Granbelm – Mini Review

Magical Girls & Mecha?

Image result for granbelm animeWell not quite, but it’s close enough. Granbelm is an original 13 episode series that aired in the Summer 2019 lineup. It had a fair bit of buzz around its production staff, most notably for the connections to Re:Zero as both productions share a director and character designer. The big question is if this lived up to the hype or not, so, did it?

The short answer is, yeah, mostly. It was a solid show with a seemingly impossible production (there was an episode animated by ONE person for heaven’s sake). In a word, Granbelm was consistent.

The long answer is that Granbelm was more consistent than Re:Zero, but it lacked something that the latter had. I really can’t identify what this was exactly, but I just couldn’t get into this series the same way. That’s saying something because it wasn’t exactly like I loved Re:Zero or anything like that.

Maybe it was the weird mech designs, or perhaps the short length of 13 episodes wasn’t enough time for characters to fully blossom. I sincerely can’t identify one thing that was truly wrong with Granbelm, but there was something holding it back.

Image result for granbelm anime
Take Nene for example, she got a lot of screentime, but I feel like her story was incomplete

However, I feel like if you liked shows such as Madoka or the WIXOSS seriesthere will be something here for you. Is it as good? Definitely not. Was it one of the shows I actively looked forward to during the season? Absolutely, yes.

Really, what better endorsement could there be? It’s getting compared to some legitimately excellent shows, so clearly Granbelm is doing something right here. Some downright impressive moments of visual flair, decent depth of ideas, and the story is pretty dang unique. I don’t know about you, but I’ve not seen mages need to duke things out in a magical realm, between space and time no less, with astral mecha before. That’s just the surface.

I’m genuinely conflicted here because I am excited by Granbelm and the unique things it brought to the table. It was really well produced (outside of that terrible ED, I can’t fathom that), most the characters were pretty great, and it reminded me of shows I really loved. However, it was just missing something. That’s really all there is to it.

I probably sound like a broken record in this review, but I do recommend Granbelm for what it’s worth. This one does need a little time to get going, but once it does it actually does you’ll probably want to binge through. That’s about it for me folks. Give Granbelm a try if you haven’t already.


What are your thoughts on Granbelm? Did you feel it was missing something that stopped it from being truly great? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you want to support my work, please utilize the donation buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Image result for patreon button

The Ones Within – Mini Review

What Did I Even Watch?

When I was giving my Summer 2019 impressions I wrote this about The Ones Within:

Based on the first episode, I don’t really get how or why anything is happening. Streamers are forced into a contest of sorts, which has life-or-death stakes, but also not?

-My Summer 2019 Impressions

Now, after all 12 episodes I really can’t say my understanding of the show has really increased much further. This isn’t to say that a compelling story didn’t emerge through all this, but where everything is eventually heading to, and why, is totally unknown.

What The Ones Within really boils down to is a quirky slice-of-life show with these bizarre games tossed in to drum up some drama and tension between the cast. Really, the cast is what is going to keep you watching along with these unusual games. That’s the only reason I stuck around and I don’t regret it one bit.

Image result for the ones within anime

Eventually, a small mystery begins to unfold when it is discovered that past players are stowing away in the walls of the game space, but it just isn’t explored in enough detail to provide you with anything more than wild speculation. Part of the reason for this is in how this show handled its adaptation. For anime only folks like myself (I had a chat with some folks on Reddit), whole plots are dropped up until the very end which only adds to the ambiguity of certain events and a very confusing ending.

Image result for the ones within anime
I didn’t have room to mention this, but the visuals for this show were weirdly good. I don’t really know how to explain it, but they really mixed things up while having a strange consistency.

Speaking of the ending, it was horrible as a stopping point. While the cast has a moment of, “Look how far we’ve come, we totally got this!”, as a viewer, you feel like you’re waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. The thing is, it never does. It’s just a quirky, low-stakes episode that seems to promise more but really just leaves you hanging.

In a completely incomprehensible move, The Ones Within randomly decides to introduce its B cast, the folks in the outside world who are connected to the ones in the game, but outside of very minor context clues, it isn’t even clear who they are. This is what I was getting at with the weird adaptation thing.

For the web manga, the outside folks have a story that runs (mostly) in tandem with our principle cast. The anime cuts all of that completely until the very final episode. I suppose that the switching back and forth could have lead to another King’s Game situtation, but I would have rather taken that then this nonsense approach.

Supposedly this is getting an OVA episode… eventually. Perhaps that will offer some necessary answers? I’m not holding my breath but should I gain access to this episode, I will give it a watch and try to amend this article at a later date.

The source material isn’t too far in, but this really needed to be at least 24 episodes. There is a lot of intrigue in everything going on, but it ultimately ends up being so background that, in a small way, I do feel a bit swindled. Again, I don’t think I wasted my time watching, but I could understand if you said you did.

With all this under consideration, would I recommend The Ones Within? Yes, so long as you are comfortable with the fact that this is woefully incomplete. Normally that’s a big turnoff, but the cast really did have great chemistry. Plus, it was just fun! Himiko is still best girl, just in case any of you were wondering too.

Image result for the ones within anime himiko
Her design is so good!

If you actually watched The Ones Within, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Truly an enigma this one is. Like what I’m doing? Consider becoming a Patron or making a small one-time donation via Ko-fi. Just click the corresponding button below for more details. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you back here again soon!

Image result for patreon button

Engaged to the Unidentified – Mini Review

Watched for the Memes

Related image

Specifically the one shown above, though there are more. I didn’t know much about Engaged to the Unidentified but had heard some nice things about. That’s why I decided to watch it recently while I was waiting between things. All I can say after watching this is, it totally makes sense that this is a Doga Kobo show.

Basic plot of this one is that our main character, Kobeni is a pretty average girl who one day has her life changed when she is informed that she is to be betrothed to a boy named Hakuya. Apparently he is a childhood friend, but Kobeni can’t remember much about that time ever since the accident, which Hakuya apparently saved her life during. That’s what the show would have you believe at least.

Image result for engaged to the unidentified gif

While there is a hint of rom-com, and the mystery of the accident is explored to some degree, the real star of the show is Mashiro. She’s the loli girl, just in case that wasn’t clear. For all extents and purposes, she may well be the main character. Given far and away the most screentime, serving as the main catalyst for nearly every event.

The opening doesn’t place too much emphasis on Mashiro, though she is right up alongside the protagonist the entire time. However, the ED is almost exclusively about her, to the point where the male lead and the others are relegated to the side off-stage or blended into the background. It was an odd detail, well until I realized something.

Image result for engaged to the unidentified gif
Mashiro thought Benio was bad…

What I didn’t realize this was a Doga Kobo show at first, but by the end of the 12th episode, when the credits were rolling, I saw it there. It really made the weirdness of giving Mashiro so much focus make a lot of sense. In case you don’t know, Doga Kobo is responsible for such shows as Summer 2019’s, How heavy are the dumbbells you lift? and last year’s, UzaMaid!. Though, they have a whole host of other shows, what I think of when I think Doga Kobo shows is cute girls, especially lolis.

Basically, you should know EXACTLY what you are getting into with Engaged to the Unidentified should you pick it up. I used UzaMaid! in my example shows because, unfortunately, this anime ends up being a mix of that and your more typical shoujo romance with a fantasy slant.

What drug the show down wasn’t Mashiro having so much attention, it was actually the lead’s sister, Benio that was the problem. She’s a hardcore lolicon, but she’s a bit extreme, almost to the point of UzaMaid! territory. While I don’t have a big issue with this stuff, I didn’t like how invasive Benio felt. The “gag” is overused, to the point where that’s really all Benio’s character is. She just loves “Marshmallow”, which is a cute name for Mashiro, I must admit.

Related image
Run Mashiro, run! Don’t let Benio catch you!

Unfortunately, Engaged to the Unidentified is kind of over-hyped. Don’t get me wrong, I generally enjoyed it, but outside of two things, I found myself feeling a bit bored with the show. It feels really average. So what were the two things that kept me interested?

  1. Mashiro of course! I did really enjoy her character and loved seeing her interactions with the cast. She was one of the actually funny parts of the show too. Her character never wore thin on me, which is good. For the real focus of a lot of the show, this is an excellent thing in its favor.
  2. I really wanted to know what happened to Kobeni and learn more about the (and this is a small spoiler by the way) beings that Hakuya and Mashiro were. Unfortunately, this is not explored well at all, to the point where it barely matters outside a few key instances.

Otherwise, the show was just average at the best of times. Nothing to write home about. If Mashiro weren’t in the show, it’d be very boring indeed. If you want to see a cute loli girl and have some romance stuff going on the side, then I suppose this would be for you. Otherwise, you can probably get the full enjoyment from the GIF’s I’ve placed throughout.

Image result for engaged to the unidentified mashiro gif


I give this one 10 Mashiro’s out of 10, for Mashiro… just Mashiro though. Jokes aside, what are your thoughts on Engaged to the Unidentified? The 4-koma manga clearly has a lot more to tell, so I’d love to hear about that as well. If you enjoy my writing, click the Ko-fi button below and buy me a coffee or two to keep me going. Thanks for stopping by, and see you for the next one!

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time – Mini Review

What Will Seki-kun do Next?

Here’s a show I wasn’t expecting to watch this season, one from Winter 2014, but I am really glad that I did. Up front, this show is a 10/10 great time, and if you haven’t seen Tonari no Seki-kun I highly recommend it. In case you haven’t heard, I watched this alongside several folks on here and Twitter under a new initiative of mine, #anitwitwatches. You can read up on the program and what we are watching next here.

If you want to get my weekly reactions (which were blind and live), you can do so by hopping into this Twitter thread. They are in reverse chronological order though.

In fact, Seki-kun had very few “dud” episodes. I say “dud” because even those were still funny, they just weren’t to my taste. It seems we all had one or two of those, but it didn’t reduce my feelings toward the anime at all.

Image result for tonari no seki kun anime robot family
I loved the robot family! I’d watch a short based on them too XD

There were several excellent moments in the series, but what surprised me the most was how much character and story they actually managed to put into this. Now, it isn’t anything super deep, but it was more than it needed to do. This resulted in a better experience as there are other characters beyond the titular Seki and his neighbor in class, Rumi.

In the Twitter thread I linked above, I talk a lot about the unique aspects of the show like how the OP has Seki making the OP, acting as a pseudo episode in and of itself. There was a lot of great discussion that just won’t fit here so I really do encourage you to check it out.

Even my mom jumped in on this! I recently helped her make a MAL account (don’t be afraid to send her a friend invite) to get recommendations and keep track of stuff, but now that she has it, she’s been using it a fair bit. My mom had commentary about the school system and different teaching methods which she provided some comments on in my thread as well (I posted in proxy).

With that, I think I’ve made my case. Seki-kun was really funny and it brought a lot of people together. My only regret in all this is that I slept on the anime for so long. I’ve had it on my shelf for about 4 years now, but it certainly deserved to be watched far sooner than now. I can only hope that Rampo Kitan is received just as well for the next one!


A big thank you to everybody who joined in on the watch! If you have seen Seki-kun I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you were a part of the watch and write a review yourself, be sure to let me know so I can share it! Enjoy my writing? Then consider a donation by utilizing my ko-fi button below. Finally, thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again real soon!

My Hero Academia the Movie: Two Heroes – Mini Review

A Fun, but Flawed Film

Image result for my hero academia two heroesWith My Hero Academia about to enter its fourth season later this year, I thought it’d be fun to finally get around to watching the film that was released last year in 2018. It was a nice way to get excited for season four that felt like watching an extended episode of the show. However, I can’t help but feel the film had a lot of issues which I’d like to discuss today.

First and foremost, this was a good movie. If all you are looking for is a recommendation, then you’ve got it. I have to spoil some of the movie to talk about some of the things I’d like to, so you’ve been warned.

In case you need a refresher, the film sees Deku and All Might going to “I-Island” in order to visit an old friend of All Might’s, David Shield. The island is known for the technological research that’s conducted there and a big event is also going to be held during the visit. Additionally, the island is very safe, so naturally, nothing will go wrong… right?

I do want to say that it was really nice to see some more backstory on All Might and the time he spent with David Shield during his visit in America when he was younger. The two were a good team, and you can see that All Might really inspired David. Unfortunately, this is also one of my biggest complaints with the film

David is such a big character, along with his daughter, Melissa (who spends a lot of time with Deku) that it is weird for them to not play any roll outside of this movie. This film takes place between S2 and S3 events, yet it is never mentioned in the series cannon, despite being, well, cannon.

Everything that happens in Two Heroes is because David is worried about All Might losing his power, and thus, having the world lose its symbol of peace. Really though, he’s worried about losing this figure that he looks up to. While this makes for a great story beat, it was weird that David’s consequences are not at all explored.

Image result for my hero academia two heroes melissa
Melissa Shield

Then there is Melissa. She hits it off with Deku and they really seem to be a great team, mirroring what we see with her father and All Might. To not have her influence things in later seasons of the show felt unnatural and clunky with retrospect. If you hadn’t seen the film, then that works, but if you had…

This is most noticeable in the support item that Melissa gives Deku. It’s basically a power glove that lets Deku use 100% of his power without injuring himself. It had me wondering just how they would explain that away since he couldn’t take it off and it was capable of “withstanding 3x the power of Uncle Might’s punches”. The solution was to just have Deku punch so hard it evaporates, which was kind of lame.

Another thing that bothered me was my chief complaint about My Hero Academia as a series, and that would be the amount of recap it has. The film recaps a LOT, which does hurt the runtime, inflating that 1 hour and 36 minutes.

To the film’s credit, this did make the movie watchable if you had seen none of the show before. A movie should be able to stand on its own, and to that effect, it was successful. It just wasn’t great to have so much recap. Really, there’s probably close to a little over an hour of actual film here, which is basically two regular episodes.

At one point I even jokingly mentioned how there was a spot where the credits felt like they should play, because it was an obvious break where an “end of episode” ED would go. This really could have just been a two-part episode set for the series proper.

Finally, the film had to contrive a way to get a lot of its cast to I-Island, which made some things feel kind of forced. I almost rolled my eyes at how some of it was executed. It does make sense for some characters like Momo, Iida, or Todoroki to attend this important conference, but beyond that everyone else is just kind of there.

Past that, everything is solid. The animation, music, and story is a great time. What I’d like to see moving forward, especially with the announcement of a second film, is having these mean more to the series. I’d like to see more of the Shield family, and the additional world details play a more active role in the story proper. This was a nice holdover until season four finally comes out, and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Deku and friends!


What were your thoughts on Two Heroes? Did you agree with my complaints? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you enjoy my writing, please consider a small donation by pressing the Ko-fi button below. Thanks you once again for reading and I hope to see you again soon!

Enter the Anime – Mini Review

It’s Not Even an Ad

Netflix released a “documentary” on August 5th, 2019 titled, Enter the Anime. The premise is simple enough, “What is anime?” and follows a newcomer to the industry, Alex Burunova, as she doesn’t proceed to do anything for approximately 50 minutes. If it had not been for this review, I would never have touched this film. Even in the first few minutes, it was so repulsive that I would have turned it off altogether. Yet here we are, as promised. Today I’ll be discussing Enter the Anime through the lens of a piece a marketing for Netflex, as it transparently seems to only exist to sell you on their shows (and it can’t even do that).

I’m going to be frank with you all. There is not a single positive thing I could say about this “documentary”. Even when it had something interesting to say, it was often cut off, impossible to decipher due to the hyperactive editing, or drowned in a sea of vapid nothingness. Just wanted to be upfront about that.

The thesis statement of this is to find out what anime is. It’s clear that the target audience is folks who have never seen an anime in their life, but it also expects the viewer to be familiar with the material as well. If I were totally new to anime, this would have turned me off to the medium entirely, and in the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain why.

First, Burunova constantly talks about how “clean” and pristine Japan is as a nation but then says that anime is made by these “deranged” individuals who are the fringe of their society. This is not only extremely offensive, and mindbogglingly baffling that this was ever released, it implies that there is this level of taboo to the medium.

She also takes every moment to be as edgy as possible. I hate the “fellow kids” kind of comments people make about things when people are genuinely trying to connect to multiple generations, but this was exactly that. There is a moment where they say that a character in Baki says, “I don’t give a fuck” and she follows that up by saying, “Unlike Baki, I do give a fuck”. Which I guess is an alright line if it weren’t ruined by things like, “The Instagram royalty of yore” or whatever that stupid line is.

Image result for enter the anime
Oh right, guess I was a bit off, like it matters though…

Burunova is like this from minute one. She is a terrible narrator and host.

This is followed up by showing the most graphic content that Netflix anime has to offer. Seriously, nonstop. To the “documentary’s” credit, there is a very brief section on “cute culture” and how “anime is for kids”, but it comes so late in, and is so short, that it may well not even have been included.

Finally, the editing and presentation of any topic is just plain awful. It is so transparent that this is just a giant ad for Netflix anime, especially the CG shows (which is fine), that it goes as far as to undermine its entire premise in the opening minutes.

Let me explain, the first interview is with the Castlevania guy. You know, not a Japanese person or a show even made in Japan. I’m not one of those people who think anime is only something from Japan either, but this really undercut any credibility anyone might have for what’s to come, and not just for this reason.

The guy is a massive weirdo! He starts things off by telling the audience that he is a “time traveler” and wastes almost 12 minutes of the runtime talking about his DOG and Kanye West of all things. What does that have to do with anime?

Image result for enter the anime
“Professional” editing…

Even when they do finally talk to some industry people, half of the “interviews” are just… nothing. The worst instance of this was when they left a phone call with Yoko Takahashi’s manager in the “documentary”, instead of talking about NGE (which they never even mention by name for some reason) or showing her performance beyond a few seconds. It was just bad.

Oh yeah! They even recycled footage in this 50 minute piece of garbage. Can you believe that? More than once too! There’s no substance here. One interviewee talked about how many people don’t know him because Netflix lets you skip OP’s and ED’s, but that is given like 2 seconds. Almost all of them laugh about the lack of sleep they get, as if it is some joke you need to “get” about the industry. It was frustrating to watch.

Ok, so what was the point then? Like I said, this is meant to push Netflix shows. I think that’s fine, but they don’t really show much off, and a lot of the things they chose were the edgiest and least accessible titles. Even just choosing from among their “original” properties, they really did not offer variety here. It made anime feel immature, hyper violent, and kind of obnoxious.

Furthermore, they chose almost exclusively CG shows, where much, or even all, of the product was not animated in 2D. Again, this would be fine except that just isn’t what anime is on the whole. Same can be said for the last point.

Also there was this strange focus on titles that haven’t even come out yet. Some not until 2020. This was really dumb, because when those things were stacked up alongside this train wreck, it didn’t make me want to watch them. Seriously, I have less confidence in some of these shows because they were in this “documentary”.

In a lot of ways, this would have been better as a mini series with proper time given to all its topics. The question of “what is anime?” is answered in a lot of ways: culture, food, style, etc… but ultimately settles on saying it doesn’t matter. It chooses to abandon its core premise to say “it brings people together” and “it gives a voice to the outcasts” but, I just couldn’t help but feel it was pandering. Void of all meaning. A genuine waste of time, and a massive mistake on the part of Netflix.


This is slightly longer than the max character limit of 1,000 words I set for these mini reviews, but this was just that bad. I tried to stay focused on the marketing angle, but I just couldn’t avoid airing grievances. Let me know if you liked this in the comments, please tell me how you managed to do that. Support my stuff via the Ko-fi button below. See ya in the next one folks.

7 Seeds – Mini Review

Worse than Hero Mask?!?

Image result for 7 seeds animeI’ll save you the trouble, yes, 7 Seeds was a worse Netflix show than Hero Mask was. That’s really saying something, and a massive disappointment because this show is based on a very well regarded manga that is extremely interesting! This adaptation does have the intrigue, but it fails on almost every level to execute on any of it.

Long time readers will know that studio Gonzo and I have a history as I’ve watched a surprisingly large amount of their library. It’s impressive that they are still producing stuff even today, like in today’s case with 7 Seeds. Even though I think this show is rubbish, it does live up to my main thought on Gonzo’s work:  not all of their shows are good, but they are all at least interesting.

This is a doomsday survival story. The world is about to end, so the government forms teams of people, putting them in cryosleep, so that they can one day rebuild society long after the remainder of humanity has been wiped out as a last resort. It’s such a strong premise, which I am not doing justice to.

I was just praising Phantom in my last article for how well it adapted its source material by making changes, that I feel kind of bad about what I have to say on 7 Seeds’s behalf. It too makes changes, but it really doesn’t work at all. Shots are pretty faithful to the manga, the issue more lies in that an episode could cover up to 10 chapters of the manga at a time. That’s absurd!

All of this isn’t helped by the fact that the anime chooses to jump all over the place, following various groups of people, some even on unique timelines. It isn’t like things are hard to follow, but stuff is just constantly happening and way too quickly. Especially the bad stuff.

Image result for 7 seeds anime
This arc was just way too much for me, and I LIKE dark stuff…

What I mean by that, is the bad things that happen to the characters. Even if you somehow cared for any of them (seriously, there are maybe 3 I didn’t totally hate), you have no down time to appreciate when they have a moment of calm. Unrelentless is how I would describe this, it just keeps throwing tragic event, after tragic event.

On the note about the characters, they are all terrible, even the supposed “good guys” from the “good teams”. Let me give you an example, one character hates another character because he is kind of a coward. She does horrible stuff to him and others. Later, he dies to save her life and MAGICALLY she gives a huge speech about how much she loved and cared about the dude. It all feels so fake. These don’t even feel like characters.

It wasn’t all bad though, like I said. There was a lot of cool world building details and concepts tossed around. 7 Seeds even managed TWO whole (mostly) effective story beats! One was about an underground shelter, the first way the government tried to protect people. This was the more effective of the two, even if it was a little goofy and over the top in places. The second was about Jesus, but he’s good at baseball and also has dogs. It was just his backstory.

Otherwise, the animation was baffling in terms of how bad it was. The character’s look great, aside from the gross hair thing, which is cool because the manga art would not have translated well to animation. Music was a joke, even the OP and ED. I’ve already spoken to the writing and direction, so that’s it really.

I guess there is one pretty big thing left. 7 Seeds doesn’t even have an ending! Netflix really has a bad habit of not finishing what they start when it comes to these “original” projects. Thankfully, I do know that the second half of this series is coming soon, but it was a pretty big mistake to leave things hanging like they did.

Not going to lie, I was still interested in watching to see how things progressed. The world was interesting and critiquing the issues with things was fun for me. However, leaving off on what I wouldn’t even call a cliff hanger, literally just cutting from the middle of what feels like a normal episode, was gross. It also wasn’t clear that this was meant to just be a part 1 either.

Should mention, the dub is not bad. Anyway, this trailer doesn’t look too bad, does it? Yeah, I wish it was true…

Of course it isn’t hard to figure that out once you finish the “final” episode, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. Clearly, I mean I’m on my third paragraph about it now. Do yourself a favor, totally pass on 7 Seeds. If you really want to check it out, at least wait until the second half drops on Netflix so you (hopefully) get a complete product.


Did you make the mistake of watching 7 Seeds? Totally disagree with me here? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Consider dropping a few bucks my way by hitting the Ko-fi button below if you like my articles here. Thanks for reading and see ya soon!

One Punch Man Season 2 – Mini Review

That’s it?

Image result for one punch man season 2Back in Fall 2015 a show called One Punch Man seemed to take the world by swarm. It wasn’t until a little while later that I finally gave it a shot with the TV dub, and while a lot of criticism had been heaped on to the show at that point, I still really enjoyed it. The highlight for me was The Deep Sea King arc, which you can read all about in my review of the first season here. When I heard this would get a second season, especially one that was less focused on Saitama, I thought that would be perfect, because the show was always at its best when he wasn’t the focus of the show.

However, expectations do not always live up to reality. The changes from season one to the second season of One Punch Man could be felt throughout the community long before it aired. This cast a long shadow of doubt on the anime before it even had a chance at success. Still, I remained hopeful in spite of some troubling signs.

It was until the Spring 2019 season when I was finally granted the opportunity to watch it as it aired that my hope for something great was slowly diminished. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like One Punch Man’s second season was terrible, but it was a huge disappointment.

As promised, the focus was taken away from Saitama and interesting ideas were sometimes given an opportunity to peek through all of the mediocrity. This, just wasn’t enough though.

Normally I’m not one to harp too much on animation, but there was a lot of lazy work going on here. One episode even uses footage from the first season and you can really see just how bad the second season is in comparison. I wouldn’t even necessarily say the second season was really all that bad in this department overall, but these reminders, which were frequent enough, absolutely didn’t do this any favors. It was like the anime wanted to invite this mark against it.

Image result for one punch man season 2 garou and kid

The writing was pretty bad this time around too. Outside of Garou, there was almost no exploration of what it means to be a hero that had any impact at all. His character was interesting because Garou fights for the villains. That said, he manages to form this bond with a kid, and through some good use of flashbacks, you can really sympathize with his position. Agree with it? No, probably not, but understand and even think he isn’t that bad of a person deep down; absolutely, with ease.

I could go on, but it would just be me talking about how this felt like such an inferior product in every way. A hollow imitation at the best of times, and a miserable experience at the worst of times. Everything that made One Punch Man fun and interesting in the first season glimmers deep beneath the surface here, but it just can’t break through the mire of mediocrity in its wake. Not worth totally passing up on if you are a fan, but expect to be disappointed.


Were your thoughts different than mine for OPM season 2? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! If you would like to support my writing by giving a small donation (helps a lot), you can do so via the Ko-fi button below. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see ya again real soon!

Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu – Mini Review

Like Watamote, but less Cringe

Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu, or as I’m going to call it, Hitoribocchi, was one of the only shows I watched from the Spring 2019 lineup. Not much caught my attention but this did for its cute character designs and extremely goofy cast. Over the 12 episode run the anxiety riddled, titular Bocchi, attempts to befriend her entire middle school class so she can one day reunite with her friend. So, how’d she do?

I heard this show described as one where the plot can only happen if most of the characters involved are really stupid, and I kind of agree. Bocchi is such an unbelievably dumb person on top of having difficulties speaking to others. It is really obvious why her friend, Kai, pushed her to befriend her whole middle school class. However, I don’t really see anything wrong with that so long as the show is entertaining. Which, I think this anime succeeds at.

Image result for hitoribocchi do your best beam gif
Do your best beam!

 

What mostly caries this show is its cast. Bocchi has and company have great designs as well as onscreen chemistry that kept me coming back each week. Particularly when the character, Aru, was introduced. At first she was so obviously fake that I almost got turned off to the show entirely, but then it is revealed she is just an unfortunate person who overcompensates as a result. Example, coming to school with a coat hanger sticking out of her uniform. She ended up being my favorite character in the show.

 

This character song is actually really good and captures Aru’s perfectly

I already mentioned this show back in my article “When an Anime Shows & Tells – A Discussion Ft. Waiting in the Summer and Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu where I talked about how sometimes little details make a show all the better. This is one of those shows were nothing is revolutionary, but because of this effort, Hitoribocchi manages to be more enjoyable than one might initially expect.

In several ways this reminds me of Watamote, another anime about a socially awkward girl except it isn’t as cringe-worthy. While I ultimately think Watamote is the better of the two for how inventive it gets with some of its presentation, alongside being generally funnier, Hitoribocchi has a leg up in consistency. It’s also more wholesome. If you didn’t like Watamote but liked the idea of it, this may be for you.

If I had to criticize the show for anything it is actually when Bocchi bumps into Kai part way through the series. Bocchi has succeeded in making some friends at this point but in spite of that Kai refuses to even say “hello” to Bocchi. This has the unfortunate of effect of making you kind of hate Kai. While you get her intentions at the start, it is ridiculous that she can’t even do a basic greeting or anything. The show plays this off as an emotional moment that is somehow positive, but it just didn’t play right.

Disregarding that little hiccup, the rest of the show that consistency in what it delivers. A few chuckles and a good enough time. As I’ve already stated, this isn’t a groundbreaking show but it doesn’t need to be. In a season where I didn’t have a lot to watch, it was something nice to tide me over. If you are on the fence about this one, you should go ahead and give Hitoribocchi a watch!


What were your thoughts on Hitoribocchi? Have you read the manga? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments! If you would like to support my writing, consider pressing my Ko-fi button below and making a small donation. Thanks for reading and have yourself a wonderful day!

Dauntless (Open Beta) – Mini Review

More Than a Monster Hunter Clone

You’ve probably heard of a “new” game that’s become quite popular on the Epic Games store recently called Dauntless. It’s out for PS4, Xbox, and PC with a Switch port coming soon. Even better than that, it is 100% free to play. So what exactly is Dauntless and why is it so popular?

This game has actually been around for some time, since 2017, but it never gained traction until just recently. Many wrote this off as a buggy and inferior copy of the smash game series, Monster Hunter, but after some time in the oven and a wide release on multiple platforms, it seems things have really turned around for Phoenix Labs.

Image result for dauntless

I’ll admit that I was skeptical of the game. I don’t like Monster Hunter and it seemed like the kind of grind that would get old fast. However, something compelled me to give this a try and I’m really glad that I did. What I discovered was a game that was great for popping in and out of with a nice community.

As I’ve mentioned, the game is not dissimilar to Monster Hunter, specifically World. The key difference being that Dauntless is more of an arcade-y experience working on a free to play model. Don’t let that scare you though because the game is extremely solid and friendly to those not wanting to invest a cent.

For an open beta product, the foundation of the game is extremely solid. You can choose from one of several weapons ranging from a sword, spear, or guns, called “repeaters” in this game. Each weapon has various elemental forms that can be upgraded and modified as you play to best counter each monster.

What I particularly like about this is the mastery system Dauntless has. As you use each weapon, you unlock mastery in it. This in turn grants you new ways to further customize your weapon of choice. However, the game also gives players an incentive for keeping a more well-rounded approach by having quests and challenges that grant rewards tied to getting just a little bit better with every weapon.

Image result for dauntless

As for micro-transactions, there are some. The worst of the bunch is the needless “Hunt Pass” which is a weird battle pass thing in a free to play MMO type game. That said, it only grants a very minute bonus to resource gathering as well as additional premium currency that you otherwise wouldn’t get right away. At least, that’s all that it impacts in terms of gameplay. You do get several cosmetic items by purchasing the pass but it is by no means necessary.

Free users still gain rewards on the Hunt Pass, just a lot less after the initial few levels. Still, free users do gain many of the same things the paid users get, just in smaller quantities. What you’ll largely miss out on is cosmetic items.

Having put in several hours over the course of two weekends, I can confidently say that the Duantless has a solid playerbase that is ready and willing to help new players. It doesn’t take long to get to a pretty competent level either. I’m already at some pretty high-end stuff with multiple sets of highly leveled gear.

Fighting the monsters has been largely rewarding. Only a few are slightly frustrating but each is pretty different than the last. When I was talking about weapons earlier, you really are rewarded for having mastery over a couple because some weapons do way better against certain monsters. As you play, you pick that stuff up in an organic kind of way and it is really satisfying.

It’s not all sunshine and roses though. Every now-and-again, the servers seem to be overloaded. You may disconnect in the middle of a 15 minute battle and lose out on all that work. Also, the devs haven’t implemented loadout slots yet so you are constantly needing to shuffle around gear.

These are things that can be, and will be, fixed though. If you like games like Monster Hunter and don’t mind a bit of a grind, than Dauntless is something you should check out. It being free and on virtually every platform with a linked account across each of ’em, there really isn’t much risk for just popping in. You may just find a new favorite like I did!

You can check the game out in more detail on the Dauntless website. If you would like to play with me I am available sporadically on the weekend. The game has crossplatform play, so even if you aren’t on PS4, we can play together. Let me know in the comments if you want to add me or send me a private message on my Twitter (@JS_Reviews) so we can get that sorted.


Let me know how you’ve been enjoying Dauntless and if I convinced you to check it out. Even if you hate the game, I’d love to hear why. If you want to support my writing here please consider a donation by hitting the Ko-fi button below. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read and have a good one!