigious school.

There were a lot of little touches like that in Red Garden that added to its depth when it wasn’t being a totally bonkers genre blend of a story. It also knew how to restrain itself and tell human stories that actually mattered. They were far-and-few between, but it was a nice break from the supernatural drama.

In essencethis is a vampires vs werewolves story. The girls are newly-made vampires, except they suck lemons instead of blood. Really, they are more like zombies, but the show also gives them vampire powers. Werewolves are part of this other clan and are the rivals of the vampires.

Both sides are under a curse due to some dumb thing that happened a long time ago. They each resent the other side, and want to solve their own problem without helping their rivals. However, there is a twist. If the girls win the day, they’ll lose all of their memories and become immortal.

Upon this revelation the Red Garden really gives this time. The final battle brought things to a fairly decent close, and the series ended on a decent note. Then the OVA happened.

The OVA takes place far into the future and all of the girls have taken on new personalities. They have no memory of who they once were either. For whatever reason, all the other characters are also in this OVA, which ends up being funnier than expected. The OVA turns things into a futuristic sci-fi action-mystery with mecha in it for good measure. Seriously, it is bizarre.

That’s the appeal of Red Garden though. It’s so utterly unique and interesting that calling it outright bad would be a disservice. It certainly isn’t good, but it does entertain. There are some very slow bits, but ultimately, it was worth the watch.

I should note that watching this either in Japanese or English made no difference. Both tracks are intentionally done poorly. I went with English because it was easier to understand and the atrocious singing was a lot funnier to me. You’ll probably want to flip subtitles on for at least that though, you can’t understand them well when they sing. Partially because they are BAD, but also because it is really quiet.

Sorry the quality isn’t the best. This was the only good example I could find. Check out the OP & ED’s for the show though, those are legit good.

I’ll link to one of the songs here so you can see what I mean. It’s probably the best way to sell you on the show, as counter intuitive as that may sound. Gonzo certainly has put out a lot of shows I’ve loved, and while Red Garden doesn’t quite measure up to their other works, I still think this one was a valuable edition to my collection.


Have you seen Red Garden? Be sure to share your thoughts. Additionally, what is your favorite Gonzo show? There are a lot to choose from! If you enjoyed this article, consider dropping me a donation via the button bellow. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to read and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai – Mini Review

That’s a Title…

Image result for bunny girl senpaiAlright, 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.

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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.

 

Image result for bunny girl senpai kaede
This Kaede is best Kaede

Back to Kaede, I was actually looking forward to her arc, and up until the final episodes, I was really enjoyed 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!