Anime Briefing – Spring 2018

It’s probably time to accept that I’ll always be behind in watching anime. MALpocalypse 2018 sure didn’t help. Still, here are my short reviews for last season.

  • Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari – It’s terrible. I haven’t dropped a series in ages, so I’ll just put watching it on indefinite hiatus just like HxH.
  • Caligula – Much better than I was expecting. The opening is great. I also want to play the upcoming remake of the game now.
  • Dances with the Dragons (Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryu to Odoru) – Mediocre, which is disappointing because the plot has interesting threads. There’s also a terrible light filter that ruins all fights.
  • Darling in the Franxx – I am super behind, and Ichigo is too good for Hiro anyways. I also still can’t tell if this show is (or will be) brilliant or really dumb.
  • Golden Kamuy – Probably AOTS. It has a great mix of badass fights, great characters, and delicious cooking.
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi – Who approved this? Isn’t Houshin Engi a beloved manga? Why would you intentionally butcher a classic?
  • Hinamatsuri – This is why I can’t decide AOTS. It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious and the characters are wonderful. The cast works so well together.
  • IDOLiSH7 – I didn’t think I’d see a male idol anime with decent writing, but here we are!
  • Magical Girl Ore (Magical Girl Boy) – Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes the jokes are really dragged out or overused. But episode 5 is a strangely great critique of the anime industry.
  • Magical Girl Site – Actually enjoying this edgy trash, what is wrong with me? Maybe it’s Nobuhiko Okamato’s fantastic voice work as the worst bro of all time.
  • Rokuhoudou Yotsurio Biyori – The food looks amazing. The stories are nice too.
  • Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku – Great comedy, cute couples. Would probably be perfect to watch together with a fellow otaku/loved one.

Not listed are a few anime I have yet to binge watch and a few that haven’t ended yet please save me from Black Clover. While there were a few duds, Spring 2018 turned out to be a pretty good season for anime. Up next, I’ll eventually post my leaner watchlist for Summer 2018.

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Spring Anime 2018 1st Impressions

I have still haven’t finished last season’s anime, but spring is upon us. Or it should be. It’s snowing outside, so I’ve been watching anime and checking out this season’s offerings. Based on descriptions and previews (which are linked), here’s my potential watch-list.

Manga Shelf: “Goldfisch” by Nana Yaa

goldfisch_coverOriginally published in Germany, Nana Yaa’s “Goldfisch” weaves familiar myths and legends into a unique tale. Set in a flooded world where water causes mutations, adventurers brave dangerous encounters with mutated animals know as anomals in order to search for artifacts – rare, powerful objects from stories of old. The son of an adventurer, Morrey Gibbs is a fisher-boy on a quest of a different sort. Cursed with Midas’ golden touch, he attempts to find a way to get his life back to normal.

In volume one, “Goldfisch” introduces an eccentric cast of characters, an intriguing setting, and a story-line that has the potential to go in many different directions. Particularly interesting is Morrey’s late father. He’s briefly introduced as a kindhearted man who regrets leaving his family for long periods to search for treasures. However, his possession of an artifact map and his family’s rare immunity to mutating water points to him being more than he seemed. Shelly, a bright but struggling inventor who befriends Morrey, is another engaging character. While she often acts as the straight (wo)man to Morrey’s hair-brained antics, her intelligence and gadgets keep them out of serious trouble.

Morrey is a fun character to watch. While he often eagerly rushes head first into dangerous situations, it’s clear that he does not mean any harm. Not yet used to his gold powers, he often accidentally turns things to gold, drawing unwanted attention. To his credit, he has learned to effectively use his powers in battle, stopping anomals in their tracks and even goldening unusual object to use as weapons. While his quest is motivated by personal tragedy, Morrey stays cheerful, constantly believing that he can solve his situation.

Immediately noticeable, Yaa’s art is bright, colorful, and lively. The cover is eye-catching, and the addition of a few color inserts shows off her wonderful coloring skills. While some of the character reaction faces are extreme, the manga-style art is well-done and cleanly depicts the actions in each panel. With its excellent art and energetic story-line, “Goldfisch” is off to a great start.

Great Read: “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince cover art

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

A master of YA fantasy, Holly Black brings us back to faerie land with a wonderful new series. Jude is a mortal, raised as gentry in a court fraught with intrigue and danger. Literally powerless while surrounded by magic, she seeks acceptance with a role that will grant her status and protection. While she has allies, her adoptive faerie father Madoc, her twin Taryn, and her older fae sister Vivienne, she has enemies too, mainly the haughty and frightening Prince Cardan and his goons. With the crowning of a new faerie king just weeks away, Jude finds a way to seemingly guarantee her a place in the new court. But nothing is as easy as it seems, because in a land of inhuman, magical creatures, nothing is as it seems.

I found this book impossible to put down. Jude is an imperfect heroine, intelligent and cunning, yet sometimes rash. Her life is full of fearful situations but she keeps plowing through, costly mistakes notwithstanding. Prince Cardan is quite wicked, but as the story progresses, he becomes more sympathetic, though not all his actions are excusable. While the immersive plot is interesting on its own, the characters and their interactions make it shine even brighter. I’m eagerly waiting for the sequel.

 

Anime Favorites – Spring/Summer 2017

The Summer 2017 anime season is about halfway through, and I realized I never published this post that started off as “favorite spring 2017 anime”. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on my favorite anime from this and last season.

  • Favorite non-sequel series: Alice and Zoroku, The Royal Tutor, Tsuredure Children
  • Favorite sequel series: Attack on Titan S2
  • Favorite short series: Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys
  • Favorite animation: Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu
  • Favorite OP: Alice and Zoroku, Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu
  • Favorite ED: Attack on Titan S2Chronos Ruler
  • Favorite live-action ED: The Royal Tutor
  • Favorite soundtrack: Chronos Ruler

  • Favorite ‘oh gods, this is too relatable’ comedy: Tsuredure Children
  • Favorite food & chill SoL anime: Restaurant to Another World
  • Favorite HS/harem series where the MC/story actually make the series worth watching: Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor
  • Favorite Chinese anime of all time: The King’s Avatar
  • Favorite ‘it’s so bad it’s good’: Vatican Miracle Examiner
  • Favorite sword boy action series: Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu
  • Favorite ufotable series so far: Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu

This Girl has Serious Baggage

Saccharine – A Misleading Sim Date Review

saccharine (2)

Saccharine by Amiralo

It’s been a while since I’ve played this type of “date simulation” game. I prefer stats and hit points being disregarded for an immersive, branching story-line. However, Saccharine‘s premise immediately drew me in – you play as Branwen, a mysterious traveler hiding a notorious serial killer in her suitcase. You start the game by forcibly bribing an inn keeper to hide both of you in her room, and you learn that the kingdom’s prince is holding a ball to pick a bride. Wanting to protect your friend at any cost, you decide to pursue the prince, hoping that a marriage to him would end any persecution.

There are three guys you can court, although their routes must be played in a specific order unlocked by cheat codes. Prince Ivan is dashing and kind, but is obsessed with purity while his words hint at darkness lingering beneath the surface. Captain Dominicus, the top knight in the kingdom, is standoffish and often drunk, but he drinks to forget his past. Isador, your murderous baggage, doesn’t seem to be the killing type at all. As you talk to these characters, you’ll learn more about their personalities, their history, and the origins of the pastel-colored kingdom.

Saccharine isn’t saccharine at all. The three men and you have troubled pasts, and the plot twists can be downright disturbing. While the art may leave something to be desired, the story and characters more than make up for it. It is a memorable experience, and can be easily played multiple times.

Just don’t expect a happy ending.

Saccharine can be found here.

Music Mondays #6

Track: “Hello” from the musical Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon is one of my favorite musicals. Although it is somewhat offensive and ridicules its characters and their situations, it is intelligent and not anti-religion. That’s not surprising, as it comes from South Park‘s Trey Parket and Matt Stone, who wittily mock everyone equally. Their musical is one that I hope to see live on Broadway someday.

Music Mondays #5

Track: “Pray” by FT Island

I’ve had FT Island’s I Will CD for months, but I only opened it over the weekend. While I knew of their earlier Korean pop songs, “Pray” was the song that turned me into a fan. This rock ballad was completely unexpected and just blew me away the first time I heard it. Seriously, I was gasping in shock as soon as I heard the guitars. I can only pray that they continue with this style.

Music Mondays #4

Track: “Out of Control” by Nothing’s Carved in Stone

It’s not everyday that you see an anime opening sung in English. Anime openings are also rarely this artsy and colorful. With neat guitar rifts, catchy lyrics (“cause I feeeeeeeel…”), and unique art style, the 2nd opening for Psycho-Pass is a standout.