Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 9 – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 9.

What’s the show? Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 9.

Another one? Didn’t expect another single episode review on this show so soon. Nor did I to be honest.

So did the show manage to subvert your expectations the way the previous episode did with the introduction of ‘hot boys’ into the fray? Umm, yes and no.

Do go on. Well there were no more scenes with ‘hot boys’ alas, so the shipping is put on hold, but I’m still holding out that it will become a romance anime at some point. I mean aside from the one-sided ‘romance’ between Koizumi-san and Yu.

So what subverted your expectations this time? Comedy!

Damn ramen zombies.

Oh? I thought it was always a comedy? Well on paper maybe, don’t get me wrong every episode had at least a few humorous moments but this is the first time the show has actually tried to be funny and pretty much succeeded throughout.

I half expected the Yuru Camp ‘narrator’ to appear at this point.

Interesting. Some examples? Well unexpectedly the episode starts in the mountains, and considering I watched Yuru Camp just before I almost thought we were about to have a crossover episode, but no, instead Koizumi is mountain climbing and we’re treated to a famous quote by mountaineer George Mallory, when asked “why do you climb mountains” he replied “because it’s there.” It’s an obvious joke when it comes to Koizumi but it’s well placed and having the screen fill up with the reply like it’s some deep sentiment is very amusing. What’s more it’s a beautifully animated segment, that contrasts with the heavily city based scenes the show is usually set in.

2 deep 4 me.

Seems like a lot of work just for a one-note payoff. Maybe, but the segment is still entertaining, plus there’s fun little moments like when Koizumi sets up a portable stove and begins cooking up ramen on a trail and the people passing her by begin muttering “ramen” like possessed drones at the apparently intoxicating sight and smells. Plus it’s just nice seeing Koizumi interact with other people like the elderly couple who asks her to take their photo.

Damn you Crunchyroll watermark!

Character building? That’s it! It’s character, not so much the characters themselves but the character of the show!

But dat art tho.

What do you mean? Okay so in the second segment, we’re introduced to a middle school boy named Kenta, who enters a ramen shop in order to get “revenge” on a bowl of ramen that defeated him previously and shamed him in front of his school friends. (Basically he couldn’t finish it because the serving is so large and he felt emasculated). Koizumi enters soon after, taking a seat beside him and orders a mega size potion of Buta Yarou ramen. After seeing the petite girl easily defeat her own super sized dish and order a soft serve desert he is motivated and finishes his bowl.

“Oh my god Becky look at her ramen, it’s… so… BIG”

So? Ugh, it’s hard to put into words, it’s a cute scene, besides if you’ve ever been to Japan you know not only the difficulty in finishing ramen but the shame in leaving anything in the bowl.

Synchronised slurping, new Olympic sport?

I guess that makes sense. Also the boy is the younger brother of the beauty-obsessed girl Misa, who is one of Yu’s good friends. So now there’s two brothers who’ve been taken in by Koizumi-san’s ‘unique’ charms, albeit in different ways.

That’s what she said.

Reverse harem? Where’d you learn such dirty words! Also, no I doubt it, but it is slowly expanding the universe of the show, which is fun and interesting even if it will probably amount to little, but I can dream…

Also the second segment takes place in Akihabara, I literally leapt out of my seat in excitement as I stayed on this very street last year!

And what else? Well in the episode’s third segment we see Misa exercising because she’s getting jealous about all the attention Koizumi has been getting from the boys at school. She sets out to “spy” on Koizumi to find out her beauty tricks and by “spy” she just blatantly confronts her and asks what new things she’s been doing? And it being Ms Koizimi the answer can only be one thing.

M. Bison: “OF COURSE!”

Ramen? Back fat!

Baby got back fat? No I already made a Sir Mix-a-Lot joke this blog…

Excuse me?! Well yes, ramen but back fat ramen, and the segment is introduced in such a hilarious fashion like I’d accidentally put in some sort of erotica! See this is the character of the show I was talking about, the sort of personality to the show itself that had been so lacking up to this point!

50 Shades of Ramen.

I think I get what you’re saying. It’s about the way it’s presented as opposed to the content therein? Well the content is important of course, but essentially yes, the show is experimenting with styles and presentation and feeling all the more loose and fun for it!

So how’s this segment. It’s probably the weakest of the three because it is a return to the normal format of ‘Koizumi and one of the other female side characters eating ramen’ but it too has a tad more comedy, in the form of a montage of all things as Misa gets seduced into eating more back fat ramen over the course of a week just so she gets the same “glowing” complexion Koizumi has had recently. Spoiler alert it’s because her face is greasy from eating ramen that’s covered in lard!

You say it like it’s a bad thing?

Ew, not sure how I feel about that. I admit, it’s not at the top of my list of ramen to try from this show but it is at least interesting!

Me at Melon Books in Akihabara.

So wrap this up, will ya? Right, so the first few episodes had the score hovering ‘round the mid 70’s out of 100, peaking in the high 70’s at some more interesting moments. Episode 8 had the score touching the low 80’s, and now, well if things continue this way, it could be a show worthy of mid 80’s by the time the season is done. This is not a weather report FYI. Hopefully the show continues to grow and change in these subtle but important ways, because I’m enjoying it all the more as it goes along.

Yuru Yuri – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Yuru Yuri.

What’s the show? Yuru Yuri

Ah! I’ve been around you long enough to know what both of those words mean? Oh?

So in the west this show is called ‘Laid Back Lesbians’? *face palm*

What? Was I wrong? You’re wrong in that no it’s not called that in the west, it’s still Yuru Yuri. But you’re not wrong in that’s pretty accurate for what goes on during most episodes.

I won’t even feign surprise that you’re watching a show like this. Like what? Don’t judge a book by its cover; this show is way more than just girls love. It’s first and foremost a comedy, and a genuinely hilarious one at times too!

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Fine, I’m listening, go on. So the main characters are four middle school girls-

Stop, I’m sorry, did you say middle school girls? That’s perverse even for you! And there you go transplanting your heteronormative assumptions on things that shouldn’t even be seen as the least bit sexualised but because you consider lesbianism a fetish as opposed to an actual way of life you can’t separate something as honest and pure as self-discovery from what you search on RedTube whenever women’s sport comes on the TV!

I… I’m sorry, I just assumed because you watch so many fan-service anime that this was just one and the same. There’s literally no fan-service here unless you consider girls exploring their complicated and raw feelings for other girls to be fan-service, in which case I suggest you leave.

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No, no I’ll stay. Again, sorry. It’s fine, I forgive you this time.

So who are our characters? Protagonist; Akarin! Akari has a serious issue, she’s very forgettable, to the point where the show itself forgets she’s even a character in her own show to hilarious comedic affect. Like it’s hard to put it into words but the way this show treats its protagonist is akin to high art. It’s brutal and cruel and unexpected but insanely funny and entertaining.

And the rest? There’s Kyoko who is fun incarnate, but also incredibly clueless at times. A great deal of the one-liners and randomness that make up the comedy comes from her. Then there’s Minami who is the strong, silent type, she’s the level headed one of the group but can’t resist a pun. And then there’s Chinatsu, who’s the super cute one who has a passionate crush on Minami despite the constant suggestive advances of Kyoko who idolises the pink haired princess because of her resemblance to her favourite anime character a magical girl called Mirakurun.

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So that’s everyone of importance? Not even close! Then there’s the members of the student council, Ayano is the vice president and is as straight laced as the come but she’s secretly in love with Kyoko, even if she’ll never admit it. Ever by her side is Chitose who is a total pervert and imagines Ayano and Kyoko in suggestive situations at every available moment, which causes her near-fatal nosebleeds. And then there’s ‘doth protest too much rivals’ Sakurako and Himawari who just seriously need to get laid. And I could go on, but well, there’s a couple more characters who benefit from the surprise of their discovery in episode 9 of the season.

Things got complicated, and quick! Don’t presume that because it’s all cutesy on the surface and is about middle school girls that it’s somehow less complex than the myriad other school based shows out there.

Lesson learnt. So what’s an average episode of Yuru Yuri contain? Making fun of Akari’s non-presence no matter the situation. A lot of talking, then finally a plot developing, then doing everything to subvert those expectations, then something totally random. Intersperse some sexual tension and unreturned feelings and heaping dollop of total nonsense and you have the average episode of Yuru Yuri.

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Dare I ask who your best girl is? Usually if I have to think about the matter longer than 10 minutes it usually means I don’t have a best girl.

What?! Shocking, I know. I think because the characters relationships are so dependent on one another, not just emotionally within the show but structurally externally too, I can’t really choose.

Maybe it’s because they’re middle school aged you feel weird about picking one as a ‘best girl’? Nope, no weird feelings about that at all.

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For once I’d just like you to have a normal response. No chance!

Fine, whatever. Anything else to add? The final episode of season 1 is one of my favourite episodes of any comedy or slice of life anime’s I’ve seen so far, it starts off strong and keeps building and building, I was in awe of what I was witnessing. If I were reviewing that episode alone I’d probably give it 99.

Wow, high praise indeed, but what about the season as a whole? Final score? If you’re put off by the title or the genre or the ages of the characters at least give it a go, you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s the show for you as the first couple of episodes are very indicative of the rest of the season. Personally I couldn’t get enough of it and am glad there’s another two seasons to watch. Unforgettable, 92 out of 100.

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K-On! – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for K-On!

What’s the show? K-On!

And what’s that supposed to mean? Keion!

And what’s that supposed to mean? ‘Light music’.

Right. Now that we’ve got that sorted, what’s it about? It’s about five high school girls who start a ‘Light Music Club’ and eventually form a band called ‘Afternoon Tea Time.’ And it’s also one of the most wholesome anime’s ever made; it’s just so damn precious. *heart eyes*

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‘Light music’, sounds kind of dull. You bite your tongue heathen! ‘Afternoon Tea Time’ legitimately rocks, like this isn’t bubblegum J-pop with instruments of questionable existence, they play their instruments, you hear every instrument in the band and the music is so very good. I don’t normally do this but here’s a link to one of my favourite songs (it’s also the end credits song for season 1).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN-ov_YQqmA

Wow! That was really good; they rock more than Nickleback (not that that’s difficult). I don’t know what that is.

Consider yourself lucky. So who are these girls? Didn’t you watch the whole video?! It introduces them all there!

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I meant what are their characters, not just what instruments do they play? Fair enough. The protagonist is Yui, she’s lead guitar and lead vocalist (but not the vocalist of the song I linked – just to confuse you a bit!) she’s clumsy, a total air-head and not a very diligent student. Mio is bassist and second vocalist; she’s incredibly shy, easily spooked but very popular with other students due to her beauty. Ritsu is the drummer and president of the light music club (self appointed) she’s energetic, jokey but forgetful at times. Mugi is the keyboardist; she is kind, gentle, eager and comes from an incredibly wealthy family. Azusa is the rhythm guitarist and a year younger than the other four girls; she is very serious and focused at times, reserved but has also a lot of insecurities.

Great, so the show is a…? Slice of life, while there’s exceptional attention to detail with the animated rendition of the instruments and they do occasionally practice and play music, the majority of the show is just the girls talking and eating fancy cakes and drinking tea in their clubroom.

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So pretty standard slice of life fare? Exactly! In other words… bliss.

Right. So no complaints about the show then? Oh I have a few, at least as far as this first season is concerned. The pacing is a bit off at times; some episodes have less going for them than others and the comedy can be a little inconsistent and pedestrian.

Hmm, didn’t expect that. Isn’t this show kind of highly acclaimed, is it underserving of such praise? Of course not, besides season 2 is a literal masterpiece, and improves every single issue I had with the first season, but let’s leave that ‘til another review!

And now we present the award for ‘best girl’ *drumroll* *opens envelope* and the winner is… Mio-chan! As if there was any doubt…

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Well we’re kind of out of things to discuss, and we’ve got like 7 questions left, what should we do? When in doubt, do as the K-On girls do, eat sweet treats!

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Oh that looks lovely *anime eating sounds* Mmm, give me some too. *more anime eating sounds*

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How about some of this? Don’t mind if I do!

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*anime eating sounds* *anime eating sounds*

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Mmm, that was delicious! We should do this more often! Yeah, I mean I’m sure the people reading this don’t mind that we wasted their time because we couldn’t think up more questions!

Oh, right. The readers, haha, forget they were there… hello! Sorry for wasting your time! Please address all complains to the site admin @Cactus_Matt on twitter.com

Well, final verdict please? If you haven’t watched this classic slice of life anime already then you owe it to yourself, if not for the perfectly likable characters, charming setting and relaxed atmosphere then the legitimately awesome music which runs the gamut from cutesy to cool. It’s not without its flaws but it’s easy to overlook the flaws when taking into consideration how amazing it gets in season 2. If that sounds like an odd recommendation, it’s because it is and this has been an odd review. Anyone else hungry? Make sure to make room for seconds, 84 out of 100.

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Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 8 – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 8.

What’s the show? Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, Episode 8.

Ah, another single episode review, huh? Too great to wait ‘til the end of the season to talk about it? Not quite, while I’m apparently the only person who actually really likes this show, the episode itself wasn’t a standout in terms of quality but rather it did something interesting worthy of a discussion.

Right, so let’s back up a bit and give some context, what’s the show about? It’s about high school girl Koizumi-san and her impossibly deep love, affection and dare I say all consuming obsession for ramen noodles. It’s also about Yu Osawa, and her impossibly deep love, affection and dare I say all consuming obsession for Koizumi-san.

So it’s a? Maybe a slice of life? I’m not sure; it’s not consistently funny enough that I would call it a comedy. And Yu’s infatuation with Koizumi is very one-sided, so it’s not a Yuri or Romance. I think it’s safe to just call it a food slice of life anime until it develops an actual concrete genre.

This show is so ‘gifable’ too bad the gif website wasn’t working for me.

So what’s happened on the show up until episode 8? Lots of food porn. Lots of girls eating food and getting hot and bothered about it.

Koizumi comes with her own snapchat filters. No pun intended.

Like Food Wars “hot and bothered”? Not quite, no clothes come flying off on this show, it’s very grounded, well save for Yu, who over the episodes we’ve seen progresses from school girl crush to almost stalker levels of obsession.

She asked this with all sincerity, that’s how obsessed Yu is with Koizumi she wants to literally become ramen in order to be eaten by Koizumi.

And how’s the show treat this behaviour? It’s a source of almost all of the shows jokes, which for some people might be a reason not to watch the show. Though in Yu’s favour, she’s never creepy about it, and she states her intentions to follow Koizumi from ramen store to ramen store. If Koizumi did ever feel threatened by Yu, she’d have no problem standing up for herself, and Yu would probably back off… probably… At the moment Koizumi doesn’t really acknowledge Yu’s presence, in fact she’s friendlier with Yu’s other two friends, which I think is an important bit of characterisation.

Who are they? Misa and Jun, popular fashion type girl and nerdy bookworm type girl respectively.

Misa, Jun, Koizumi and Yu.

So I think that gives us enough context about the show, what makes episode 8 particularly interesting? Well the first half of the episode plays out like pretty much every other episode does, Koizumi goes to a ramen place, one of the three girls ends up tagging along for whatever reason, Koizumi goes into a long spiel about whatever type of ramen they’re eating then the two girls eat said ramen while blushing and moaning. There’s always a bit of character development thrown in so it’s not just watching girls slurp noodles, but, well… yeah it’s almost entirely that every time.

Close up slurp action, for those who are into that kind of thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

And the second half? Suddenly hot boys!

Me too.

Right, can’t say I saw that coming. Who are they? Well save for the dark-haired one on the right who’s Shu, Yu’s older brother, the others are all new characters. Shu appeared briefly at the start of Episode 6 and got entranced by Koizumi’s beauty as she passed him on the street. But having an entire half of an episode completely focused on four different characters, and male ones at that was so unexpected and genuinely refreshing. Within minutes their characters archetypes are established and you want to see more of them and hopefully have them interact with the four girls in future episodes.

Why do I feel like they’re about to start a boy band?

Four girls, four boys. Are we assuming the show is lining them up to be love interests? Maybe. I mean, I will admit a passing sadness for the idea of Koizumi and Yu not getting together, but if the show does go the whole romance route I wouldn’t be opposed. It’s just hard to think how a show that’s been so food-centric will suddenly pivot into another genre. Granted, the boys only talked about food too, so it’s not like I’m expecting a massive upheaval it’s just interesting to think where it will go.

And you’re not bothered about a bunch of as you put it “hot boys” appearing in your otherwise clear broth of cute girls. Well it’s not a ramen without meat!

*childish giggle*

You could have also said “noodles”. I could have also said noodles, yes, that would also have been correct and a sufficient innuendo for penis.

Thick and firm.

Thanks for explaining the joke. But really, why so okay with it, I’m just surprised as all? Well, at the risk of sounding shallow, the girls on this show aren’t that cute, I mean in comparison to other shows I’m watching, don’t get me wrong still cute in the context of this show, but those boys are hot.

“I’ll have what she’s having”

Should I be asking who is ‘best boy’ instead of ‘best girl’? Hahaha. Totally long fringe purple hair boy on the end, his voice is so deep.

I was kidding, but thanks. Should I be worried about you? It’s fine. I’m just excited something different is happening in this show. I was a bit worried it would go stale if it didn’t shake things up, so hopefully they continue with this!

If you were starting to feel like it could go stale why keep watching? Because I think it’s a good show, it could be nostalgia for when I visited Japan clouding my vision; I love seeing all the attention to detail in the ramen shops. It just gives me such a warm feeling watching this show, almost like all those bowls of ramen I ate over there.

“Itadakimasu!”

That’s fair enough. Plus it’s not like there haven’t been glimmers of hope for some more interesting plot developments. Yu cooks Ramen for Koizumi at her house in episode 3, Koizumi helps a little German girl who gets lost in episode 6 which reveals her softer side plus the aforementioned brief encounter with Yu’s brother. But this episode marks a paradigm shift into some real potential for drama, can you imagine how Yu would react if her brother started dating the object of her obsession!

There wasn’t much actual stalking in this episode as Yu was at the beach so this image was taken from the opening credits.

Drama indeed! So final recommendation? If you’ve already dropped this show this season, perhaps this will be enough to get you to come back? If not I totally understand, it’s a very niche show and I can understand why some people would get bored of it. Either way I’m happy that things are starting to progress towards something different and look forward to the remaining episodes!

Teekyu! Season 1 and 2 – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Season 1 and 2 of Teekyu!

What’s the show? Season 1 and 2 of Teekyu!

Two whole seasons? You spoil me! What’s the occasion? No occasion, it’s just it’s another one of those 2-minute long anime’s so why not cover two seasons of 12 episodes each!

Fair enough. So what’s it about? Tennis!

Oh god, you’re reviewing another sports anime? You’re not going to have another mental break down like you did when you reviewed Haikyu!! Are you? Daijoubu daijoubu! This one has cute girls!

Of course it does. So how does a 2-minute long sports anime actually work? By being about almost everything except tennis! It’s a gag anime.

That’ll do it! I’ve never watched a show so committed to just doing whatever the heck they want, well maybe Pop Team Epic, but the short form nature of this anime allows it to throw a lot more jokes out and at a much quicker pace, so if one jokes lands flat you only have to wait another 3 seconds and there will be a new one to take it’s place.

Sounds kinda tiring. Yeah… it can be. The subtitles move so quickly as a result of the manic pace of the dialogue that unless you’re a really fast reader you might have to keep your finger on the pause button, otherwise you’re going to miss things.

But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a fast-paced anime? Maybe, but I can read 672 words per minute at 90% accuracy so I don’t have any issue watching this show at its normal pace.

Is this a job interview all of a sudden? #justsaying

So it’s funny? It can be, extremely, in fact. Though I have a feeling this is the kind of show where you either connect with the humour immediately or it just falls flat throughout. But it’s the commitment and the rapid-fire line delivery that really helps elevated what could otherwise be considered just random nonsense.

And the characters? I know I’ve asked this before with regard to 2-minute anime’s but can you really get to know characters on such a short time scale? In this show, no, but they’re not really trying to be anything other than four high school girls who each have a clichéd stereotype to fill in order to mine as many jokes from the associated personality type. They are sketch show characters basically, it’s not trying to be anything deeper and it doesn’t need to be.

So no point in asking more about the characters then? The purple haired one is called Yuri, who’s the serious, straight man character; she’s kind of the audience analogue as she ‘reacts’ to the zaniness of her fellow Tennis Club members. The pink haired one is Kanae the most random one; she tends to do things that break conventional logic or even the laws of physics. Nasuno, the brunette is the spoilt rich girl whose immense wealth enables some of the clubs crazier ideas to come to fruition. And Marimo, the blue haired one is the pervert with a heart of gold.

Right. And what was that about breaking the laws of physics? I did say they do whatever the heck they want for a show, even if it makes no sense, if there’s the possibility of it getting a laugh then they’ll do it!

Can’t fault the commitment. So I take it there’s just the two seasons then? Haha… oh my no.

More?! As of the writing of this review there’s nine seasons plus two spin offs, which no end in sight!

Dear lord. But why didn’t you review all 9 seasons of the show? I mean I can’t imagine there’s much variation between them, from the sounds of it it’s just like a sketch comedy show? You really think I’m going to be able to keep up this review pace forever? Having a few short shows like this in the back pocket is going to make my job a heck of a lot easier than watching full-length series’!

Can’t blame you for that, I suppose. So which is better season 1 or 2. Easily season one; I had far more laugh out loud moments in the first than the second. Plus it seemed to have a slightly slower pace season two was on the verge of being too fast for me to keep up with. Though I did appreciate that season two had a bit more continuity between episodes, not that it made any more sense, just that episodes seemed to flow into one another in a nice fashion.

And does a show like this allow for a best girl? Pfft, of course! Where there’s girl’s there’s best girls.

Good to know? And this show’s best girl? Easily Marimo, can’t fault the lewd!

Probably should have guessed as much. Final verdict? If you have trouble keeping up with fast moving dialogue or need your comedy to come from personable, relatable characters and realistic scenarios, this is not the show for you. If you do however like things random and borderline insane and don’t mind ending up with a slight headache afterwards than Teekyu’s your show! Season one aces with an 89 out of 100, while season two couldn’t break the set but still delivered a great point with 82 out 100.

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Food Wars! – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Food Wars!

What’s the show? Food Wars! (2015)

And what’s it about? Food!

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I could have probably guessed that much, go into detail please. Well it’s about Soma Yukihira and his exploits as he traverses the ranks of elite culinary school Totsuki Academy in pursuit of his dream of surpassing his father at cooking. It’s a cooking school unlike any other where less than 1% of students graduate due to the rigorous process of ‘shokugeki’s’ (Food Wars), which dominate the academic landscape, weeding out the wannabes from the true professionals.

Why do I feel like I’ve just turned on a cooking channel? Yeah it can kinda get like that, but as long as you watch it in Japanese with English subtitles there shouldn’t be any issues. 

So there’s an English dub then? NEVER MENTION THE ENGLISH DUB OF THIS SHOW AROUND ME!

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O…kay then… Um, so what’s good about the show? Only everything! It’s a comedy only there’s a kind of genuine emotional relevance connected to every character. It’s practically a sports anime with the kind of detail they go into when it comes to the preparation and serving of a dish, never has a show made me so hungry before. The stakes genuinely feel high every time a shokugeki is issued and because of the character development it only feels higher. And then there’s the fan service…

Fan service? Excuse me? Sometimes the food is just so good that those tasting it are so overcome with adulation that their clothes rip off! Of course not literally, it’s all visual metaphor, but it simultaneously fulfils the shallow need for fan service in this kind of anime and offer a visual representation to externally gauge how good a dish is.

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Feels like your just making excuses for seeing anime tiddies. First of all, I thought we agreed you’d never use that phrase again around me. Secondly, it’s not just woman whose clothes disintegrate upon tasting an impeccable dish, men are just as likely to appear naked and aroused upon putting food in their mouth in this show.

This show is sounding kind of perverse. But it’s totally not, I know it’s hard but you should trust me on this. It’s like the anime equivalent of Masterchef except everyone isn’t a self-entitled douche with some thirty-second sob story or one-dimensional persona.

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Well that’s good! Anything else I should know? You know this review really should be titled ‘Shokugeki No Soma’, not ‘Food Wars!’

Huh? Well I mean that’s its proper Japanese title, ‘Food Wars!’ is just an annoyingly simplified translation meant to grab people’s attention. Probably because whoever got the rights for the show in the west was afraid a food-based anime wouldn’t be ‘shiny’ enough to make money!

Are you going to make this into a thing? He’s totally going to make this into a thing… I mean why stop there! Why not call ‘Haikyu!!’ ‘Volleyball Show!!’ instead! Or ‘Keijo!’ ‘This Is Totally A Sports Anime, Why Are You Looking At Me Like That, No This It’s Just A Banana In My Pocket.’ Or ‘Yuru Camp’ ‘Laid Back Camp’!

You know I think they did call ‘Yuru Camp’ ‘Laid Back Camp’. ARGH!

Calm down! Umm… oh god I need something to bring him back on topic, I can’t let this end up as another rant review… um? Oh of course! Ah… so does this show have any cute girls I should know about? Of course! Some of the best in fact!

Wow that was easy, uh, great! So tell me about them? Well of course there’s the snobby rich girl who’s something of an antagonist to Soma, her name’s Erina and she’s nicknamed the ‘god tongue’ because her palate is so impossibly refined. Then there’s Ikumi, who loves cooking with meat, she’s got a brash exterior but she’s actually a bit of a sweet heart when you get to know her! And then… daww, its best girl Megumi! She’s a quietly spoken country girl who’s just too precious for words!

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I almost prefer the angry you than this you… Don’t hate just because I’ve found my happiness!

Oh I wouldn’t dare dream it. Okay, so I’m almost sold, so now in just three words convince me why I need to see this show. Peanut-butter tentacle porn.

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I said convince me to watch it not convince me to never talk to you again. Admit it, you’re curious now.

I will never! Besides you cheated, that was four words. It was hyphenated!

Let’s wrap this up, shall we? As far as an entry point into anime of the ecchi variety, Food Wars is not only tastefully presented (pun intended) but almost all of it makes sense within the show’s plot and aesthetic, and it’s about as equal as you’re likely to find in terms of male/female fan-service. But aside from that it’s a genuinely entertaining, at times hilarious and often touching show with a cast of wonderful, eclectic characters. Premium 5 star Michelin grade anime, 93 out of 100.

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Love Live! School Idol Project – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Love Live! School Idol Project.

What’s the show? Love Live! School Idol Project.

And what’s it about? Making as much money as possible for the producers of this anime.

Wow, savage af. Not holding back anymore after that One-Punch Man review are we? Don’t get me wrong, Love Live isn’t a bad show, in fact the first time I watched it I really liked it, but well, you ever watch something that you think is pretty good but then find people obsessing over it so much that you wonder maybe did you miss something? And then the more and more you keep hearing about how amazing the show is, the more and more your opinion on it declines?

So it’s not fault of the show in this instance but the fans? I wouldn’t be so harsh as to criticise someone for something that they love, because I’d hate if someone did that to me. But I guess I have to chalk this one up to me just not getting the appeal aside from the surface value.

So what’s it really about? It’s about nine high school girls who decide to make an idol group to compete against other idol groups from other high schools.

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Filthy normie that I am, care to explain what an ‘idol group’ is? Well it’s a group of idols, I thought that much would be obvious…

Okay smart-ass, what’s an ‘idol’? Well it’s like what people in the West would call a pop star.

Oh so like the Spice Girls? I don’t know what that is.

Right, I sometimes forget you subsist solely on a diet of Japanese everything. Um, okay so the Spice Girls were five UK popstars from the late 90’s, they all had different personas, like one was called Baby spice because she was ‘cute’, one was called Sporty Spice because she dressed like she was going to kick someone’s head in, one was called Posh Spice because the 1% need something to jerk it to too, one was called Scary Spice because she had an afro and wore leopard print (and probably because she was black, but let’s not get into that here) and one was called Ginger Spice because she was… well a ginger. Sounds kind of stupid now that I put it on paper but they were a big deal. Hmm, okay, well I guess idols are kind of like that except without any discernible personalities.

Wow… Are you deliberately trying to burn down your blog? Got a light?

I think you need to rein it in and come at this a bit more positively, okay? That’s easy, I could have just told you how I felt about this show when I first watched it. It’s fun and entertaining and the characters are all really cute and each have something likable about them.

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But now? All that still applies except it exists under a cold and calculated veneer of capitalism and marketing and oversaturation, it’d be like looking at a really cute anime pinup online only it’s surrounded by pop-ups trying to sell you things and then when you try to minimise it to look at something else, it stays there in a small window in the corner, pestering you to come back.

But should you judge the merits of a show just because it’s got a high marketing budget and a lot of people bought into the hype that was generated in turn? But a rabid fan base and persistent almost suffocating marketing presence only seeks to highlight the issues in the show. If you watch a show that’s pretty good, maybe even very good and then that’s all you hear about it, your brain goes “sure, makes sense” but if you watch a show that is pretty good, maybe even very good and everyone around is frothing over it and it’s on billboards and the sides of buses, and the music is being played from trucks roaming the streets, it makes you wonder “how do all you people not see all that’s wrong with this show?!”

I get what you’re saying, I really do, but I still don’t think you’re being fair and impartial to the show. I don’t recall signing anything that said my reviews were going to be ‘fair and impartial’, they’re just opinions at the end of the day.

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Fair enough, I’m not trying to tell you how to review, just trying to keep this from turning into another rant (although I think the ship has sailed on that!) I’m sorry if it seems like I’m ranting, I’ll try and be a bit more professional with my criticism and focus on the show rather than external influences.

Good, so that said, you’ve already asserted it’s a good / almost very good show, praised the characters and entertainment value. What’s not so good about it then? The plot is very safe and predictable, to the point where I was calling out story beats episodes before they even happened. The characters are interesting when they’re talking, but as soon as they get on stage it might as well be nine identical clones with slightly tweaked hairstyles; with the exception of Nico they have zero personality on stage. That and the songs are pretty ordinary and unmemorable, and I usually love Japanese pop music.

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Nico? Nico Nico Ni! (I fully accept the online consequences of picking Nico Yazawa as best girl).

Is that a meme or something? Pretty much.

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Right, we’re running long so it’s about time we wrap this up. We have a time limit?

No, it’s just if we don’t stop now this whole place will burn down. Final verdict? For the sake of this final score I’m going to pretend like everything outside the show itself doesn’t exist and thus won’t influence my final opinion. It’s a fun show, with characters that make you wish there was a more well developed and interesting show around them, the idol sections fall mostly flat but it’s still pretty to look at. 72 out of 100.

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Shimoneta – 20 Question Anime Review (Moderate Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Shimoneta: A Boring World Where The Concept Of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist.

What’s the show? Shimoneta: A Boring World Where The Concept Of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist (2015).

A title and a plot synopsis in one, huh? Well, makes my job easier. ‘Tis but one in a plethora of Japanese anime with exceedingly long titles… speaking of exceedingly long…

Oh no, is this review going to devolve into 20 Dirty Jokes instead, I don’t need my job to be any harder than it already is. You’re making this too easy…

Fine, I’ll admit that one was my mistake, but let’s at least try and be professional about this? Fine, I can do this.

Okay, so what is the show about aside from being set in a world where dirty jokes don’t exist? Well it’s set in a sort of alternate reality Japan where everyone is enforced to wear devices called ‘Peace Makers’ which analyse and monitor every thing people say and even their gestures to make sure nobody is doing anything that the government considers ‘lewd’ or ‘immoral’.

Wow, sounds kind of dark. I thought it was a comedy from that title? It is! And a very funny one at that!

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Explain? Okay, so let’s start off with the three main characters, there’s Tanukichi, a typical teenage boy who’s torn between living a law abiding life and following in his father’s footsteps as an outlaw erotic novelist. Then there’s the object of his unreturned affection student council president Anna who is very by the books and all about the rule of the law. And then there’s Ayame, vice president of the student council who in her spare time is secretly an erotic terrorist named ‘blue snow’!

Stop. What’s an ‘erotic terrorist’? Well she runs around the streets wearing nothing but a bed sheet and a pair of panties on her head while dispensing lewd pictures to shocked bystanders and shouting dirty jokes.

Interesting angle. But how does she do it? Doesn’t everybody have that monitoring thing that tracks what they are doing and saying? Good, your listening. She has a device on her phone that blocks the signal of the ‘Peace Makers’ for 3 minutes per day, in which time she can lewd up a storm!

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And what’s her goal in all this? Is she just an anarchist who gets off on being able to say and do things in public that other people can’t? Well that’s probably a part of it, but her main goal and it’s a lofty one, is to eventually overturn the laws, which have turned Japan into a country so afraid of sexuality that even students in school don’t know what reproductive sex is or how it happens.

So it’s a story about the ills of mass censorship? Broadly, yes. It’s also a show about saying ‘dick’ a lot and talking about bodily fluids. Lot of bodily fluids in this show.

I’m almost afraid to ask. Well not to go into too much spoiler territory because it does take a couple of episodes for it to come about, but perfect student council president Anna, through various ways discovers what lust is and confuses/rationalises it as love and persists in trying to get Tanukichi to drink her “love nectar”.

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So she’s a pervert? But that’s what makes her character so interesting and complex, is that because of the society she’s grown up in, one that disavows any kind of healthy sexual exploration she doesn’t even realise that what she’s doing is so far removed from ‘normal’ because what is normal is never a part of the curriculum or even taught by parents because of the laws of the country. Also, fair trigger warning because it is something worth mentioning, Anna does attempt to rape him.

Oh boy. It goes there? The show treats it in a semi-serious way, the way it’s animated and the tone of the scene it doesn’t play it for laughs, which is good. I personally didn’t have a problem with the way it was handled but I can understand why some people might feel uncomfortable about it.

Fair enough! Well, this review went to some unexpected places. Well you wanted to me to be professional, didn’t you?

Yes, and I’m very proud of you, well done. Thank you oni-chan!

I’m sorry what did you call me? Nothing!

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Why do I get the feeling you’re being lewd? I don’t know why you’re always so hard on me; it’s not my fault if my words are coming off rude to you, maybe you should have a long look at yourself in the mirror and see why you spout off at the most innocent of comments.

Are you quite done yet? Penis.

Right. Final score and recommendation? Shimoneta is proof that even in a show filled with dirty jokes and rude words there can be a genuine and well-developed discussion about censorship and the implications it has on developing minds and society at large. It also helps that it’s a very funny show at times, as long as you’re prepared for a lot of immature gags. 83 out of 100.

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Amagi Brilliant Park – 20 Question Anime Review (Moderate Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review For Amagi Brilliant Park

*Warning: Moderate Plot Spoilers within*

What’s the show? Amagi Brilliant Park (2014).

What’s it about? It’s about a high school student, Seiya Kanie, running an ailing amusement park whose employees are all actually magical fantasy creatures who rely on the happiness of the park guests to sustain their magical life force.

Wait, how’s a high school student end up running a amusement park, let alone one inhabited by magical fantasy creatures? A beautiful girl called Isuzu Sento threatens him at point blank range with a magical rifle. It’s literally the opening scene of the anime.

Right. So why him? Why not? If that’s your most pressing question then maybe anime isn’t for you!

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Fine then. What kind of show is it? Well, it kind of defies categorization. Yes it’s about cute fantasy characters living in an amusement park. But it’s also a semi-detailed look at the behind the scenes running of a park and the minutiae of business and advertising. While also being an irreverent workplace comedy where half the cutesy fantasy characters are jaded alcoholic perverts! While also containing a genuinely touching storyline about friendship, perseverance and commitment.

Okay, didn’t expect that. So what drives the plot? Is there an antagonist? The park will be shut down in three months if the park can’t reach its goal of 250,000 guests. If this happens the Princess will die!

Wait, what Princess? Since when is there a Princess? There’s always a Princess…

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Fair enough, so why’s the Princess going to die if the park can’t get 250,000 guests? Because, unlike the other fantasy creatures who can just go and get jobs elsewhere if the park closes. Beautiful Princess Latifah Fleuranza of Maple Land has been cursed by an evil wizard to remain in the grounds of her home, so if the park closes, she will no longer have a home and will die.

‘Evil Wizard’? This is starting to sound kind of silly. Oh, so it’s ‘evil wizard’ where you draw the line, huh? It’s an anime; of course it sounds silly on paper.

So it’s not silly then? Yes. It is, very silly at times. But that’s part of the charm, and the story isn’t what makes the show great, it’s the characters, from the three main ones mentioned previously to all the side characters. They all have flaws, but they try to overcome their hang-ups and the reticence towards change in order to reach their goals!

What about these side characters? Any notable favourites? Too many to mention really, especially as they start hiring outsiders towards the end of the season. Moffle, the park’s mascot, is great. Not just for his temper and violent outbursts but because he acts as a somewhat down to earth, father figure to the mostly young cast of characters. He’s also the Princess’ uncle, go figure! The magical girls of Elementario may seem like they’re just their for eye candy but they have great moments too. They even have an episode that fleshes out their relationship to one another which is really nice.

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And who is ‘best girl’? Sento is best girl. Best girl forever, best girl one million years!

So the protagonist is a guy and the two other main characters are ‘beautiful girls’, does the show try to make them love interests for him? Not exactly. With the Princess it’s entirely platonic and genuinely sweet (there’s a twist to her story that’s not worth spoiling) which makes it why he wouldn’t see her as a love interest. But Kanie and Sento eventually warm to each other; they’re very stubborn and resolute characters and so by the end the promise of ‘something more’ between them is not only noteworthy, but also rather affecting.

Can my kids watch the show? Or is there anime tiddies. You have kids?! Also please don’t say ‘anime tiddies’ ever again only I may say ‘anime tiddies’.

I don’t have kids I was just trying to ask if there’s fanservice? Well…

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But that’s about as risqué as it gets visually. Tiramie, the cute pink dog creature is a massive pervert though and does some questionable things throughout, always good for a laugh though.

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Does the story wrap up nicely or does it end on a cliffhanger? The plot for the first season is satisfyingly resolved; I dare say it even brought a tear to my eye. The romantic subplot however is left on a ‘will they/won’t they’ note which is… well it is what it is. But on the whole there’s no reason not to watch it if what you’re worried about is an incomplete story.

No second season then? Not yet, and it’s unlikely unfortunately though the light novel it’s adapted from is still on-going, but is only published in Japanese at this stage.

Well I’m almost sold; sum up the show in a sentence, like a quote for the back of the box. They still do that right? ‘A light romantic comedy with an emphasis on the comedy. A satisfying story, fun side characters, wacky hijinks and some genuinely touching moments’.

That’s way too long. In fact that’s two sentences! Do you want to try again? Not really, it’s a hard show to just nail down like that. It’s a compliment to the changing nature of the show.

Final score? It’s hard to fault something so entertaining and watchable; I score it a well-deserved 92 out of 100.

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