Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Review Format + Backlog Update

Coming soon, I’ll be releasing a new review format in addition to the regular reviews. This new format will be a quick thoughts/quick review style for anime where I don’t have much to say. An issue I’ve had and contributing factor to delays in recent reviews is struggling to find enough to write on some reader requests. Rather than drop the series, as I want to cover all requests, some will be in this format starting next week.

Sometimes a series is so similar to another I have already reviewed, where it would repeat many of the same criticisms, or it isn’t a series with much to analyse – some of my early reviews would fit this criteria. This format also allows for a few words on anime I drop – why I dropped it and whether I still recommend it or not. I will have several anime together, a few paragraphs for each. It’ll be flexible, saying as much or as little as I feel. There could be weeks with no need for such a write up, while I may need several in sequence at other times. Flexible.

Furthermore, I want to write more on currently airing anime while still relevant. I’ll use this format to round up some first impressions of what catches my eye, whether positive or negative, and note what I’ll continue. And at the season’s end, I’ll do a full review of the most interesting titles – again, both good and bad. I’ll start with these next season and knockout a few quick reviews off the backlog in the meantime.

Speaking of the backlog, it’s time for an update. The big change is the completion of Naruto: Shippuden, finally, alongside over 30 other reviews. However, reader requests and new releases have added quite a lot to the list (additional review format will help here). No, haven’t started One Piece yet.

The current backlog in rough alphabetical order (series flagged red are long):

New additions since last time:

  1. Attack on Titan season 3 (watched)
  2. Babylon
  3. Beastars
  4. Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo (watched)
  5. Cromartie High School
  6. Dororo (watched)
  7. Dr Stone
  8. Fairy Tail
  9. Grand Blue (watched)
  10. Hanebado
  11. Hyouge Mono
  12. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken
  13. Love Tyrant
  14. Mob Psycho 100 II
  15. Orphen (new one)
  16. Promised Neverland
  17. Pupa
  18. Snow White with the Red Hair
  19. Vinland Saga
  20. Weathering With You
  21. W’z (very important)
  22. Yona of the Dawn
  23. Yuri on Ice

Previous entries:

  1. Baby Steps
  2. Beast Slayer Erin
  3. Big Order TV
  4. Code Geass: Akito the Exiled
  5. Den-noh Coil
  6. Galaxy Express 999
  7. Garzey’s Wing
  8. Ghost in the Shell 2
  9. Ghost in the Shell Arise
  10. Ghost Stories
  11. Gintama
  12. Glasslip
  13. Gundam Thunderbolt
  14. Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
  15. Gundam: The 08th MS Team
  16. Haikyuu Season 3 (only if enjoying it)
  17. Harlock / Cosmo Warrior Zero / Endless Orbit SSX / Harlock Saga / Space Pirate / Battleship Yamato (finish one or more, depending on enjoyment)
  18. Hikaru no Go
  19. JoJo sequels (only if enjoying it)
  20. Katanagatari
  21. K-ON
  22. Last 5 Ghibli movies
  23. Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaidens
  24. Lovely Complex
  25. Macross franchise (finish one or more, depending on enjoyment)
  26. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
  27. Monogatari sequels (only if enjoying it)
  28. Mononoke
  29. Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit
  30. One Piece ?
  31. Penguindrum
  32. Princess Tutu
  33. Qwaser of Stigmata
  34. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
  35. School Days
  36. Slam Dunk
  37. Space Brothers
  38. Striking Daughter
  39. Time of Eve
  40. Turn A Gundam
  41. Yu Yu Hakusho
  42. Various shorts and films

The following are anime I’ve completed (or nearly), but not published the reviews yet:

  • Cells at Work
  • Cross Game / Ace of Diamond / Major (big review in the works)
  • Ef – A Tale of Memories
  • Evangelion Rebuild (pending final film)
  • Golden Time
  • House of Five Leaves
  • My Hero Academia (ongoing)
  • Persona 4 the Animation
  • Pet Girl of Sakurasou
  • Sailor Moon (waiting on final season remaster)
  • Silver Spoon
  • Texhnolyze
  • Utawarerumono
  • Xam’d: Lost Memories
  • Yowamushi Pedal

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!

 

Similar: No Game No Life

Ixion Saga DT

Slayers

Log Horizon

 

Watched in: Japanese

Genre: Adventure Comedy Fantasy

Length: 20 episodes (2 seasons), 1 OVA

 

Positives:

  • Consistently funny characters.
  • Fun, colourful style.
  • Great parody of otherworld anime.

Negatives:

  • Weak story lacks progression.
  • World could do with greater exploration.

(Request an anime for review here.)

Kazuma is useless. Darkness is useless. Megumin is also useless. Aqua is especially useless. Everyone is useless in the world of KonoSuba! And it is great.

After an embarrassing death, high schooler Kazuma has the chance at another life in a fantasy world. A nerd’s dream come true! Unfortunately, he spawns as the worst class in the game and Aqua, the goddess that granted the new life, is a companion without talents to speak of. They soon recruit descendant from a powerful magical bloodline, arch wizard Megumin, master of explosion magic. At last, some strength to the group!

Nope. She can only cast one spell before collapsing. Well, at least they have a resilient tank in the form of paladin Darkness. She will save them! Nope. She’s has zero accuracy in combat and is a masochist that loves taking a beating from monsters – the more people that watch her sweet arse and bountiful breasts get beat the better.

KonoSuba is a refreshing change after trudging through the endless mire of isekai (otherworld) anime. This parody is better and funnier than the vast majority of titles in the genre, not to suggest there is stiff competition.

Everything works and make sense in this take on the genre, Kazuma being utter trash most of all. His team starting out at the bottom doing menial quests such as slaying killer cabbages and painting houses that barely pay enough for living expenses (note how most isekai forget expenses), just like in any MMO, makes sense. Every isekai fan believes that if they woke up in a fantasy world, they would be a powerful knight or wizard at the top of the food chain (just like how advocates for communism think they would be part of the small ruling class and not one of a billion peasants at the bottom). Who knew that being an otaku NEET doesn’t train you for life in a dangerous fantasy world? KonoSuba shows the reality of how garbage everyone would be and leans into it for great comedic effect.

The characters in particular bring this series together. They are such fun, such a riot to hang out with that they overshadow problems. I did think there was a risk of repetition at the start. For example, Darkness’s love of masochism could have quickly become her running into the fray to get smashed, we laugh at the joke and repeat next episode. However, the joke stays fresh because it isn’t about having her armour stripped off each battle. Instead, it’s about the ridiculous lengths she will go to for arousal and how much more desperate she is each time. Just when I thought it wouldn’t be funny anymore, she surprised me next episode.

The big problem with KonoSuba is the story, or lack thereof. The main goal is to defeat the Demon King, something I forgot about a few episodes in since they ignore this in favour of episodic stories. Now, these small stories work well in facilitating the characters and comedy, but they don’t progress the plot. Watching these episodes in the moment wasn’t a problem until it cares about the Demon King again, where it reminds you of how little the plot has moved. The overarching story feels like an afterthought. “Oh damn, I wrote all these great jokes but forgot the story. Quick, make something up – kill bad guy…big monster…demon…yes, demon king! All done. Phew.”

As such, if you are going to watch KonoSuba, you have to do so for the characters and humour. The world itself lacks depth, having used the generic fantasy template, and the story is just as straightforward as can be. If after you meet the whole team you don’t find it funny, then don’t proceed further.

Art – Medium

I like the colours and character designs. It’s a shame little effort went into making the environments anything but generic. If you removed characters from the shot, you wouldn’t know which anime the environment was from. The animation is strong, particularly in the spell effects that took the largest portion of the budget.

Sound – High

The acting is strong, though it may take a little getting used to Kazuma’s voice, as he sounds too old for a teen, but hey, at least it’s something different from the usual forgettable isekai protagonists. (Note: There is a dub on the way, for those interested.)

Story – Medium

A teen revives in a fantasy world, but has no talents and is surrounded by others with no talent either. Characters and humour hold up this rather barebones story.

Overall Quality – High

Recommendation: A must for comedy fans. KonoSuba is greater than the sum of its parts thanks to its characters and hilarious comedy. This is an easy anime to watch and recommend.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None

Negative: None

The State of the Review Schedule

As many of you have noticed, recent weeks have missed the consistent ‘two reviews a week’ schedule. This is due to my increased workload in real life. It isn’t the first time extra work reared its menacing gaze, but in the past, I had a stock of reviews to tap into (the manga reviews were the last time). Sadly, my stock has run dry.

I don’t want to reduce the schedule to one review per week, nor do I want lower my standards to rush through series and churn out reviews for the sake of it. My problem is time. I simply don’t have the free time to watch enough anime – watch it properly. Writing the reviews is no strain at all, but it’s difficult to speed up a series without compromise.

So, what’s changing?

For the next couple of months, the schedule will be as follows:

  • Anime review on Sundays, as normal.
  • Mid-week will still have reviews where possible (anime or manga), but also anime related articles when I don’t have the time for a review.
  • No long anime until I have time again – focus is on movies and 13-episode series, maybe a 26-episode one, if lucky.

I’ve wanted to do some non-review content for a while now, so this is a good opportunity. Many readers have asked for my favourite anime, which I haven’t thought about in years. Before I list my current favourites though, I want to recall my favourites as they were before I started this site. It will be interesting to see how the list has changed since.

Thank you for bearing with me and I hope to have you around for many reviews in future.

200th Review and 2.0 Patch Notes

Hello dear readers,

My 200th anime review is three reviews away! When I started this site a little over two years ago, 200 reviews seemed a decade away and I never imagined thousands of you would be interested in reading them. I am truly grateful to each one of you for your interest, feedback, and review requests (I love doing those, no matter the anime quality).

Before 200, expect Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (sequel to the first Gundam) and Aoi Bungaku, a compilation of Japanese literary classics. As for the 200th review, it will be for a special anime revealed on the day.

My goal with this site was to have reviews that were relevant to a viewer today. It always bothers me how difficult it is to find reviews for media that factor in sequels, changing standards, better iterations, poor aging, and so on. We mostly hear of what a piece was like at release. Yes, that anime may have been amazing in 2001, but is it still a must watch today? To that end, I must update older reviews to keep in line with this objective. The reviews and criticisms stand, though their weighting adjusts. (Feel free to challenge and present your argument on any of my reviews, by the way.)

Several anime have had their ratings adjusted and awards added or removed. Furthermore, I outright deleted many negative award categories. The awards are designed to make it easy for a fan to find more anime with a certain strength. Love great villains? The ‘Phenomenal Villain’ award is for you. The negative awards, on the other hand, are to signal possible deal breakers. Can’t stand it when the protagonists are terrible? Then avoid anything with the ‘Rubbish Major Characters’ award. A good deal of the negative awards are more comedic than helpful (‘Ridiculous Names’, for example) and certainly wouldn’t be deal breakers to viewers. As such, these have been deleted, while several other awards have merged to reduce clutter. The list of changes is extensive, so I compiled them into patch notes below with reasoning for the change.

I hope to have you all for the next 200 reviews and beyond.

Kind regards and thank you!

 

2.0 Patch Notes:

Score Changes:

Perfect Blue – changed overall quality from High to Very High. Being one of my first anime movies, I thought I had nostalgia blindness and overcompensated by giving it a lower rating. But no, it truly is top tier.

Legend of Black Heaven – changed overall from High to Medium. I love this anime, but it’s not worth a High rating.

Ninja Scroll the Series – changed overall from Low to Very Low. What was I on giving this a Low? Ninja Scroll TV is one of the worst anime ever made.

Clannad After Story – changed overall from Medium to Low. I wanted this to be better than Clannad to the point where I went easy on it. Yes, it’s better than Clannad, but with a chunk of useless episodes and an ending that erases the prior story, I can’t go above Low.

Karin – changed overall from Medium to Low. I was being too nice that day. With so many more anime completed, the standards for Medium have changed.

Gunbuster – changed overall from Low to Very Low. I think I was trying to be nice, yet I have gone back to this anime several times since the review and it just gets worse each session. The core characters and plot are atrocious.

Rose of Versailles – changed overall from high to Very High. My thinking with the High rating was to factor in the impediments of its technical qualities, art in particular. However, I don’t know why I was worried since anyone interested in this anime would see the style as part of the charm. The story carries the Medium (unchanged) art regardless.

 

Nudity Warning: Removed from all reviews.

The idea with the nudity warning was to prepare for embarrassing situations in a ‘not safe for work’ type warning. What is the point though? None of you are children incapable of handling nudity, so this is a pointless warning. The nudity tag remains, as many viewers want to know how ‘adult’ an anime gets with its material when they ask me for recommendations on what to watch (i.e. does this romance have actual sex or does nothing happen sexually?).

 

Awards:

(Some anime inherit the remaining award after a merger.)

  • Excellent Visual Effects – deleted. Unnecessary – ‘Stunning Art’ is enough.
  • It’s in the Details – deleted. This isn’t reason enough to watch an anime.
  • Unique Visual Style – deleted. Most of these have the ‘Stunning Art’ award already.
  • Dissonant Sound Effects – deleted. Not a serious issue to warrant an award.
  • Goes on Forever – deleted. ‘Poor Pacing’ already covers the relevant parts of this.
  • Especially Bad Opening and/or Closing Sequence – deleted. Not reason enough to avoid an anime.
  • Needs More Frames – deleted. Similar to ‘Dissonant Sound Effects’, this isn’t serious enough for its own category. Bad art in general covered elsewhere.
  • Poor Physics – deleted. More humorous than helpful.
  • Ridiculous Names – deleted. Same as ‘Poor Physics’. Let’s be honest, this would be nothing but Gundam anime after a while.
  • Worse Than You Think – deleted. If an anime is worse in the end, it would be because of other factors, which are awarded elsewhere.
  • Disturbing – merged with ‘Induces Stupidity’. Redundant.
  • Harem – merged with ‘Useless Side Cast’. A bad harem character is the same as any bad character, so there’s no need to distinguish them.
  • Flat Character Detail – merged with ‘Ugly Artistic Design’. If the art isn’t bad overall, it won’t be a deal breaker.

Award allocations:

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Fixed many dead links for the trailer videos.
  • Added Code Geass Not sure why one wasn’t there…
  • Fixed several links in the sorting tables.
  • Added review request links to older reviews.
  • Rewrote the introduction page – cut down.
  • Minor edit to Azumanga Daioh with mention of Yotsuba (manga by same creator).