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…”

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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!

Black Bullet – Mini Review

Expected This to be Worse

Image result for black bulletIf I had to describe what Black Bullet was in a sentence, it would be this:  The video game, Earth Defense Force, meets lolis and racism. I say this because part of the show is about battling these evil bugs, known as, Gastrea, while the rest of it tackles the prejudice of this society. The Gastrea are fought off by a civilian security groups through the use of, “Cursed Children” who are infected with the virus that lead to the rise of the Gastrea. You guessed it, all these kids are little girls who need to pair up with (typically) an older male partner.

While that may sound cynical, Black Bullet actively makes fun of anybody who would be watching this as lolicon material. There were a few times where I thought the show was pandering a bit, but if you are worried about this one being creepy or anything, let me assure you that it isn’t.

What you are going to get here is a mix of action and politics, but neither are going to receive the proper amount of attention they deserve. Unfortunately, with only 13 episodes, it ends up feeling kind of rushed. That being said, the story you get is satisfying and wraps up the major plot threads while leaving room for more. Since this aired in 2014 it isn’t likely there will be more, but at least the product as is feels mostly complete.

The best part of this show is the relationships that, Rentarou, the main character, has with each of the cast members. While battling the first arc’s villain, who I fondly named, “Mr. Smiley” you can very easily see this. Later, when more characters are introduced the interactions become more nuanced.

While I’m on the subjects of positives, I really liked the OP and ED for Black Bullet. At times the OP reminded me of a Studio GoHands production but without going too crazy. The music was just very good, I’ll leave the OP below for ya.

One of the biggest negatives I found with the show was when Mr Smiley wasn’t around. It wasn’t like those episodes were all bad, a lot of them were still pretty good, but nothing really reached the same level of fun or intrigue as him. Thankfully, though the show would have you believe otherwise, he does come back for the series’ finally.

Another minor annoyance for me was that all the little girls are ten years old. Why? The Cursed Children were apparently all born the same year in this universe, which just makes no sense. This was an element that I felt needed some explaining. Likely this is because they don’t see combat until around that age, and the life expectancy for these girls is abysmal, but it isn’t actually made explicit the reason for this.

Some folks may be bothered by how badly the little girls are treated by many of the characters in the show. There really are a lot of positive ones outside of Rentarou’s relationship with the various girls. While nothing that extreme is ever actually shown on screen, they do refer to, and show the aftermath of some messed up events.

Black Bullet is far from groundbreaking or anything like that, but it is a good time if you are in the mood for it. There are enough interesting ideas to keep you engaged if you want to have a think about stuff, and is just silly enough to watch for some mindless fun otherwise. If you like loli stuff, then this is obviously a must.

I decided to give this a watch because VRV recently added HiDive after Funimation left them. If you’d like to watch the show subbed, you can do that on Crunchyroll still but otherwise you’ll need one of the other services listed above. Personally, I found the dub to be pretty good here.


What are your thoughts on Black Bullet? Was this show a pandering mess, or did it manage to surprise you a bit like it did for me? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you feel in the giving spirit and would like to help me out, you can do so by hitting my donation button below. As always, thank you very much for reading!

Freaky Friday 1 of 4 – 10 Anime to get You into the Halloween Spirit

Boo!

I hope everybody is doing well this fine October. The past couple of years I’ve done Halloween events, most notably last year with my October Review Fest where I did a whole month of themed content. Unfortunately this year I totally spaced the fact that October comes after September (I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff, bare with me guys) so I was not at all prepared to do an awesome event at that scale again this year. Don’t distress though, that’s where Freaky Fridays come in! Every Friday this month I’ll have a themed article for the Halloween season. Today, 10 anime to get you into the Halloween spirit! Continue reading “Freaky Friday 1 of 4 – 10 Anime to get You into the Halloween Spirit”

Btooom! & Problematic Protagonists

I’m Supposed to Root for This Guy, Right?

Have you ever been watching a show and everything is enjoyable enough and then you dive into the main character’s backstory and beliefs only to discover that they are a deplorable human and just abjectly horrible? To make things worse, the show wants this character to WIN and you are supposed to want them to. This is exactly how I felt watching Btooom! and its protagonist Sakamoto. Continue reading “Btooom! & Problematic Protagonists”

Le Portrait de Petite Cossette – Beauty Effects us in Mysterious Ways

Definitely a Shinbou Work

Here we are at the conclusion of Obsucre Week and our October Review Fest. Today I’ll be looking at an interesting title:  Le Portait de Petite Cossette. This anime is a three episode OVA series that came out of studio Daume back in 2004. Haven’t heard of them? Think again, this is the studio behind some fan favorites like Yuru Yuri, and another great Halloween title, Shiki. Is this title a hidden gem, or something that was best left buried in the past? Let’s find out. Continue reading “Le Portrait de Petite Cossette – Beauty Effects us in Mysterious Ways”