The Most “Isekai” Isekai Anime Ever Made – ‘Wise Man’s Grandchild’ Episode 1 and 2 Review

The Most “Isekai” Isekai Anime Ever Made – An Anime QandA Review for ‘Wise Man’s Grandchild’ Episode 1 and 2


What’s the show? Wise Man’s Grandchild, Episode 1 and 2.

And what’s it about? It’s just about the most “isekai” isekai anime ever made. Take the ‘overworked salaryman living in Tokyo’ trope, add the ‘tragic death that leads to a reincarnation in another world’ trope, throw in a splash of ‘reincarnated protagonist has abilites far-exceeding the ~normal~ people of their new world’ and let’s not forget ‘new world is a typical fantasy world with monsters and magic’. And that’s just the basic premise–that doesn’t even begin to account for character tropes like ‘older protagonist is suddenly a young boy’, ‘protagonist has wizened mentor who was once an epic hero’, ‘protagonist meets attractive young girls by the end of the first episode’ and ‘protagonist is self aware, comments knowingly on his surroundings, etc’.

You say it like it’s a bad thing!

Sounds kind of derivative if I’m honest… you’d think so, but no this show’s actually pretty damn great!

Huh?! Yep, it’s got that trope too! But seriously, if we’re to talk about ‘isekai’ as a genre for a moment I’ve got to at least admit my stance on the genre–that being, I don’t understand why so many people have a problem with it. But then again I’m like that with most genres that are poarising within the anime community: ‘Moe’? Love it! ‘Harem’? Gimme. ‘Ecchi’? Can’t get enough. And likewise ‘Isekai’ falls favourably amongst those genres in my list of anime preferences. And while I was quick to call this “the most ‘Isekai’ Isekai anime ever made” I absolutely mean that as a compliment.

Two best girls for the price of one!

And how exactly? You have to justify that against examples, not just opinions? Okay fine. Our protagonist, Shin is a bit like Kazuma from ‘Konosuba’ except his sarcastic droll is used sparingly rather than being the defining character trait. Likewise he’s a champion of the downtrodden (as long as they are a cute girl) harking back to the likes of Subaru from ‘Re:Zero’. The fantasy world its set in evokes such recent fare as ‘Endro!’ and the magical school which serves as the base is reminiscent of ‘Little Witch Academia’ (and by extension Hogwarts from the ‘Harry Potter’ series. And of course there’s myriad comparisons both thematically and narratively to ‘That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime’ not the least the idea of an overpowered protagonist who can ~almost~ do anything.

Time for school!

Okay, but how does “evoking” other series’ make it good? Isn’t it just lazy? It’s kind of hard to explain–it’s like it takes the best elements from each series it’s inspired by and distills them down to its core components then presents them in a way which is interesting and borderline parody to the audience.

Oh… so it’s a comedy? I don’t know if I’d go that far. I mean it’s funny, but for me a “parody” doesn’t necessarily mean to lampoon or ‘make fun of’ the subject in question–it’s equally paying reverence and respect to the subject matter in question. It’s still an isekai and is beholden to the rules of said genre.

Thank goodness for subtitles!

Right, and what’s something about the series that you think is unique? Well I can’t say to have seen all the isekai out there, so maybe this isn’t unique but a continuing thread throughout the two episodes is how Shin’s immense power is both a blessing and a curse. In that he is capable of miraculous magical feats the likes no-one in this world has ever seen, but at the same rate–should his powers be made known to the general public he would be seen as a threat to world peace. Wars would be waged in order to gain his allegiance, his advanced magical abilities would upset the balance of power the world over. Basically he’s a human atomic bomb and whoever has him is the new world power and no-one wants that…

Overpowered is an understatement!

Anything else to add? I could go on and on, there’s just so much to these first two episodes that it seems like a disservice to being anything but thorough but part of the fun in this show is just experiencing it.

Sounds like you’re about to wrap up then, final recommendation for ‘Wise Man’s Grandchild’ Episode 1 and 2? I almost didn’t watch this show–it wasn’t in my ‘Spring Watch List’ and the only thing that brought it to my attention was its stellar OP that made its way to Number 2 on my list of Best Spring 2019 Anime OP’s. But not only am I glad I watched this show, I think it stands (so far) as a testament to what can be done within the confines of the “familiar”. Yes, this is an ‘isekai’ and by most measures a fairly standard one–it doesn’t strive for ‘weird’ or ‘edgy’ or ‘ultra-violent’ or ‘overtly-ecchi’ it’s just an isekai done very well and by that same measure an isekai done ‘very isekai’–which should ~never~ be a negative thing to say!

Actual best girl. She has like 1 minute screen time but I want more of her please!

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Time For Change – ‘YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World’ Episode 2 Review

Time For Change – An Anime QandA Review for ‘YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World’ Episode 2


What’s the show? YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World, Episode 2.

And how’s this episode? As you may recall from my last episode review I was intrigued by the premise and execution of the show. I was, however, less than impressed with the perverted antics of our protagonist who himself felt like a relic from an earlier age of anime where these kinds of antics were excused as “boys will be boys” rather than being called out in such behaviour as he would in a modern anime.

Steins;Gate reference!

Uh-huh, I recall… so what about it? Well the opening minutes of this episode has our protagonist discovering the function of the device his father left for him. It can manipulate timelines, allowing him to make an action then go back and make a different action resulting in a divergent timeline. And immediately I was worried about what kind of shenanigans he would get involved in considering he had a blank check for (further) sexually related consequence free mischief.

Blue haired girl whose name I’ve forgotten is best girl (so far).

Oh no. Indeed, but turns out those fears were (for now) unjustified as he only uses it to attempt the rescue of his step-mother from the hands of thugs who are trying to get their hands on her father’s research papers. He first tries a diplomatic approach–fails. Changes timelines and tries a violent approach–fails. Changes timelines again with a borderline suicidal approach–and fails at which point one of his step mother’s colleagues shows up to “save the day” and the episode kind of ends on a weird tonally ambiguous cliffhanger.

He’s pretty heroic (with the ability to turn back time up his sleeve).

Right. And is that all that happens in the episode? No, there’s some stuff early on that’s ~probably~ important but is more just half filler/half laying groundwork for future stuff. Compared to the first episode this one was kind of dull but likewise a bit more subdued and less ‘throwing everything at the screen to try and grab people’s attention’ which helps establish a more consistent tone and narrative pace–though at the pace we’re currently going I’m glad this is a 26 episode series as it’s going to need the time to get to what it wants to do (whatever that may be).

As many times as it takes!

I see. Anything else you want to add? A lot of time in science-fiction, especially when discussing things as complicated as alternate universes’ and branching actions causing new realities–things can get bogged down in a lot of techno-babble. That’s why I appreciated this show’s straightforward visual approach to explaining and then demonstrating the specifics of this show’s alternate reality theories. It’s nothing particularly unique but it was easy to grasp the basics of after a single viewing.

What a terrible world…

And how’s your recommendation stand from last week? If you were put off by how ‘ecchi-adjacent’ some of the scenes were and the actions of the protagonist this episode tones things down considerably–that’s not to say it won’t return to last week’s ~shenanigans~ but for the time being the focus seems to be on the story and the characters.


Previous YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World’ Reviews:

Blast From The Past – Episode 1 Review

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Searching For Meaning – ‘AFTERLOST’ Episode 1 Review

Searching For Meaning – An Anime QandA Review for ‘AFTERLOST’ Episode 1


What’s the show? AFTERLOST, Episode 1.

Oh, this is the show you said you felt ‘obliged‘ to watch because of how many times you happened to see the trailer for it while staying in Akihabara in February, yeah? Yep, that’s the one!

This bike is practically a third main character it’s in nearly the whole episode!

And what’s it about? The first episode kinda throws us in the deep end with no establishing narration to give us an idea on what happened and let’s us just take in this world through bits of dialogue and newspaper clippings on a wall. Basically a catastrophic event occurred in downtown Shibuya (they never say it’s Shibuya, but it totally is) where basically a void of nothingness in a circular radius ‘appeared’ and hundreds of thousands of people just disappeared. It’s some years after this event and the void is still there, the event and the area is referred to as ‘Lost’ and no one can approach it. Also there was a single survivor of the disaster, Yuki. She was being held in a heavily guarded lab and experimented on until a “courier” by the name of Takuya breaks her out on behalf of ‘the agency’. They intend to travel to ‘Lost’ because of an encrypted message that came from the void suggesting that Yuki’s father may be alive despite disappearing in the disaster.

Visually reminiscent of ‘Caligula’ anime, not a great thing to be remembering if I’m honest…

Okay, so what genre is it? Wikipedia says it’s a ‘thriller’, MAL unhelpfully says it’s a ‘action, adventure, mystery, drama, fantasy’ and I mean I guess they’re all correct. This episode kind of has a little bit of everything and as a result it kind of works and kind of doesn’t. The thing that works best about it is it’s ‘mystery’ aspect as it is very mysterious. A lot of explanation is intentionally left out and as long as you’re willing to go along for the ride it can be quite enjoyable. It’s also a bit silly too… with the kind of Michael Bay implausible action scenes that are more laughable than they are exciting–but at the very least they’re well animated.

Trust me when I say, it gets sillier than outrunning an explosion on a scooter.

Seems like the show’s in an early stage of finding its feet, how would you go about recommending this to someone? There’s some obvious comparisons to be made between it and shows like ‘Ergo Proxy’ and ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ and ‘Steins;Gate’ but that’s more to say those shows probably inspired individual elements of the story rather than the overall experience. It’s an interesting starting point but that’s just it, with so much going on and introducing so many side characters all at once (the only side character who stuck in my mind was the aptly named ‘Geek’ who shared more than a few similarities with Daru from Steins;Gate) it’s hard to get a concrete idea of what this show wants to be and even if it’s going to be good. At the very least it’s going to be well made (thanks to studio Madhouse) and well voice-acted (main girl Yuki is voiced by Kana Hanazawa). I’d say I’ll have more of a definitive opinion of the show in 2 or 3 more episodes but I’m still interested to see where it will go.

Yuki is very cute.

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On The Wings Of A Waifu – ‘Girly Air Force’ Full Season Review

On The Wings Of A Waifu – A Full Season Review for ‘Girly Air Force’


What’s the show? Girly Air Force.

And what’s it about? Alien fighter jets known as the Xi have invaded Earth—they’ve captured mainland China and forced mass evacuations of the country. Among them is Nautani Kei and his childhood friend Minghua who’ve entered Japan as refugees. Kei is intent on getting back at the Xi who killed his parents in an attack on the now occupied homeland that’s when he meets a mysterious girl named Gripen—a fighter jet pilot known as an ‘Anima’ whose sole purpose in life is to save humanity from the Xi.

A fateful first meeting.

Well with the name ‘Girly Air Force’ I didn’t expect such a serious sounding story. And that’s a massive hurdle anyone watching this series for the first time needs to get over, the name conjures a different kind of anime then this really is. If you’re expecting a light-hearted comedy about fighter jet pilots and harem shenanigans you are getting almost none of that. That’s not to say it doesn’t have moments of levity and fun—but the core focus of this show is it’s plot and the growing relationship between Kei and Gripen.

Gripen loves her food!

Fair enough. So how are the characters? Kei—while determined and motivated can come off a bit insensitive sometimes, especially towards his childhood friend Minghua who has a massive crush on him but remains unreciprocated. She basically plays the ‘wife of a soldier, waiting for her husband at home’ role but with none of the benefits that come from actually being married. Gripen on the other hand is amazing, I love her personality and her character quirks and her voice is so irresistibly adorable. There’s two other fighter pilot girls, who get introduced later on but they are mostly sidelined and are only used for either comic relief or to have a friendly antagonist. It never  -even remotely ventures into harem territory despite the fact it very easily could have.

Minghua in full wife mode.

So what’s your opinion on the show? While it was never in anyway remarkable it was consistent and entertaining—the fact it’s a more or less a season long narrative helps tie it all together. It’s also has consistently high quality animation with technically impressive and high-paced fighter jet action scenes in almost every episode.

Just a mere snippet of the crazy aerial manoeuvres this show provides.

And anything you didn’t like about the series? Well spoilers incoming but there’s not really any “satisfying” conclusion to the series. Yes, the very specific narrative arc that they were addressing is given a resolution but we’re still no closer to finding out the true intention of the Xi or whether they can be defeated at all. Late in the season we’re given a tease of something truly interesting as Kei begins getting fragments of Gripen’s mind in his own which are not only artfully presented but kind of unsettling. Added to that the mystery behind Rhino and the US pilots and it’s the kind of thing that would almost make me want to read the light novels this series is based on.

I wanted a picture of most of the cast together and this was the best I could come up with.

Okay then. Final recommendation and score for ‘Girly Air Force’? The most obvious comparison is to that of ‘Strike Witches’ but where that series too often veered off into silly and unfocused, ‘Girly Air Force’ feels a lot more disciplined and that works for this kind of story. Were it not for the girls, and Gripen in particular this show wouldn’t have as much personality as it does and so in some respects the amount you enjoy this series will be roughly proportional to how much you like the characters. I thought it was a lot of fun and told an interesting (if unfinished) story. Flying high: 82 out of 100.

Gripen is adorable.

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Torture Is Magic – ‘Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka’ Full Season Review

Torture Is Magic – A Full Season Review for ‘Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka’


What’s the show? Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka.

And what’s it about? After demonic plush toys with a taste for murder and chaos invade Earth, the Governments of the world form an alliance with the magical world to create ‘magical girls’ to defeat the evil enemy. The story takes place three years after the great war and concerns Asuka, one of the ‘Magical Five’ who helped end the big bad and bring “peace” to the world as she tries to regain a semblance of a normal life all the while haunted by memories of the past and facing an uncertain future as magical terrorism begins to surface.

I always enjoyed Kurumi’s solo fight scenes. She holds her own despite being a ‘support’ class.

Okay, that sounds interesting. What’s your take on it? This show is unbelievably complicated–and I don’t mean that in a narrative sense–it’s not confusing, or hard to follow or inherently problematic. No, what ‘Magical Girl Spec Ops’ is, at its fundamental level is “real”.

You might have to explain this to me, last time I checked magical girls weren’t the least bit real. That may be true, but a lot of the truly intriguing things about this anime is subtext and parallels to real-world actions rather than the glossy and lurid ~dark magical girl persona~ that it somewhat sells itself on. Discussing this show, unpacking its myriad complexities and connections to events we see and read about on the news is in some ways more satisfying than the execution of the actual series itself.

Too bad, because we’re going to talk about it!

Right, this sounds like it’s going to be a long one if I let you ramble too long, can you give me the abridged version please? Okay, so Asuka has severe PTSD from losing so many comrades in the great magical war. And for the most part PTSD is a ‘theme’ this series demonstrates best, it feels real and personal and occasionally crippling–especially for the non-magical girl side-characters like Asuka’s classmates Sayako and Nozomi. Next is TERRORISM, which I feel is represented at least semi-accurately with the indiscriminate and random loss of life foisted upon people just going about their daily lives with a seemingly flimsy and misguided excuse for committing it on the part of the perpetrators. The third; and potentially hardest to defend ‘theme’ of the series is TORTURE. Both utilised by the “villains” and “heroes” alike and shown to have at least passing efficacy. And it’s here specifically where the disconnect between the subject matter and the execution is most evident.

Don’t worry, there will be no torture gifs in this review.

How do you mean? This is still very much “Hollywood-brand TORTURE”–certainly its occasionally more inventive and definitely more sexual but the series seems to think that torture for the “greater good” is justified over torture for the sake of it. Whether this informed by a distinctly Japanese view on karma and justice or whether it’s just the author’s personal feelings on the matter is not for me to say but I think the series glorified torture as ‘necessary in the face of extremism’ for the sake of entertainment value.

Magical guns on the other hand…

Sure, I mean they all sound like worthy topics for discussion but we’re review the anime here not the subtext and what not. What about the show itself? It’s messy. Honestly, I think the series has amazing potential, great characters, decent action and a biting sense of humour. But it’s also wanting to be serious and grounded and intellectual–which I give it all the props in the world for–but at the same time it makes the experience kind of uneven overall. Not in a way that ruins the show, but simply that makes it flawed. And yet…

Luckiest henchman death ever.

And yet? And yet, I kind of love that about this show…

Huh?! Life is messy and complicated and flawed and hard to easily explain. On any given day you could be riding the highest of highs then have something that brings you down to the lowest of lows. You could be reading a news story about some terrible tragedy going on somewhere in the world one minute and then lose yourself in something fun and light the next. Sure this series doesn’t conform to a lot of the expected standards of narrative structure–it’s not nuanced in its pacing or tone, but it still works all the same.

Asuka enjoying the small moments of peace between the fighting.

I feel like you need to talk about some specifics about the show, who was your favourite character? That’d be my favourite Nozomi, as far as characters go her arc is um, almost non-existent. But I can’t resist a tanned genki girl! For sheer character development though, Asuka comes a close second.

Nozomi’s the shameless perv on the right, if that wasn’t abundantly obvious.

Fair enough, and a final recommendation and review for ‘Magical Girl Spec Ops’ then? Ultimately, someone open minded and willing to witness and discuss some dark subject matter and its real life comparator is required to fully enjoy this series for what it is. But likewise someone easy-going enough to appreciate the levity and silliness that comes so frequently not only as a trope of ecchi-adjacent (yes, that’s what I’m calling this) anime but also of life in general. It’s rough around the edges, it’s flawed and it’s sometimes hard to talk about but a magical girl anime about terrorism, PTSD and torture? What did you expect? 80 out of 100.

Speaking of shameless pervs. Enjoy this gif of two anime girls in bras on a treadmill.

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Blast From The Past – ‘YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World’ Episode 1 Review

Blast From The Past – An Anime QandA Review for ‘YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World’ Episode 1


What’s the show? YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World, Episode 1.

Ah, first new show of the Spring 2019 anime season, huh? How was the first episode? It was good.

…Oh…kay then? Going to elaborate a little more on that 3-word review are we? I don’t know, I’m usually pretty sure about whether I’ll like something or not from the get-go but this is an odd one… I’m going to definitely need more episodes to even get an idea what kind of show it is.

Fancy remote control?

Well what can you tell me about the series? It’s a bit ‘Steins;Gate’-ish, only with a more adolescent edge to it–our protagonist Takuya shares more than a few similarities with a ‘typical harem lead’ but I don’t think this show is trying to be that. It will be about relationships at some point but I hasten a guess that they’ll be peripheral fodder for light-hearted shenanigans where the focus will be on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his father as well as the time travel and alternate universe gubbins that serves as this shows ‘hook’.


So it’s science fiction, mystery, comedy and romance? More or less, and in that order so far.

And what’s your biggest concern about the series? So a little background information, this series is based on a visual novel from 1996–that’s probably from before most of my readers were even born! And while I won’t say this anime in anyway feels dated, it does feel ~different~ to some modern anime in a way I can only attribute to the age of the source material. It’s not even something tangible or expressible just a feeling I had while watching this first episode. So it makes me wonder whether certain mid 90’s sensibilities are going to find their way into the script or whether it’s been ‘updated’ for modern audiences.

The ol’ ‘character only has lipstick in close-up’ trick, eh?

I’m not sure what you mean by “mid 90’s sensibilities”? I’m worried the show is going to have outdated gender stereotypes–you know the kind of casual sexism that you used to see all the time in 90’s media. And I’m mostly worried about that coming from our protagonist because as he is at the moment is walking a fine-line for me.

That’s his teacher btw, and that’s what she wears to class. Anime is the best.

Oh? What’s he done wrong already in the space of a single episode? He makes sexual advances towards his teacher, he asks whether a grumpy classmate is experiencing “that time of the month” to explain her attitude, he’s implied to have had some sort of “relationship” with an ex-tutor and as a ‘joke’ he jumps out in his underwear at the new female transfer student. Not exactly a compelling case for a character I want to support for a longer running series.


But what’s so different about him compared to other harem or harem-adjacent anime? Compared to modern anime? Quite a bit, the ‘pervert’ archetype isn’t as common as it once was and is usually relegated to side characters. But even in the rare cases where a pervert character is the main protagonist (like in Maken-Ki) they are almost immediately verbally or physically rebuked for the conduct. Whereas here it’s shrugged off as ‘adolescent folly’ and ‘boys will be boys’–a mentality that may have been easy to get away with in 1996 but not in 2019!

Pretty sure you’d get a suspension if you did that nowadays.

Sounds like you’ve worked yourself up quite a bit from where we started with the “it was good” remark? This is what happens when you write off the top of your head right after finishing the episode (and don’t bother to edit because that would negate the conversational style of my reviews). But I still stand by the “it was good” remark because it was, all the characters are interesting if a little blandly designed, the soundtrack suited the action and the intrigue was thick throughout.

Only 1 episode into the season and already this is my favourite screencap+subtitle combo.

So who would you recommend ‘YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World’ for? Fans of time-travel and parallel world anime like ‘Steins;Gate’ or even things like last year’s ‘ISLAND’ seem like logical comparisons. It is more immediately sexual that either of those two but likewise I don’t think this is going into ecchi territory if that’s what you’re worried about. There’s enough interesting going-ons and unanswered questions (like what’s going on with the cute, naked blonde girl!) to keep me watching even despite my reservations about the protagonist. If any of this has sounded interesting then I’d recommend giving it a watch!

Foreboding words of what’s to come.

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Is It Worth Remembering? – ‘Pastel Memories’ Full Season Review

Is It Worth Remembering? – A Full Season Review of ‘Pastel Memories’


What’s the show? Pastel Memories.

And what’s it about? It’s sometime in the future (or an alternate timeline) and the Akihabara we know and love with it’s anime and gaming billboards and otaku stores is but a shell of its former glory. 12 girls working in a manga cafe lead double lives fighting to save people’s favourite manga and anime from being destroyed by “viruses” that rob people of the memories of ever having experienced the particular manga or anime that’s under attack in any given episode.

Basically this, every episode.

…okay… Basically it’s like the movie ‘Inception’ but instead of going into other people’s dreams they’re going into different manga and anime worlds. That “normal” enough of a comparison for you to understand?

I mean I get it but what’s the point of it? This series banks heavily on people’s nostalgia for certain shows but more so the idea of otaku culture in general. The imagery of a ‘blank’ Akihabara devoid of its brightly colored branding and shop names is deliberately meant to evoke a sense of unease in the audience—at least if you’re a shameless Akiba fan like me. Though I’ll admit the whole idea of an Akihabara without the very thing that makes it Akiba—while making for a striking image—isn’t actually tied to the central narrative in any meaningful way but rather serves as a way to bookend to the series.

…okay… What?!

The transportation scenes are the show at its visually best.

I feel like you’re going down a tangent few people will care about, we all know you love Akihabara and take every opportunity to remind us of that fact but could you please reign it in a little and focus on the elements of the show that are important for anyone considering whether or not to watch this show? No one’s going to watch this show…

You seem very certain of that? Every season there’s a show that instantly gets dumped by almost every seasonal reviewer, gets a criminally low score and MAL and basically becomes that season’s anime whipping boy. Last season it was ‘Conception’ and this season it’s ‘Pastel Memories’ and it’s not like I’m going to pretend like this show is worth watching for 95% of the anime viewing audience—but I enjoyed it and I’m glad I watched it.


I think the problem is you’re far too easy on ~certain~ anime. “Certain anime”, what do you mean by that?

You said this show had 12 girls on its cast, yeah? Didn’t ‘Conception’ have that many too? Are you saying I have a ~thing~ for the number 12?!

What? No! I’m saying you tend to overlook an anime’s flaws if you’ve got a bunch of good-looking anime girls to look at. Oh. Well yeah, duh. But I’m still not going to watch something if it’s boring or unimaginative. And the fact that over the 12 episodes we get to visit ten different worlds inspired by other anime and manga is a selling point in of itself. And while your mileage may vary depending on how familiar you are with the anime they are referencing in any given episode even the episodes about show’s I didn’t know were still interesting enough to keep me entertained.

That’s not how you basketball!

But it’s not perfect right? The show has flaws. Yes, plenty. The show is frequently unimpressive visually, with off-model characters, stilted animation and derpy facial expressions. The constant battling of the same bad guys each week just in a different locale can feel repetitive and the two part finale feels stretched wafer-thin just to fill the run-time.

Okay then—some balance for a change… so final recommendation and review for ‘Pastel Memories’? Unless your a diehard fan of the different anime and manga that get referenced in this series than there’s probably little reason for the average anime fan to watch Pastel Memories. For the sake of completionism the worlds our characters travel to are from the following series’: ‘Is The Order A Rabbit?’, ‘Rozen Maiden’, ‘Ro-Kyu-Bu!’, ‘The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!’, ‘Hamtaro’, ‘Dragon Quest (vg)’, ‘Mister Ajikko’, ‘Tokimeki Memorial (vg)’, ‘Yu Yu Hakusho’ or ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’. But you know what, I admired the effort and the enthusiasm if nothing else and there’s too a certain charm to the ‘roughness’ of the whole endeavour. I will remember you: 76 out of 100.

For me, the references peaked in Episode 2 with the ‘Is The Order A Rabbit?’ world.

“76”?! Not to nitpick but that score seems kinda high… I gave 10 points alone to the ending credits—seriously these are the best ending credits I’ve seen in a long time—if ever!

Okay folks, just go ahead and disregard this entire review… it’s for your own sake, trust me…

I’ll never get tired of this ED.

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Best Checkmates – ‘Pastel Memories’ Episode 5 Review

Best Checkmates – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Pastel Memories’ Episode 5


What’s the show? Pastel Memories, Episode 5.

So how’s this episode? Okay. There’s officially something fishy going on about this show’s choice of anime/manga/light novels to “enter”–at least if the last two episodes are anything to go by.

And why’s that? Well if you’ll recall last episode the girls had to fight a virus that was threatening a light novel that was a loose approximation of ‘Ro-Kyu-Bu’ about a bunch of elementary school girls being coached in playing basketball by a high-school boy who may or may not be a lolicon and had moments that delved into ‘ecchi’ and ‘harem’ tropes.

Some things don’t make for the best spectator sport.

*sigh* Yes I remember, why’s that relevant? Well because this episode has the girls fight a virus that’s threatening a light novel that is a loose approximation of ‘The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!’ about an elementary school girl being coached in playing Shogi by a high-school boy who may or may not be a lolicon and had moments that delved into ‘ecchi’ and ‘harem’ tropes.

‘Shogi King’s Big Job!’ is a better title than ‘The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!’ just saying…

Oh I remember you reviewing that show, you almost had an aneurysm about how much you hated the protagonist? Indeed I did. But that’s not really the point, the point is to have two episodes (and in a row, no less) referencing other anime that are strikingly similar and having a character in the show once again make the joke about how “unusual” it was of a subject matter. Makes me wonder if this show is trying to push an anti-lewding-loli agenda.

Yeah… but you’re still in elementary school.

That seems like a bit of a stretch… Does it? I mean just take a look at the end credits, its a bevvy of thicc girls in bikini’s the likes of which I’ve not seen before! Just try and tell me this show isn’t trying to extol the virtues of voluptuous high-school aged anime girls over their pre-teen counterparts!

The power of oppai is strong.

But isn’t this show about saving these works from the viruses? If it was anti-loli they’d be destroying them from people’s memories. Right? Yeah, good point, I don’t know what I was thinking.

So just another random thought exercise you decided to keep in the review rather than editing it out and writing something ~vaguely~ resembling a review. Pretty much…

Giant Robot vs Loli, Shogi edition!

So overall thoughts on this episode? I was again glad this was referencing a show I’d seen (even if it’s a show I have a middling opinion of–though that’s mostly entirely down to its crappy protagonist) and while they more-or-less nailed the character references and the seemingly impenetrable difficulty of Shogi as a game this was probably my least favourite episode so far. The three characters who went into fight the virus are among the weakest on the cast and had very little chemistry together and the episode itself was very ugly to look at–as if they’d want to reduce the budget by having dulled or even featureless backgrounds where possible. It was enjoyable but completely unremarkable.

Explosive Shogi on display in this episode. Literally, she checkmates the villain robot she’s playing against and it explodes.

Previous ‘Pastel Memories’ Reviews:

Attack On Otaku – Episode 1 Review
Happy Ending – Episode 2 Review
Rose Tinted Glasses – Episode 3 Review
She Shoots, They Score – Episode 4 Review

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An Arm For An Arm – ‘Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka’ Episode 4 Review

An Arm For An Arm – An Anime QandA Review for ‘Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka’ Episode 4


What’s the show? Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, Episode 4.

How’s this episode? You know what, I expected the worst to befall our poor kidnapped Nozomi at the end of last episode, what with her being the daughter of a state-sanctioned torturer and all. But ~yeesh~ if this episode didn’t deliver on the cold-hearted brutality of torture… I mean sure I had zero negative reaction to seeing the terrorist Kim Kanth being tortured in the previous two episodes but this time was different! This was best girl being tortured!

I’m scared. What happens to her? It’s not like you to be rushing me towards the end of the episode, I’ll get there in due-time, but first the rest of the episode!

Nozomi’s father dealing with the tough reality.

Fair ‘nuff. What happens in this episode? Nozomi is kidnapped by ruthless “illegal” magical girl Abigail, words reaches her father but there are no ransom demands–this is personal and Nozomi is set to suffer for the sins of her father. ‘Public Safety’ the group her father works for, refuses to send in a rescue team because they deem her inevitable death to be beneficial for their bargaining with the government for a bigger budget. Asuka gets wind of this and doesn’t hesitate to advance on the enemy with fellow magical girl Kurumi quickly in-tow.

Asuka’s determined to get her friend back. No matter what.

And then comes…? And then comes the torture, first at the hands of two Russian magical mercenaries–one who specialises in fire based torture–which results in Nozomi getting the skin on her stomach melted–and one who specialised in water torture. It’s the water torture in particular that’s as inventive as it is sadistic with a floating sphere of water encasing Nozomi’s head and forcing its way deep down her throat and into her stomach. It’s controlled agony and absolutely horrible to witness Nozomi being subjected to such brutal treatment.

Poor Nozomi.

And what’s their goal here? It’s not just simple revenge is it? Partly for sure. But for Abigail and her “Queen” the end goal is as simple as it is terrifying. They want to lure out a magical girl to rescue Nozomi (knowing that ‘Public Safety’ won’t risk their own people for a rescue) with the intent of capturing a magical girl and turning them into a ‘Magical Girl of Mass Destruction’.

MGMD’s, huh? Yes the modern-day terrorism motif gets a further workout with the referencing of WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction) but the earnestness with which this show presents its dark themes goes a long way to legitimising them despite sounding like something half-baked and lame on paper.

Abigail has some anger issues.

Right. So do they rescue Nozomi? In a manner of speaking. They infiltrate the base (which is a pretty cool series of scenes in of itself, and make their way to where Nozomi is being held. Asuka and Abigail verbally spar, poor Nozomi loses an arm in the exchange and our magical girls escape–well until Asuka insists on getting Kurumi and Nozomi to safety and leaves the fighting of the Russian magical mercenaries to her already injured self. And that’s where the episode ends, with a modicum of victory but a whole lot of uncertainty…

Stylish and disturbing.

And so where do you stand on this episode? You’re usually pretty generally negative on dark subject matter. I take umbrage with that comment. I’m fine with dark subject matter as long as it’s earned and contextual. Which it is both here–plus it helped that I was mentally prepared for the worst considering the previous weeks which didn’t shy away from violence. Did I “enjoy” this episode? Not in a traditional way but I thought it was compelling and made the villains all the more loathsome and despicable for torturing an innocent girl whom we’d come to know from the previous episodes. How Nozomi will come out of this, and how her character will be affected is something I’m almost more interested in seeing then the main narrative itself considering how well this show has dealt with the realistic aspects of PTSD.

What a way to go.

Previous ‘Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka’ Reviews:

The Fight Never Ends – Episode 1 Review
Surviving Takes Its Toll – Episode 2 Review
Sink Or Swim – Episode 3 Review

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