Sword Art Online: Alicization – Mini Review

A VERY Mixed Bag

Image result for sword art online alicizationAfter watching Ordinal Scale in the theater, I was pretty hype for the upcoming third season. Later, when I heard that this season would have a boat load of episodes, basically enough to run for an ENTIRE YEAR, that hype only grew. Then it came out… From my tone you are probably thinking I hated it, but I didn’t. However, the show was all over the place and something was, clearly missing from previous installments in the franchise.

It should be pretty apparent by the way I opened this article that I’m a fan of the Sword Art Online anime franchise. Yes, it has its share of flaws, but I’ve generally enjoyed a good portion of the show. With great highs such as the “Mother’s Rosario” arc and lows such as the “Excalibur” filler episode. Something that I’ve noticed though, is that over time each installment has improved upon what was previously built with room for continued growth moving forward.

Reki Kawahara, author of the series, has always struggled with pacing and how to properly balance which characters get screen time. However, by the end of Ordinal Scale, it felt like he was finally hitting his stride. Having had more experience and taking influence from others, see Gun Gale Onlineyou can see this gradual improvement in these areas.

When it comes to this latest season with Alicization, it feels like all that got thrown out the window. I’ve noted in my “What I’m Watching – Fall 2018 Anime” article that things open with problems. It is true that I still enjoyed the show, but signs of issues were present from the very start.

Everything in this 24 episode installment, just takes way too long to happen. Really, I don’t mind that so much, but not a lot of interesting things occur as we go from point A to B. Of course there were some pretty great episodes or moments, but I couldn’t help but feel that they were farther and fewer between than any previous season.

You know the pacing is bad when you have a dedicated recap episode that is immediately followed up by yet ANOTHER recap episode. Not even joking, Alicization brazenly did that. They didn’t even try to make those interesting either, which isn’t surprising, but just extra salt in the wound.

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This is pretty much exactly how much time they share on screen, like a scene or two.

There was a lack of hype. Asuna and Kirito don’t get to interact at all really, the rest of the cast basically doesn’t exist, and while some of the new characters, namely Eugeo are cool, not enough of them leave a lasting impact.

All said, there were still things I liked quite a bit. For starters, the series has received a notable visual upgrade to bring it inline more with the film. Despite the controversy, I enjoyed episode 10 which was proper payoff for an arc (even with the gross censorship). Even the villain, Quinella, who seems rather shallow at first, has enough going on that I could write an entire article about her and thematic elements involved with her character.

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I could talk about toxic femininity, just as an example.

Additionally, some stuff in this show was legitimately uncomfortable. Maybe that sounds like a bad thing to you, but this is actually a point of high praise from me. Personally, I think media should challenge folks and this does achieve that a few times. That, and anime struggles to convey real horror in any capacity and season 3 here managed it more than once!

My final point of praise is in the ending of the series. Even with the Eugeo deciding his purpose in life was to become a giant flying sword powered by love and friendship (yes, that actually happened), they managed to recover from that and have an emotional conclusion. It didn’t feel cheap or unnecessary either. Kirito has a real reaction and it felt very good.

Then, they go and leave off on a crazy cliffhanger. Now, I expected something to go wrong for this last episode but I didn’t quite think things would escalate to the point it actually went to. Don’t want to spoil it, but I am actually excited for this to return in October. I just hope they really narrow in on the pacing and keep a tight ship, because if they manage that, we should be in for a pretty good ride!


Love it or hate it, I want to hear your thoughts on Sword Art Online both as a franchise and regarding this series, of course! Was something missing for you or did this keep you hyped for its whole run? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. If you feel like supporting my writing, you can do so by utilizing my Ko-fi button below. Finally, thank you so much for reading and have yourself an excellent day!

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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!

W’z – Mini Review

Hand Shakers Second Season?

Image result for w'zWhen W’z got announced it was pretty unclear whether or not this would be a sequel to the critically panned, Hand Shakers or not. As somebody who actually really enjoyed Hand Shakers, I was pretty excited for GoHands latest project for the Winter 2019 season. Quickly, it became quite evident that this was in fact a second season. As much as I hate to admit it though, this was a pretty disappointing followup.

The unique aspects of Hand Shakers are still present in W’z, namely the visuals. These actually got a notable upgrade with better visual coherence and general direction. Unfortunately, the writing and plot took a hit.

I think I should mention what I liked about Hand Shakers at this point. While it certainly was visually noisy and there were moments of absolute stupidity, it ultimately told an interesting story while explore some more interesting ideas. The absolute height of the anime being the arc involving the idol character, which will be relevant in a moment. 

When I dug a little deeper, I learned that it was actually made as a commercial for a separate company and a passion project of sorts. You may know that I’m a marketing major, so this struck me as particularly interesting. This is more something that personally interests me but I think it adds something to the show that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

I digress, let’s focus back on W’z. The plot of this show takes place 10 years after the events of the first season. Plot wise there is a decent hook, characters are looking for those who met with God the previous season and have mysteriously vanished. Our new cast can help with that because they have the power to transport people into Ziggurat. There’s other stuff going on here, but not much else really mentioning.

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Additionally, there is an emphasis placed on music, which is a novel concept initially, but it quickly out stays its welcome. The obnoxious catch phrase of our protagonist, who’s only real trait is that he likes composing music, is extremely intrusive. What’s worse, is that other characters, who are not even interested in music, also use the catch phrase… like a lot.

It was nice to see the previous cast make an appearance here alongside the new one, actively participating too. They, for the most part, aren’t just shoved in for the sake of it. W’z even managed to make one of the worst characters from season 1 one of the most interesting characters in this season. Unfortunately, the idol girl NEVER makes a return, the one character I wanted to see! I was extremely disappointed to say the least.

Eventually the main plot gets solved and this other plot takes center stage. It’s bad, even if they do a decent job explaining the backstory and motivations of the antagonists in this section. I should mention, that this plot runs through from the start, but it really matters very little until the final few episodes.

I’m kind of losing the plot in explaining just what it is that didn’t, and forgive me because I just complained about this, “mesh” with me here. Just going to try and salvage this here. Frankly, I didn’t hate this but I wouldn’t recommend it either. Hand Shakers, absolutely! W’z, not so much. That should speak volumes.


If you happened to enjoy Hand Shakers and watched this, did you like W’z? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way, even on the series prior. If you feel like supporting me, you can do so with my donation button below. Thanks for stopping by and have yourself a wonderful day!

The Price of Smiles – Mini Review

NOT an Idol Anime

I’ve mentioned this before in an update I did during some of my semi-hiatus time, but I genuinely thought that The Price of Smiles was going to be an idol anime. The way Princess Yuki looks, along with the only image I had seen at the time, really had me convinced. SPOILERS! It’s not an idol anime at all… it’s a mecha show about war. Not what I expected but that can be good, so, was it?

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Said image, featured on Karandi’s wonderful site. Be sure to check it out!

I also mentioned this in my little update, though in not very much detail, that this was a palate cleanser that I was finding just enjoyable. That held true throughout the entire viewing experience. The Price of Smiles was never boring, but it suffered from being too short at only 12 episodes. As a result, a lot of stuff just kind of happens because the show has to get to its ending. A shame too, because this could and should have been a far better show than it ended up being.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like The Price of Smiles had anything revolutionary to say, or even did anything innovative, but there was a solid show here. If this would have been doubled in length, it would have easily fixed a lot of the problems that resulted in this being such a short series. Namely, pacing and impact.

I mention this because the ending falls short in a lot of ways. Things just get wrapped up because they have to and it all feels a little too easy. It takes away from what should be a meaningful moment for the series, causing me to not really care when it came down to everything. It was all going to work out of course, but the stakes weren’t quite there. It didn’t help that in the epilogue, brief as it is, doesn’t really show any of the stuff they were talking about leading up to the ending. Lives were supposedly changes, but it didn’t seem that way at all. 

It’s not all bad though. As I mentioned not too long ago in my collab with Yomu covering Art Clubsometimes an average, enjoyable show is exactly what you need. For a season that was jam-packed with excellent titles, having something like this to slot between watches was a much needed blessing.

Taking all this into consideration, I don’t really have all that much more to say about the actual anime itself. I suppose I could poke fun at the simply ridiculous hairstyles that almost rival Shiki in that regard but a picture is going to speak more than words ever could there.

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I’m exaggerating a bit in regards to most the cast, but some guys really take the cake…

Beyond that, I suppose I should mention the OP, “Egao no Kanata” by Chiho feat. Majiko. I really like when things sync up well in OP’s and this has a shinning example where Yuki and Stella sing part of the song back-to-back. It is super good! There was actually quite a lot of great imagery in OP’s this season but that’s a topic for another time.

For better or worse, The Price of Smiles was just a pretty average show. A Pretty average show that I would fully recommend, especially if you are a fan of mecha stories about war. That’ll do me for this one folks, see ya in the next one!


What were your thoughts on The Price of Smiles? Did you think it was going to be an idol anime like I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. While you’re down there, tell me what your favorite mecha anime is too! If you would like to support my writing, please utilize my donation button below. I’d greatly appreciate that! As always, thank you so much for reading and have yourself an excellent day.

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.

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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!

Apex Legends – Mini Review

Another Battle Royale?

Almost out of nowhere, Respawn Entertainment, the creators of Titanfall, released the latest contender in battle royale (well, outside of Tetris 99), Apex Legends. EA has a rocky relationship with fans, and the burnout in this respective genre has been pretty real. You may remember that I did not at all enjoy Fortnight and the last battle royale (BR) title I enjoyed even a little was Realm Royale. So it wasn’t surprising that I had my fair share of skepticism towards Apex.

I first saw a commercial on YouTube for this game when it launched. At first I thought it was a spin-off game from the Borderlands series, but after my friend told me how great the game was, I was very quickly corrected. Having enjoyed Titanfall and its sequel immensely, I figured I should at least give this one a chance.

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Boy am I glad I did! Apex Legends is definitively the only BR game that I’ll play. My only grumble is that I can’t play the game on PC due to my internet situation. However, on the weekends when I have access to my PS4 (it’s in a different location, with better internet) it’s been my go-to game. This has sucked away time from Kingdom Hearts 3 and other titles I’ve been trying to finish, which is no small task.

Here’s what makes the game feel so great to me:

  • Balanced – Nobody feels too strong or too weak. I feel like I could jump in with any legend and do well.
  • Team Based Play – You always have teammates who can make up for skills you lack (at least in theory).
  • Quick – Matches never take longer than 30 minutes from my experience.
  • Kills – Nobody ever feels like they can soak a billion damage and you can actually get them. Looking at you Fortnight…
  • Movement & Map – The map is big but you can get around very easily.
  • Updates – Apex Legends receives pretty regular updates and it hasn’t been out long at all.
  • Ping System – Apex has the single best off-mic communication system in any game I’ve ever played. It is extensive and very useful. You can ping just about anything for any reason, and the game generally knows what you want to convey. It’s awesome!
  • FREE! – I really like that it is a free game because I’m poor.

That said, there are a couple of things I absolutely do not like. Some of these may need to change if EA wants this game to do well long-term:

  • Expensive! – Even though this is a free game, if you want to purchase cosmetics or unlock the legends, you are going to invest either a lot of time or money. I have about 10 hours in the game and still haven’t unlocked another legend. If I went the real money route, it’s faster, but you are paying through the nose for stuff.
  • No Punishment for Poor Sports – What I mean by this is you can’t report players who are rude, leave the game for no reason, etc… Apex doesn’t even have a leaver penalty. This really needs some kind of implementation because, I’ve had matches were another player obnoxiously pinged the map, screamed into the mic nearly the whole match, and have had players leave because they didn’t like you playing a certain legend.
  • Menus – It’s obviously designed for PC first, so some of the menu navigation doesn’t feel good. For example, moving equipment in the inventory is annoying because you can’t drag and drop things. This isn’t something I think they could easily fix, but it makes the game harder to play, for me at least.
  • Settings – I did not like the settings menu. There are a lot of options, but again, the navigation of the menu and getting things setup is not the best. For whatever reason, you can’t mute other players in-match either. You should be able to disable the mic at the very least.

Still, the positives far outweigh the negatives currently. The community is largely very kind and I’ve been having a lot of fun. I even win fairly regularly, and I am not very skilled when it comes to shooters, especially with a controller. The game rewards tactical play, and that’s something I excel at, so I appreciate the fact that it encourages that type of play.

I’m not going to go into any more depth on the game. This is just me saying it is awesome and that you should check it out. Even if you aren’t a big fan of BR games, or shooters in general, you may just find yourself enjoying Apex Legends. Given how the game has a solid roadmap for at least the next year, I think this one is here to stay. I really look forward to getting more games in and seeing how things change throughout the year as well!


Are you playing Apex Legends? Tell me your favorite part of the game in the comments. If you would like to support my writing, please click the donation button below. Of course, thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas – Mini Review

Apparently, You Should Too

Image result for i want to eat your pancreasNot 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.

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Both share themes, ideas, and narrative devices but one is a lot better than the other

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.

Saying Goodbye to Amazon Prime with 3 Anime Mini Reviews – Re:Creators, Irozuku: The World in Colors, & Yuki Yuna is a Hero Season 2

Was Nice Having you Amazon Prime

I got a lot of use out of the couple of years I was able to afford having Amazon Prime. However, I’m practically out of money so this is one of the things I have to let go of this year (along with a lot of other things). Anyway, since I officially lost the service today, I thought we’d look back at a few shows I quickly watched before the service ran out on me. I ended up having time for 3 shows which are:  Re:CreatorsIrozuku: The World in Colors, and Yuki Yuna is a Hero season 2.

These shows were chosen because they were Amazon exclusive, things that I wanted to, or in some cases, already started watching, or had some buzz about them. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time for Banana Fish but it is what it is. I’ll be reviewing the three shows I did manage to get around to just like I would normally for Mini Reviews. Enjoy! Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Amazon Prime with 3 Anime Mini Reviews – Re:Creators, Irozuku: The World in Colors, & Yuki Yuna is a Hero Season 2”

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.

 

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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!

Nailed it! – Mini Review

Baking & Comedy, The Perfect Recipe!

Image result for nailed itAt one of the overnight youth functions I supervised over the Christmas vacation, it was suggested by one of the kids that we watch Nailed it! as a pre-bed activity. The kid in question told us that it was a baking show, but really funny. I’m not a fan of baking shows, but I am a big fan of Nailed it! and the hilarity that ensues when people who absolutely cannot bake get in the kitchen to recreate Pinterest level projects.

Even if you are like me and not big into cooking/baking programs, you should enjoy this program if you like comedy. Not only this, but it is also a great way to actually learn how to bake better yourself, which is never a bad skill for anybody to have. Alright, maybe that’s not enough to sell you. Just take a look at this image:

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Now not everything the contests bake on this program turns out as horrifyingly hilarious as this, but this is about what you should expect. Coupled with the excellent direction and energy brought to the program from the hosts makes this easy to sit down and watch several in a row.

Given that this is a Netflix original series, the show is aware that most people are going to sit down and binge this. Listen, I didn’t think I would, but I did. It really is that easy to do and there are a decent number of episodes that will allow you to keep the party going (either alone or with friends, it’s obviously better with friends). That said, I do suggest being somewhat conservative with these because you should never burn through something like this too quickly.

On a personal level, Nailed it! hurts my soul. So many of the bakers are just awful. Not following directions, making obvious mistakes, etc… A lot of the time they get made fun of, and that can come off as mean spirited. It’s my only real complaint with the show, but most of the time they get constructive feedback and walk away learning something.

This is evident in one of the episodes where they have some of the worst-of-the-worst return, and while they still do poorly, they did improve as a direct result of their past experience! I’d say it is generally a more positive show that pokes fun at people who know they can’t bake, which is good.

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Earlier I mentioned the hosts. Their are two static hosts, Nicole Byer and world-famous Jacques Torres, have excellent chemistry. Each episode a guest judge joins in on the action and they are almost always great in conjunction with the other two. It is really fun to watch them riff on each other and just generally mess around.

If you somehow missed Nailed It! when it first came out, then you should go and give it a watch. It’s rare that you find something that can teach you something, be largely positive, but also offer a great deal of humor! Netflix, you really have a winner here and I hope you do more episodes beyond the current three seasons.


Have you seen Nailed It! before? What was your favorite episode? Tell me all about it in the comments below. If you would like to support my work please head over to my donation page via the button under this. Lastly, thanks for visiting today and hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!