The Skull Man – A Slow Burn Mystery

Who is The Skull Man?

A rumor about a masked killer in Otomo City, a corrupt district of Japan where conspiracy and death are all too familiar, grabs the attention of a Tokyo reporter, Minagami Hayato. He’s soon joined by a young photographer, Kiriko Mamiya. At first, this seems like a fruitless effort but slowly the pieces begin to come into place and a deep conspiracy is revealed, but by then, it just may be too late. Continue reading “The Skull Man – A Slow Burn Mystery”

#Anitwitwatches Season 9 – Another & Announcement

Welcome to the Ninth #Anitwitwatches!

I’ve been planning a spooky Halloween flavored watch now that we are approaching October, so all of the options on the poll were themed around that. I’m not surprised that Another was the show that won out, given a lot of you haven’t seen it and, really, the show is pretty ideal for a group watch like this. For the shows that missed out, they’ll have their day eventually. Join us starting 9/28/20 for the discussion and fun!

Below you’ll find information on what the watch is as well as the schedule for the ninth season of #anitwitwatches. Thank you to everybody who has participated in the past and all of you who will be joining for the first time with this series!

What is #Anitwitwatches?

This is a weekly community event meant to bring folks together to revisit old favorites and discover new shows. It’s meant to be something you can get as involved in as you want, there is no pressure to participate every week or every watch, but we’d love to have you to share in the experience and discuss the shows we are watching all the same!

I was inspired to do this after seeing the “rewatches” that people do over at Reddit in the r/anime sub. Since I interact with a lot of you guys on Twitter, I thought it would be the perfect place to do something similar! That said, even if you do not have a Twitter you can still join in by posting any content via WordPress, YouTube, or whatever suits your fancy. If you do, be sure to send me an email at jonspencerreviews@gmail.com so I can share your wonderful creations!

For everyone else, simply watch the episodes for the week based on the schedule below. Make sure to use the hashtag, #anitwitwatches when you do, and that’s it! Discuss with the other folks participating, create content, and generally just have a fun time!

This next show was chosen based on YOUR votes, so let’s get to the watch schedule.

Another Schedule

No break this time, we are going to dive right into things since we just had a break and the last watch was a film, so there’s no real risk of burnout here. We will be keeping the Monday time slot for this watch after careful consideration and feedback.

If you have not done so, you can see where you can watch Another for free, and legally, by using because.moe. Unfortunately, I cannot realistically check all regions but I aimed to make this as accessible as possible. That said, I won’t stop you from doing what you need to in order to participate. The more the merrier!

Here are the dates (all Mondays) and the episodes for each:

That’ll make this watch 6 weeks long. I hope you’re excited to watch this one and I look forward to all the excellent discussion!

The Perfect Insider – A Locked Room Murder Mystery

A Flawed, but Genuine Mystery

Today I’ll be looking at The Perfect Insider, a rare breed of anime that presents a singular locked room murder mystery to the viewer while telling a broader story beyond that as everything develops. If you guys have been following me for awhile, then you’d know from my Hyouka review that I love a good mystery. This begs the question, just how well does this show deliver on its 11 episode, one mystery premises? Continue reading “The Perfect Insider – A Locked Room Murder Mystery”

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.

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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!

Beautiful Bones – Heard You Like Hyouka…

I Guess this is a Series Now?

Image result for beautiful bonesWelcome to the, now, third article in this series. This started as kind of joke when I reviewed B:  The Beginning and noted some similarities with Psycho-Pass. Later I wrote one about Hero Mask, which I named in a similar fashion, this time meaning it in a negative way. So we’ve arrived to the subject of today’s article, Beautiful Bones and why you may want to give this a watch if you enjoyed Hyouka. Continue reading “Beautiful Bones – Heard You Like Hyouka…”

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!

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!: Take on Me – The Perfect End?

I’ve Been Waiting to Watch This for Ages!

Image result for love chunibyo & other delusions take on meEver since I watched the first season of Chunibyo back in 2015 I found myself becoming a big fan of the franchise. Even when the second season rolled around to less than stellar reception, I enjoyed that season, however. So when it was announced that there would be two films, a recap, and the conclusion to the story so far, I was pretty excited. Today we’ll be looking at Take on Me, the (current) conclusion to the Chunibyo series. Continue reading “Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!: Take on Me – The Perfect End?”

Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues – Mini Review

It Was Interesting

Mr. Tonegawa:  Middle Management Blues, or just, Tonegawa for short, was a show I watched from the Summer 2018 season more out of obligation than because I genuinely wanted to. My relationship with the original series that this is a spin-off of, Kaiji, is a somewhat rocky one. You can view my thoughts on both season 1 and season 2 of that series to get the full picture. Still, this promised me comedy and Tonegawa is a character I liked so there was some hope for this series. Did it manage some laughs and did I like it? Let’s find out!

For those of you who may not be familiar, Tonegawa follows one of the antagonists from the original Kaiji series. He’s the number two man for a (sort of) evil loan-type organization know as the Teiai Corporation. His job is to keep the crazy president of the company happy, but it isn’t easy since he is into seeing the darkest parts of humanity in increasingly sick and twisted ways.

Don’t let that fool you though, this is a comedy for the most part. While Tonegawa certainly straddles the line with some rather dark comedy, especially if you’ve seen Kaiji’s first season, it is overall a fairly tame affair. Really, the show is at its best in these moments but they are far-and-few-between.

When an episode landed, say episode 3 for example, it really landed. However, most episodes were only minorly funny or simply wholly uninteresting. Still, there is a charm here that kept me watching in spite of all that. While it felt like a slog across its 24 episodes at times, there would be streaks of good episodes or that one thing that made watching worth it each week.

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If you haven’t seen the show, what do you think is going on here?

Part of this is enjoying all the nods to Kaiji. Even though I wasn’t a big fan, I do really enjoy referential works that I get. There are a lot! Some of them make scenarios in the original very absurd, to the point where you’d never be able to take them seriously, and others were just respectful nods.

At the halfway point I was having a decent time. Then the show decided to pivot and it really suffered for that. It decided to incorporate some season two stuff and follow a different character who is, for one, less interesting, and two, somebody you shouldn’t like at all if you’ve seen Kaiji’s second season.

Image result for Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management BluesNo longer a comedy, instead it became a foodie’s dream show. It wasn’t like these episodes were terrible but this show was supposed to be about Tonegawa, right? I don’t want to follow Ootsuki. They do bring it all together at one point, but it really wasn’t enough to justify the lengthy diversion.

By the homestretch, it does focus again solely on Tonegawa but these were among the least interesting episodes. It even had the audacity to throw itself a party for the last episode. You know what though? I was fine with it. Part of me was relieved that the show was finally over but the other part of me thought that Tonegawa had earned its ending. The show had fun, wanted you to have fun watching, and at the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask for.

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Some quick thoughts that didn’t make it into the main review here. The various, “Zawa, zawa’s” and iterations thereof, were all done by different actors each episode. I liked that. This is by far one of the biggest things that is unique to Kaiji and having this much dedication and attention put to making this really standout even more in this series was a very good touch.

Furthermore, the opening changed quite often to reflect things that had occurred from episode-to-episode. While you probably won’t catch them at first, by the end of the show it is like night and day with the amount of little things that have changed with time. It’s an underutilized treat when animators go that extra mile to really make a show stick out just that much more. I was impressed.

I could only find the dub trailer, but it captures some of the spirit rather well

While I wouldn’t say this show was all that great, I did enjoy it. Somehow, it was better for me, even if a lot of it just wasn’t all that interesting. Tonegawa is something that die-hard Kaiji fans NEED to watch, and if you’ve never seen Kaiji, it may spark some interest. However, it really is something made for fans and I can respect that.


What are your thoughts on Tonegawa and were you a fan of Kaiji? Let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to support the work I do here please consider hitting my donation button and tossing a few bucks my way. Lastly, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to read this and I hope to see you back here again soon!

It’s a Terrible Day for Rain – Exploring the Storyteller’s Kit

It’s Raining & I’m Sad

We’ve all watched a TV show, film, or anime where somebody dies and then, as if by magic, it begins to rain. It’s a tried and true cliché that can be utilized to brilliant effect, or come off as incredibly corny depending on the context. Join me as I explore three examples of rain scenes in anime. One superb, one interesting, and one just plain bad. The shows I’ll be using for my examples are:  Akame ga KillLove, Election and Chocolate, and finally, Fullmetal Alchemist:  Brotherhood.

A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it -Unkown

Continue reading “It’s a Terrible Day for Rain – Exploring the Storyteller’s Kit”

The Fuccons – Mini Review

WTF is This, HiDive?

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Left to Right:  James, Mikey, and Barbra Fuccon

Today I’m diving headfirst into the weird as I explore VRV’s recent addition of HiDive to its service, and by extension, The Fuccons. It’s about an American family of mannequins that move to Japan. What else do you need to know, really? Alright, I suppose you do need a bit more than that because The Fuccons is one of those novelty type shows that can really catch you off-guard.

As I’ve mentioned, this series centers primarily around the Fuccon family and their new lives in Japan. There’s the father, James, the mother, Barbra, and son, Mikey. Really though, this is a story about Mikey and the, surprisingly large, number of people he meets while living in Japan.

Some of the memorable characters include:  Teacher Bob and Bob-Mama, Blueberry King, Laura, and of course a lot more! They are not all great, mostly looking at you Time Boy, but the recurring characters that get a lot of screen time are fun to watch. You’ll easily find a few characters you want to see more of.

The best way for me to describe this series is to compare it to a fever dream mixed with old Adult Swim shorts. It’s really funny for a show featuring mannequins and not much else. What really sells it is the voice work, either in Japanese or English, and just how unexpected the story actually is.

If you were to give this a watch right now, you probably wouldn’t think much of it due to a fairly shaky start. I looked back after completing what Sentai has licensed (volumes 1-4) and was surprised by just how awful the first few episodes were. However, if you stick with it, and this is your kind of humor, this will be well worth your time.

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As you can see, the drama really ratchets up!

Each episode is only a few minutes, so the investment is not large, even with as many episodes as there are. You can easily knock The Fuccons out in an afternoon or two on a rainy day. The only unfortunate thing is that the show does not have a proper resolution.

There are more episodes, and even a film, of The Fuccons but they seem to have been largely lost to time. I did a cursory search for the film, and was able to find it available in Japanese only, but that’s about it. Does that resolve everything? I really don’t know since I currently have no way of watching it.

Despite this, the series is at least worth a look if you have access to HiDive, VRV, or know somebody with the (relatively cheap) complete set that Sentai sells on their site. It is definitely one weird show, but I guarantee there is no other experience like this one!


Apparently, HiDive makes this the only show available for streaming when they do maintenance too, which is pretty funny. Have you seen The Fuccons? Let me know your thoughts on it, or if you’ll be checking it out, in the comments below. If you’d like to support my investigations into other unusual programs, then click my donation button below and toss a few bucks my way. I’d really appreciate it. Lastly, thank you so much for reading and hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!