Slippery When Wet – ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 3 Review

Slippery When Wet – An Anime QandA Review for ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 3

Ep3banner

The Episode Review:

What’s the show? To Love-Ru, Episode 3.

Episode 3 title card. Soon to be a ‘Love Dodecahedron’!

And how’s this episode? During my first watch of this series I recalled Episode 3 as being something of a turning point, where I went from simply “enjoying” the show to out and out “loving it.”

Yes, I recall you mentioning that in previous reviews? And does that sentiment still stand? More or less.

It sure is, Lala, it sure is!

Why do I sense less enthusiasm with that reply? Well clearly my ‘memory’ of the episode was more focused on the latter half of the episode–which is fantastic, flawless even. Whereas the first half is just great.

 

“Just great”, huh? Hardly all doom and gloom, then? Precisely, overall this is still an excellent episode, I’m just making a note of the difference between when I first watched and this subsequent viewing.

She’s such a mischievous girl!

Fair enough, so what happens in the episode? Well the first part of the episode concerns Rito having to deal with Lala’s ~influence~ at school and even if I think Rito acts a bit too harsh towards Lala I can at least understand where he’s coming from considering how much upheaval his life has gone through in such a short period of time. Afterwards, Mikan decides she wants to take Lala out shopping to show her ‘round the city–after some outfit changing shenanigans they run into Haruna and things get awkward (again) for Rito. Mikan makes up an excuse about Lala being a relative from overseas as to why she’s living with them and proceeds to invite Haruna to the aquarium with them.

“Abroad” aka, space.

So that’s the first half of the episode, things get better in the second half then? Funnier is the easiest way of putting it. Lala being the curious, free-spirited alien princess that she is, finds her way into a holding tank behind the scenes but is unimpressed by how lethargic the sea creatures are. Using her D-Dial, she summons some pills to give the fish more ‘genki’ but it ends up just causing them to flop on the floor outside their tanks. An aquarium staff member sees the flailing fish and rightly panics, exclaiming the fish need water or they’ll die, Lala–taking the command literally summons a device from her D-Dial which produces unlimited amounts of water. The water builds, Lala strips naked and rides a shark down the corridors of the aquarium as the entire building floods in a scene of utter chaos. It’s just so much fun to behold!

Is this an advertisement?

And what are Rito and the others doing while all this madness is unfolding? Well Mikan, being the savvy imouto that she is, realises that there’s ~something~ more to Rito and Haruna’s “relationship” and gives them some alone time together so they can sort it out. And they almost do with Rito half-confessing his feelings for Haruna will Haruna doing the same (she’s fallen for his ‘kindness’, you see) but before they can get it all out in the open Lala and a literal wave crashes their intimate moment.

Don’t underestimate kindness!

So things are better between Rito and Haruna now? Well…

What? Well the next day, Lala and Rito are walking to school, Rito somewhat content that things are moving forward for him and Haruna, he spies her on the school road, rushes ahead, trips over and ends up falling under her skirt–his face an inch from her panty clad crotch! She slaps him away and runs off, leaving Rito to lament his bad luck.

That seems like a good a time as any to segway into the ‘fanservice’ portion of the review, yes? Hooray!

Lala knows how to have a good time!

The Fan Service Review:

So how’s this episode’s fan service quotient? It’s good. But not great. There’s a decent amount of non-nude nudity, for example Lala’s costume change montage is pretty sexy–gotta love a bunny girl outfit!

They’re all awesome outfits.

That’s a bit more ‘safe’ than I’d expect from the show… And then later on Lala gets naked at the aquarium and while these scenes are also pretty sexy–Lala at her most free and uninhibited is always ~best~ Lala, but these scenes are unfortunately devoid of any nipples–not the end of the world, but kinda disappointing all the same…

Nothin’ like a naked swim.

Sorry to hear that? I know you’re being sarcastic, but thanks.

And how about the Haruna panty shot? I never thought I’d see the day where you’d ask me about a panty shot…

Just get on with it! It’s pretty damn good, I always love a panty shot–and ‘To Love-Ru’ is kind of (in)famous for its “Rito falling over and ending up in between a girl’s legs”-shots and while this one is a bit lacking in angles it at least has decent detail (though nothing compared to ‘To Love-Ru Darkness levels of detail).

Get used to this POV because you’ll be seeing a lot more of it to come!

The Conclusion:

Final thoughts and score for ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 3? Episode 3 is where ‘To Love-Ru’ truly comes into its own and shows many of the things that become hallmarks of the series (at least as far as this first series is concerned). Not only does it contain a decent amount of character development but it’s also fun, silly, sexy and at times laugh-out-loud funny. My score for the episode is 95 out of 100, whereas my score for the fan service is 75 out of 100.

I didn’t have a good place for this gif in the review itself so at the end works!

Previous ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode Reviews:

Making A Splash – Episode 1 Review
Sloppy Seconds – Episode 2 Review


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

10 Reasons Why ‘A Centaur’s Life’ is the Best Slice of Life Anime (And Why Those Same 10 Things Make It So Polarising)

10 Reasons Why ‘A Centaur’s Life’ is the Best Slice of Life Anime (And Why Those Same 10 Things Make It So Polarising)

I recently finished a 2017 anime series called ‘A Centaur’s Life’ and I was blown away by two things, firstly by how amazing it was–and secondly, how lowly regarded it was (at least if the MAL rank and people’s general indifference was anything to go by). So rather than make a simple review I thought I’d unpack what issues are among the most polarising but highlight them as 10 of the reasons that I think ‘A Centaur’s Life’ is the Best Slice of Life Anime!

 

1. It’s a monster girl anime (except it’s not–and that apparently makes them less interesting?)
On the surface ‘A Centaur’s Life’ shares some similar themes with Monster Girl Anime (few as there are) but it’s not really about ogling monster girls–and they’re not really monster girls anyway. Everybody in this ‘world’ is a product of divergent evolution where six legged mammalians became the dominant species and four-legged (a.k.a what we consider human) became extinct. Yes there are people in this world who are centaur’s, and one’s with angel wings and cat ears–but they’re ostensibly just different races rather than different species. Also, there’s men too who belong to these races, so you know, not just monster girls!

Their halo’s are made of hair, also a federal crime to cut them off, not even joking.

2. The anime intersperses it’s SoL shenanigans with intermittent world-building (Rather than just having an info-dump prologue that explains all the rules of this ‘alternate universe’–which apparently some people would prefer?)
We’re never given the full scope of what this world is like beyond the first episode explanation of how the races of this world evolved. We’re given glimpses into aspects of the world–such as people being imprisoned for treating a person of a different race negatively. Likewise we’re never even sure of the political structure of other countries aside from a news report talking about how America has a newly elected “Democratic Communist”. This gradual unfolding of the world is one of the joys of the series as every small, but substantial piece of information feels like its hard-earned and all the more rewarding because of it.

Don’t mount centaurs, ‘kay? It’s illegal!

3. The girls in the anime talk about sexuality and body confidence issues (But in a really frank and honest way that puts off fans of ‘traditional’ SoL shows)
In Episode 4, Hime (our titular Centaur) gets a love-letter from a boy but rather than accept the letter she runs away embarrassed. When endlessly quizzed about her uncharacteristic retreat by her friends she bashfully replies that she’s been paranoid that her vagina might look gross. The cause of her hang-ups are from a kindergarten field trip to a dairy farm where one of her classmates tactlessly presumed her vagina would look like a cow’s. Nozomi suggests that they all take a look at each other’s to reassure Hime that there’s nothing for her to be self-conscious about. While the scene is played mostly for laughs it was still a refreshingly honest approach to an issue many people (regardless of gender or genitals) suffer from.

Poor Hime…

4. Episode 9 is about the Third Reich and WW2-era concentration camps (some might call that tonal whiplash, but if you’re paying attention it’s exactly on message)
Things take a turn for the dark and serious half way through Episode 9 as we’re afforded a flashback to an alternate history WW2 where sadly things aren’t too dissimilar to our own history. A boy watches on helplessly as centaur soldiers execute his family in the street, he’s then forced aboard a train with other civilians and taken to a forced labour camp where he and his ilk are starved, beaten and worked to an inch of their life. It’s a devastatingly effective series of scenes that actually has a surprisingly uplifting ending that I won’t spoil but is par for the course for this series’ messages about tolerance and living with people from vastly different cultural backgrounds and exceedingly different physical attributes. If you’re not expecting it, it might feel like a truck to the face but sometimes something unexpected does not necessarily equal an inconsistent tone.

Nobody expects Nazi centaurs!

5. The girls talk about ~typical SoL girl struggles~ like weight loss, studying and boys (Also racism, religion, reproduction, art, politics–things girls in these types of shows apparently shouldn’t talk about!)
The expression “never talk about religion or politics” is fine enough for common every-day exchanges with acquaintances or work colleagues–but why shouldn’t girls in these types of shows have opinions on more lofty subject matter than the ones usually afforded SoL characters. In one episode, Sassasul (an Antarctican “snake-person”) explains that her race doesn’t have time for religion as they are a “logic-based society” to which the three girls comment they aren’t that dissimilar then.

#religion #sorrynotsorry

6. The girls are cute and innocent and wholesome (but it also has nudity–which is apparently unforgivable!)
Only 3 of the episodes contain nudity, and 2 of these episodes contain non-sexualised context appropriate nudity. But as always when “children” are involved there’s always a moral panic despite the scene in question from Episode 3 being as innocent as two sister’s bathing. And what’s consistent about the majority of these types of scenes in this show (along with a similar pool changing scene in Episode 7) is that the scenes are less about simple exploitation and more about examining the difficulties living with different body shapes–especially centaur bodies–are for these girls.

Apparently this was too ~offensive~ for some people.

7. The parental figures are expectantly peripheral to the show (except they exist as ‘Real’ characters with busy lives and worrying about the future and with interests of their own)
While the collective screen-time for the various parents on this show would probably amount to less than 10 minutes throughout the entire series–their appearances are meaningful and interesting. For example Hime’s mother is scene talking to another parent about investing in the stock market for financial security. Meanwhile a whole essay could be written on the complex relationship between Manami and her father who spends the majority of his spare time painting; for pleasure not for profit which remains a surprising issue of contention between the father and daughter.

I agree with art dad here.

8. It has episodes with a decent amount of fan service (And then it has episodes with none–almost like a show doesn’t have to be defined by a single attribute!)
On the other side of the coin from people who were “offended” by the inclusion of any kind of nudity or fan-service, are the people who only watched it for the fan service. Perhaps out of virtue of it being a monster girl anime (which it isn’t) they thought it would supply the goods, and while it does–it does so sparingly that some might call it unreliable. I’d call it realistic.

Boy mermaids are topless just like girl mermaids.

9. The show has such a wide breadth of topics it wants to cover and characters it wants to visit (And 12 episodes just isn’t enough time to do it all!)
A genuine complaint and one I share (to an extent) is that there’s a lot going on in this series and that a lot of characters don’t get nearly enough screen-time. The mermaid race for example has one of the most interesting societies in the series, with their streets and buildings (including schools) permanently flooded to allow ease of travel. From an aesthetic standpoint alone these towns are intriguing–and then there’s the more religious aspect of their society and the revelation that ‘Antarcticans’ may be trying to interfere with their religious practices for ~unknown reasons~. We get what amounts to a single episode with this part of the world and it’s just not enough! But at the same time that’s hardly the fault of the show if it’s adapting a manga that’s unfurling its world and characters at the same slow pace.

The mermaid towns are absolutely stunningly beautiful (in more ways than one, see previous gif)

10. The show is a lot of different ‘Genres’ of anime in one (Go in expecting just one ‘Genre’ and you’re bound to be disappointed)
Smarter bloggers than I have written on the seemingly pointlessness of using genres to define a show but I don’t think any show has ever suffered such a disservice due to the expectations of ‘genre’ that what people had going into this particular show. Too ‘real’ for CGDCT series, too ‘controversial’ for a SoL series, too much nudity for a ‘wholesome’ experience, too ‘wholesome’ for an ecchi. Too smart for a dumb comedy, too dumb for smart dramedy, too dramatic when it’s unexpected, too dull to be a drama. It’s messy… it’s LIFE… it’s ‘A Centaur’s Life’.

And if my words can’t convince you to watch this show then maybe Sue-chan and the Chi-chan’s can by just being their adorable selves!

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Sloppy Seconds – ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 2 Review

Sloppy Seconds – An Anime QandA Review for ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 2

Ep2banner

The Episode Review

What’s the show? To Love-Ru, Episode 2.

!?

And how’s this episode? Remember how in the previous episode review I made the comment that after my very first watch I was “intrigued but not blown away” by the show?

Let’s pretend I remember anything you say, so why do you bring that up? Well I think in hindsight Episode 2 may have been the true source of the problem.

Who could say no to this face?!

Oh? I don’t know if this is just ~modern day~ me being influenced by ~modern day~ harem/ecchi anime standards but ‘To Love-Ru’ spends a long time (at least in this episode) elaborating on concepts which are pretty standard. Rito is suddenly engaged to Lala, an alien princess, but he doesn’t want to be because he’s in love with his classmate Haruna. But he can’t break up his engagement because it will upset Lala and in turn her father, who would probably destroy Earth in revenge for this slight against their name. Seems to me by Episode 2 most harem anime would have covered these ‘basic’ plot points and be already on to introducing girl 3 and 4 to the harem.

It’s a very good excuse for Lala to be naked a lot.

So what you’re saying is… I’m saying this episode is slow to get to the ‘status quo’–i.e. The harem shenanigans and sci-fi action silliness which is going to maintain the series going forward. That’s not to say I’m not glad (in hindsight) the show takes its time to get a look into Lala’s personal feelings on this engagement and why she’s so gung-ho and ‘all-in’ on such a “bland” human like Rito. The problem is that the road getting Rito to this point feels like padding to fill up 20ish minutes–not bad padding per-se, just somewhat unnecessary.

I love how matter-of-fact and accepting Mikan is of this sudden change.

Wow, this kind of feels almost like a semi-negative review for a show you’ve called your “favourite of all time”? As far as the series as a whole goes, Episode 2 is probably among the Top 5 Weakest Episodes and even the best shows out there have less than stellar experiences, it’s just a shame that ‘To Love-Ru’ has an episode like this at such a make-or-break time. And bear in mind when I say ‘Weakest’ this episode is still going to score an 82/100 this is by no means a disaster. But for viewers who aren’t as enamoured as I am with this series going from a 93 for episode 1 to an 82 for episode 2 could very well be the difference between continuing a show and dropping a show.

I ~almost~ feel sorry for Rito.

Why do I have a feeling you’re about to regale me with a story of your first viewing again? Not me, specifically but rather the irlwaifu–we watched these first two episodes and after the second she shrugged and said “I don’t think this show is for me”. I was saddened but not undeterred–I took a month break from the show before returning to watch Episode 3. I won’t get into too many spoilers but Episode 3 was such a fantastically fun experience that over the course of a week or so I goaded her into resuming the show and it was if the previous episode was just a speed-bump in the journey rather than the brick wall it could have potentially been. ‘To Love-Ru’ is now one of her favourite shows too and it almost never happened because of Episode 2.

Ouch! Sister burn!

I mean, that’s certainly a ringing endorsement of the ‘3 Episode Rule’ if nothing else. Also I can’t help but be bothered that you’re getting ahead of yourself again–you’re supposed to be reviewing this episode not the next one! Hey, this is the first time I’ve reviewed a show after it’s out–I’m used to seasonal episodic reviews or full season reviews–it’s hard to not talk about the ‘whole’ when just reviewing a ‘piece’.

Things just got (even more) messy for Rito!

The Fanservice Review

Right and so how does the fan-service fare in this episode, does it also take a quality hit? More accurately a quantity hit, there’s very little, what there is is mostly flashbacks to the previous episode–though we do get our first (and second) scenes of Rito waking up next to a naked Lala–which is just about a dream come true (for me at least!).

Rise and shine!

Oh, so is this going to be a shorter “fan service review” section? Unfortunately, yes. The scenes with Lala waking up beside Rito are beautifully framed, then there’s a bit of teleportation shenanigans when Rito has to escape an angry mob of his peers who learn about his engagement to Lala. She uses one of her gadgets to have them “warp” away, but of course her device doesn’t teleport clothes so they end up naked and in the girl’s changing room in front of Haruna!

I mean of course, clothes are hard to teleport!

Classic. Anything else? We get a brief shower scene that kind of goes nowhere and also there’s a clothed ‘jiggle’ compilation that’s pretty nice but aside from that things remain pretty tame comparatively throughout.

Boing boing boing.

You must be so disappointed. Devastated.

The Conclusion

Final thoughts and score for ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 2? This second episode, while more flawed than the first (and most to come) does still warrant its existence, not just because of the aforementioned scenes which help establish Lala’s ‘instant’ connection to Rito but some genuinely funny comedic moments between Mikan (Rito’s little sister) and Zastin (the commander of Lala’s royal guard). Episode 2 works as a part of a committed binge watch, it somewhat falls apart though as viewed as an episode by itself. My score for the episode is 82 out of 100, my score for the fan service is 70 out of 100.

*slam*

Previous ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode Reviews:

Making A Splash – Episode 1 Review


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Irina and Matt Review ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 1

Irina and I review ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 1, because forcing your friends to watch your favourite shows is the best!

toloveruirina1

Hello everyone and welcome to a collaborative review series I’m imaginatively calling ‘Irina and Matt Review To Love-Ru’! And as the name suggests I’ll be joined throughout these reviews by Irina from I Drink And Watch Anime—say hello, Irina! Hello Irina! …I’m sorry, please don’t lock me in the closet again. I’ll do better…

Before we get into the review proper what were your thoughts when I brought up the idea about collaborating on an older series? (for those of you unaware Irina and I almost exclusively collaborate on currently airing seasonal anime and usually female driven sports anime). We have a very specific niche. I don’t think anyone else shares it… I like older anime but I think what I liked best was that you invited me to share my thoughts on an ecchi harem show. A lot of bloggers like the genres (I’m very surprised you’re not part of that new Ecchi Hunter blog to be honest) but I didn’t think I would ever get in on the action! For some reason I never get asked about my thoughts on naked girls. I need to rebrand. I’ll make sure to keep you ~abreast~ of ecchi in the future! (See what I did there?!)

No, but my pants are all of a sudden.

And what preconceptions or familiarity did you have with the To Love-Ru franchise? (Wow this is beginning to sound like a job interview…) It is… and none. I hadn’t heard of it before you told me about it, Matt. And since you said it was your favourite series I figure it’s lighthearted, funny a bit lewd and there’s no abusing the girls. Do those count as preconceptions?

Sounds about right! So with that out of the way it’s onto the review itself! These reviews won’t be recapping the events of the episode—for that content you can check out my solo reviews—the first of which is here. Were you surprised how “sci-fi” the prologue was? Very much, it snapped me at attention in fact. I was quite happy to see that. Is it just me though or did the opening tag look more “classic” than the rest of the episode? Like as soon as I saw it I thought, oh this is an OLD show but later on I was like nah, it’s just an oldish show… Am I making any sense? I never considered that (as I don’t have much experience with a lot of old anime–especially action sci-fi based ones) but now that you point it out the art style in the opening could very well have been a nod to older shows.

It’s a classic style.

As a fan of OP’s as I am too, what did you think of this one? I’m so sorry Matt, I don’t remember it. No please, the closet is dark and scary… I think I just got swept up by the episode and it got pushed out of my mind. I do remember the ED – it was cute. I pay better attention next time. Personally it’s one of my favourite of all time. Not only the song (“Forever We Can Make It” by Thyme) but the visuals—while simple I find very sexy.

How could you forget this?!

The first half of the episode introduces to our protagonist Rito and the fact that he’s extremely shy around girls—not especially unique for a harem protagonist but it also means he doesn’t spend his time ogling them. What did you think of Rito? This may sound bad but I mean it in a good way. As I was watching the first half I thought well this is an anime. For me, it embodied all the stereotypes I think people associate with generic anime. Like it’s exactly what you think of when you think anime. But I really liked that about it. It was comforting and fun. Rito is that nice but slightly awkward kid, who’s just enough of a loser to be relatable but still cool enough to cheer for. A very good audience surrogate and I’ll be happy to watch him. He was a bit on the pleasantly bland side for the first episode but that can be said about most shows.

You here that Rito? Even Irina thinks you’re bland!

Also established early on is his infatuation with Haruna—an infatuation started after a middle school incident wrongly painted him as destroying a school garden—and Haruna being the only one believing his innocence. What did u think of Haruna as a character and did you buy into this ‘connection’ of theirs? I actually like the connection. I make fun of anime characters for falling in love over the silliest things but honestly, that happens all the time. Heck, sometimes we fall in love over nothing at all. It’s believable to me. As for Haruna herself, I kept trying to figure out why she was giving me major deja vu all episode. I thought maybe I had seen her on promotional material but she looked so much more familiar than anyone else. It was only towards the end of the episode that I realized that she reminds me of Yukino from Kare Kano. Long story short, I got distracted. I like her, but I need to see where the character goes!

She can talk to me any day…

And then of course there’s the elephant in the room—or rather the pink haired alien in the bath tub. Lala; who is the embodiment of pure joy and life, makes her introduction. What are your first impressions of her? She’s the one that really made the show feel like Tenchi Muyo for me. That’s a good thing! I like her transformation but it seems painful for her.

I think my opinions of Lala are pretty clear given I just referred to her as “the embodiment of pure joy and life” and not to spoil too much but she only gets better from episode 3 onwards. And then we get a surprisingly good-looking action scene as Lala summons one of her “inventions” to combat her pursuers (who are actually just employees of the royal palace wanting her to go home—as she’s just a teenage runaway). Sometimes 3D can look jarring against 2D, especially with a series of this age but I thought her octopus vacuum looked perfect. What did you think of this whole segment of the episode? Agreed, it was integrated well and fun to watch. It is impressively fluid for an older show. Mind you this thing may have had a BUDGET. Seems the manga did really well so the studio may have secured decent funding. If so they made good use of it, if not, then those are truly impressive visuals.

Who doesn’t have access to a giant robotic vacuum cleaner octopus?

And then finally the end of the episode which has Haruna confronting Rito only for him to decide this is the moment to confess his “true feelings” for her. Which—of course—backfired horribly as Lala appears and assumes he’s talking to her! Oh no a love triangle through misunderstanding! How bizarre! Joking aside, the first episode was fun. Taken separately a lot of the elements and characters are pretty stereotypical but they are put together well and somehow it’s just a bit left of expectations. You know, just unusual enough to keep you interested while being comfortably familiar. The only thing I would have liked is for Lala to be just a little less helpless. But you really can’t tell much from just the first episode. It’s a strong start. I would have watched more if I didn’t want to avoid confusing the episodes before we review them.

My thoughts on the episode as a whole can be found in the link previously mentioned, but what about you Irina, what were your thoughts on this as a first episode? Anything else you wanted to add? I should really read ahead when we do these things… I already put down my thoughts. As for “add”, how about you share with us a piece of your To Love-Ru merch?

Sure, that oughta spice up these reviews! Probably one of my favourite things I picked up on my most recent trip to Japan was this Lala ⅙ scale bishoujo figure made by Alter. Obviously her “normal” outfit, as seen after her transformation scene is more striking but I just found this figure so sexy that I had to have it. The detail on it is so good, even something as inconsequential as the tread on her sneakers has such fine details, I love it!

The lighting isn’t the best in my office, sadly.

Also – I disagree with your review about the breast physics. Some scenes are great but others really could use some more jiggle. Just saying. Just wait ‘til we get to ‘To Love-Ru Darkness’ the amount of jiggles will give you whiplash!

Irina’s face if she ever gets to watching ‘To Love Ru-Darkness’.

And that’s the first episode done! From here on out we’ll be releasing these collaborative reviews covering 3 episodes at a time every month. However, you’ll still be getting my single episode QandA reviews every week! Thanks for reading!


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Making A Splash – ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 1 Review

An Introduction and Review Schedule for the ‘To Love-Ru’ Anime QandA Special Series of Reviews

Ep1banner

The Episode Review

What’s the show? To Love-Ru Episode 1.

Episode 1 Title Card. Perhaps a Nicolas Roeg reference?

So tell me about this show you’ve decided to commit 2 years of your life reviewing every single episode (because that’s how long its going to take)? Wow, straight in their with the big questions, huh?

I mean nows a good a time as any, is it not? Sure. I mean, I love everything about this show and if you care to follow me over the next two years you’ll find out exactly why. What follows is an absolutely biased look at a series I’ve deified in my mind for about a year now so don’t go expecting nuanced critique–but likewise expect a lot of references to things that have yet to happen in the series. In other words, this is pretty much for fans of the series only. Or those who don’t mind spoilers for future episodes.

It’ll be a while before we meet him.

But it’s an ecchi series, how many spoilers can it contain anyway?! I thought this too, until I sat down to watch Episode 1 again for the first time in… maybe like 9 months? Either way, To Love-Ru’s first episode is an impressive piece of art that’s almost hard to quantify and even harder to compare against the rest of the series that is to come.

And why’s that? Because Episode 1 is emblematic of everything that made this series inherently bingeable in the first place, it’s fast paced and frenetic and fun and… not really anything like the other subsequent 3 seasons of To Love-Ru that come after.

Best OP visuals ever.

 

Okay, I think you’re getting ahead of yourself. Let’s just focus on this episode and this season, yeah? Fair point. So the series starts with Lala, in space, in her spaceship being pursued by a convoy of “attackers” insistent on reclaiming her. And already a more action heavy tone is being set to a series which will ostensibly become an Earth bound, slice of life centric ecchi.

We get jiggle physics 30 seconds into the show. Good stuff!

What did I say about reviewing this episode, not what’s to come?! Sorry. I’ll try and restrain myself on that part.

Sure sure, so what happens next? Well to cut a long story short, Lala’s spaceship crashes into the school of our male protagonist Rito Yuuki–who himself is already preoccupied with courting the girl of his dream, classmate Haruna Sairenji. A wholesome, very good-girl who you should probably not get too attached to if you intend to follow this series unto its fruition…

Cute from any angle.

Please. Please stop with the not so subtle future spoilers, it’s doing me a harm. Okay, I promise that’s the last time! (Spoilers; it’s not the last time).

Okay so what happens next then. So after another failed attempt for Rito confessing his feelings for Haruna he returns home to lick his wounds when his peaceful bathtime is interrupted by Lala’s sudden (naked) appearance in front of him. From here things quickly progress as Lala introduces herself, her robotic costume maker ‘Peke’ and her general situation which basically amounts to the fact that she’s a teenage runaway who’s sick of being told who she should marry by her father. In short; Lala is an alien princess and genius inventor who is somewhat indifferent to the human race but she’s put her trust in a “bland” human because he was too much of a ‘good guy’ to let her get captured by the royal guards of her home planet–shenanigans ensue.

Lala changing into her trademark costume. Love it!

“Shenanigans” Why do I get the feeling I’m not going to like where this is going? I don’t know what you’re inferring, sir…

Don’t play dumb with me, I can literally scroll down the page and see you have a segment of this review called “The Fanservice Review”… While I’ll go to my grave defending how good the characterisation is in this series, I fully admit that the majority of people who clicked this review are just here for ~dem anime tiddies~ and yeah, that’s where this review will soon pivot. But I’m not quite done yet.

*squeeze*

Okay what happens next? Well Rito is walking to school the next morning, lamenting having intervened with Lala when Haruna approaches him, she wants to talk about what he was doing running across the roof with a strange girl last night (she caught a glimpse of him while walking her dog) but he interrupts taking this as the opportunity to confess his feelings for her. He pours out his feelings, all the while bowing his head only for Lala to have appeared between the two of them. Lala misunderstands and thinks he’s talking to her and reciprocates his feelings, further upping the ante by suggesting they get married!

Well that escalated quickly!

Oh boy, you weren’t wrong about shenanigans. Anything else you wanted to add before we get to the other kind of “shenanigans”? Well if you’ll allow me to get meta for just a moment I’d like to speak about how different my first viewing vs this viewing was.

So Japanese of Rito to be worrying about people wearing shoes in his room.

Go on then. The first time I watched ‘To Love-Ru’ I was intrigued but not blown away, a part of that may have been how much the first episode was trying to impart while simultaneously give gratuitous air-time to its ecchi moments. Likewise I was enamoured with Haruna (Rito’s “since middle school” crush) but kind of annoyed by Lala–despite her good points. Now, with hindsight clouding my objectivity I can say Lala steals the show, even though this Lala isn’t really indicative of the Lala who will come to consume the screen time of the coming 25 episodes. Episode 1 Lala is far more measured and calculated than true Lala which will rear her awesome insanity in its full come Episode 3. But I suppose it’s something of a blessing we weren’t inundated with Lala’s full ‘Lala’ right off the bat. Which leads us too…

The Fanservice Review

Is there any particular reason I have to be here? I have no interest in discussing fan service? Because I like to see you suffer.

 

Wow, not even pretending now? Okay fine, let’s get this over with… how is the fan service in the first episode? It’s kind of remarkable in how right they get it and how quickly too. I’ve mentioned in various places before that I think Kentaro Yabuki (the original mangaka) is probably my favourite artist in terms of how he draws the female body and while the animation and art style of the everyday scenes is ~good~ but nothing mind-blowing the same can not be said for the fan service. It’s clear that the show knew it needed to execute that particular part of the series flawlessly if it was to be well-received and while I can’t speak for its reception in Japan at the time I can say at least for me I was impressed.

 

Showin’ some tail.

Uh-huh and what about it makes it so impressive? It’s kind of hard to put into words, you kind of need to see it in motion–thankfully that’s what gifs are for!

Oh boy… There’s a weight to the animation of the breast physics, when Rito’s hands cup Lala’s breasts in the bath its like you could almost touch them yourself they seem so real. And this isn’t even the best the show gets in terms of animation quality and attention to detail.

Yep, finished. #TMI

 

And what about Lala herself? She’s beautiful, she’s cute, she’s sexy–she’s basically the perfect (anime) woman–well except for a certain black haired goddess but we’ll talk more about her when she appears later in the series. Plus her openness and liberated attitude about her body is very refreshing, it’s something that makes Lala so endearing as a character.

Lala’s appears in the bath before Rito. Good technology!

And the other girls? Well the only fan service we get from Haruna is a fantasy sequence in which Rito’s best friend Saruyama goads him into fantasising about her in a bikini–it’s a brief pan over a still image but it’s still well drawn. Haruna’s a very sweet girl who I have some minor issues with but I won’t bring them up until they are more relevant to the episode in discussion. And then of course there’s the girl that is the Internet perverts favourite for lewding (at least if the sheer number of fan-art and doujin’s are anything to go by)–Rito’s little sister Mikan.

Always imagining.

“Little sister” should I have the FBI on speed dial? Jokes aside Mikan is something of a grounding force for the series, especially as it progresses into seasons 3 and 4 (getting ahead of myself again, I know) but even in her two brief scenes her character is already solidified–in her wry sense of humour and almost parental authority over Rito. In any other series a character as “normal” as Mikan could be a detriment but here she’s a delightful antidote to the craziness. But the show doesn’t feel the need to lewd her (yet lol)

Mikan is Sassy AF.

The Conclusion

So final thoughts and score for Episode 1 of ‘To Love-Ru’? Unable as I am to really give a first impression of the series as this is the second time watching it all I can say is that this first episode was even better than I remembered. Obviously a lot of that will be because of the fondness I’ve acquired for these characters over the 80 subsequent episodes I watched after but it’s also an expertly crafted 24 minutes of comedy, romance, sci-fi action, ecchi and even a bit of intrigue. It’s already done a great job at establishing Rito’s personality (his almost comical embarrassment in the face of any kind of nudity) as well as the connection between him and Haruna. If I were to complain about anything it was the aforementioned characterisation of Lala which feels out of step with the rest of the series but I think it can be excused given the tone it was trying to strike with the whole seriousness of “being pursued by bad-guys” shtick. My score for the episode is 93 out of 100, while my score for the fan service is 80 out of 100.

Good guy Rito.

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Re:Zero -Starting Life In Another World- 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Re:Zero -Starting Life In Another World-

What’s the show? Re:Zero -Starting Life In Another World- (2016).

And what’s the show about? It’s about the best girl in the whole damn (anime) world, her name is Rem, she’s a maid and also a twin and also a demon and Subaru is an idiot for picking Emilia instead of Rem and I’ve had it with this world. End of review!

Wh-what? No, you can’t end the review this suddenly! You’ve got a job to do! Let’s start again shall we? What’s the show about? Erm, right… it’s about Subaru, an ordinary high-schooler who gets sucked into a fantasy world for ~reasons~ and contrary to the manga and games he’s used to he doesn’t have any powers in this world… well except for the power to break poor Rem’s heart! Subaru you son of a bitch! End of review!—

Oh dear, not again. Let’s try this again… What’s the show about? Huh… huh! What’s going on, I swear you’ve already asked me that question twice before?!

Have I? I don’t recall… so the protagonist is powerless in a fantasy world, that’s somewhat interesting, care to elaborate? Uhh, yeah. So Subaru does have one advantage—his wits, he’s got a cunning intellect and a way at looking at scenarios that’s almost like he’s observing things as if playing a video-game, almost detached from reality. That is until he uncovers his true power, “return by death” which basically functions as a checkpoint system. If ever he dies he returns to a previous moment in time as if nothing happened, except with all the memories—and thus all the emotional pain and trauma that came with his previous death. I appreciate that this series doesn’t gloss over the harrowing experience of death and how much it mentally affects Subaru.

That is an interesting idea, but I suppose the success of a plot device like that is how well it’s executed? Correct, and for the most part it’s smartly executed, it’s never over-used or exploited, it seldom feels cheap and each death has its own narrative purpose and emotional weight… like the emotional weight of seeing poor Rem falling in love with Subaru only to have her feelings shattered on the floor like glass! Damn you, Subaru! Damn you! End of review!—

*sigh* we got a little bit closer that time but still not close enough… one more time (hopefully) What’s the show about? *gasp* I’ve been here before, I’ve answered this question before! What the heck is going on here? Why do I keep ending up at the start of the review?!

Because you keep ending the review prematurely and I can’t allow you to do that, you’ve started this and you have to carry it through to its conclusion. No matter how much it hurts you. Ugh, fine… I’ll try and get through this review without rage-quitting about how much of an idiot Subaru is…

Good. So we’re acquainted with the protagonist. Who are the other characters? There’s Emilia of course, classic princess archetype, vaguely magical, animal sidekick, exceedingly nice—you know the drill. And of course there’s Rem and Ram twin demon maids who are adorable and badass, and Rem is totally best girl—

I’ll stop you there before you go down a rabbit-hole and we have to start this over again. So what kind of stories does this show present, is it about the protagonist trying to return home? Is it an over-arching plot-line or is it more episodic? Little bit of everything, although I don’t think Subaru’s particularly interested in returning home, I mean sure his life is constantly in danger but who could pass up the chance to interact with all these sweet waifus. The 25 episode first (and so far only) season is made up of several different intersecting story-arcs, that depending on where and when Subaru last ‘reset’ can vary wildly in outcome and tone.

And what do these story arcs contain? Well there’s political storylines to do with a royal election that are filled with intrigue and back-stabbing, there’s action-heavy set-pieces with massive battles against magical people/creatures and or both. There’s sinister cult related plot-lines with ridiculous villains and there’s even… romance plots… and, uh, nope, can’t do it! It’s too raw! WHY DIDN’T YOU PICK REM?! End of review!—

Damn it… I thought we might have had a chance of getting through more that time. Oh but it looks like we don’t have to start right from the beginning this time. That’s a small comfort. I’ll just try and word it differently this time… ahem. What’s going on? Ugh, my head hurts, what were we talking about again?

Umm, so what story arc is your favourite? Hmm, that’s a tough one, I think it’s hard to separate them because there’s so much overlap, and that’s one of the things I love about this series. Is that everything feels deeply connected not only to Subaru but to the mysterious ~evil~ force that’s controlling his fate and his power/curse.

And at the risk of triggering you, what don’t you like about the show? Oh plenty, but I’m alway hyper-critical of shows that I really respect and/or shows that are more ~intelligent~ than the standard Isekai genre or even more broadly just fantasy in general.

And those issues are? The series feels overlong, not in that I wanted it to be over quicker than it was, but in more than one occasion it felt like the events of this season could have been tightened up, you know more plot and less filler. Some of the very early “resets” feel needlessly drawn out, like Subaru gets so far only to die and it’s so frustrating to watch—which may well have been the point but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Also, I think the show takes a bit too long to get around to introducing best girl Rem but that’s just a personal choice.

Well I guess we’ve gotten this far, you seem to be ~stable~ enough to talk about the thing that’s obviously been playing on your mind enough to prematurely end this review four times already. Talk to me about Rem. Rem is precious and sweet and beautiful and also tortured and deep and damaged. She’s also a badass fighter and has a smile that gives me life. And she falls in love with Subaru and wants to run away with him and have a life together with him and her love is so true and pure and honest and of course Subaru being the idiot protagonist that he is only wants the princess, Emilia, whom he’s known for all of a minute before falling in love with her.

You really don’t like Emilia do you? Actually, surprisingly, I like her a lot. She’s got more depth than you’d expect from the ‘princess’ cliche, she’s a strong character and she’s kind and sweet and kinda cute, but~ she’s not Rem. It’s like Emilia’s a tasty slice of pizza but Rem is prime rib with all the trimmings.

And perhaps an analogy for your vegetarian readers? Umm… Rem is an eggplant parmigiana and Emilia is a celery stick with cream cheese on top.

Oh! And what about Rem’s twin-sister? Ram was it, how is the twin sister of a top tier best girl? Eh, she’s fine.

Right… Okay then. Congratulations, you made it to the end of the review and we kind of covered the main points? So final score and recommendation? Hailed by many reviewers and fans alike as the best the Isekai genre has to offer it’s not an inaccurate descriptor but that’s more in a generalist kind of way. It is an exceptional series, that’s subversive and smart in just enough ways to make it easy to overlook its flaws on the whole. Personally though I think there are shows in the genre I prefer for various reasons but still it’s hard not to be impressed by the scope of this show and the characters are mostly great, even down to the supporting cast. And for as much as I raged against Subaru picking Emilia over Rem, by the final episode I was okay with his decision because they do make a cute couple and he had been through so much at that point that he deserved his own happiness as too did Emilia. Far from zero; 90 out of 100.


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Slow Start – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Slow Start.

What’s the show? Slow Start (2018).

Slow Start? That name seems familiar… I reviewed the ~noteworthy~ 7th episode of it for my blog in the Winter 2018 season.

Oh yeah! The ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show that had an episode that upped the ante on a teacher x student relationship. Way to jump the gun and alienate anyone looking for a review that’s representative of the show as a whole and not just a single side-plot.

Okay, fine. What’s the show about then? It’s about Hana Ichinose, a shy and nervous first year high-schooler with a secret… she’s actually a year older than everyone else because she had a gap year due to an illness. It might not seem like a big deal, but to Hana it is, in fact it’s the thing she worries about most—well that and making friends and not seeming too boring and living alone and…

Okay I get it, she’s a neurotic girl! I wouldn’t say “neurotic” more skittish and worrisome, she’s constantly assessing herself and her actions in the unfounded fear that her newfound friends at her new school will judge her harshly for them, despite her percieved flaws being minor—almost non-existent to an outsider viewing them.

Right, and who are her ‘new’ friends? Well there’s the gentle and confident Eiko Tokura, who’s the most popular girl in their class. Always clinging to Eiko is the adorable Kamuri—who, despite her looks—is in fact a high-school student too, she’s obsessed with three things; food, sleep and Eiko. Lastly is Tama-chan, an energetic and easy-going girl who sometimes gets into trouble.

Uh-huh, and so being a ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show I imagine one’s mileage on this show is dependent on how much they like these characters? You’re learning… that’s kind of scary…

Well I was bound to pick something up from your incessant ravings about ‘cute girls’. Heh, well yes, what you said is accurate, there is very little plot here even by ‘CGDCT’ show standards. So unless you’re immediately enamoured with at least one of the four main characters you’re unlikely to find a lot to gravitate toward.

And I’m guessing you were “enamoured” with one or more of these characters? Pretty much all of them from the first episode, and that just snowballed as side characters of equal adorableness were introduced.

Oh? Like who? Well there’s Hana’s adult cousin Shion, the busty landlady of the apartment complex Hana is currently calling home. I love the fact that she’s so doting on Hana to the point that friendly ‘rumours’ about her and Hana “dating” arise amongst their group. Also in the apartment complex is Hannen-san, a beautiful shut-in who rivals Hana for the amount of neurosis’ she has, and a number of them a lot more relatable—at least to this reviewer.

You’ve deliberately left one to last, haven’t you? Obviously. Since you went and ~blurted~ it out at the start of the review… Enami sensei is their homeroom teacher, a snarky and apathetic young woman who the ever-flirty Eiko takes a liking to.

…More than a liking, isn’t it? Yes, it’s true, the relationship between Eiko and Enami is something I found astoundingly beautiful and nuanced and fascinating even if it falls into that massively questionable void of ‘Teacher x Student’. The thing that I think this show does so right where other relationships of this nature might do wrong is that I never get the sense that the fact that Enami is her teacher has anything to do with their attraction to one-another. This isn’t a person in a position of power and authority taking advantage of someone weaker and inexperienced. Eiko frequently flirts with older women that she finds attractive and interesting and while flirting is not consent, Eiko is never put in a position where she’s being taken advantage of—

Not even when she wakes up with her hands bound in the teacher’s apartment? Well if you’re going to word it like that of course it’s going to sound lascivious! I’m not going to go over points I explored in depth in my 1000+ word review of the episode, just suffice to say both teacher and student were surprised by the power each other had over one another and that “power” didn’t come from one’s job or the other’s flirting but the feelings that burgeoned between them in this unexpected situation.

So that all happened in episode 7 of the 12 episodes. Does their relationship progress any further after that? Not ever in such a concentrated way as that. But there are a few brief subplots that arise later. Such as in episode 11 at the Summer Festival there’s a pretty intense flirt/finger suck that had me reaching for the rewind button, just to be sure I’d seen what I’d seen. And episode 12 had a cute moment amount sharing a piece of candy that’s not nearly as salacious but italicised in a kind of sadness that suggests at how hard it must be for both of them to carry on this kind of ‘forbidden’ relationship.

Uh-huh, and aside from the whole teacher/student thing, how are same-sex relationships treated in this show? I’m glad you asked! It’s almost like I wrote this question for you! Ahem. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anime normalise lesbianism this much and it’s so damn refreshing. Yes, it’s pretty chaste, but it never seems to be much of an issue for anyone (other than very infrequently Hana), in fact one of my favourite recurring couples is Tama’s grandmothers, who are her sole guardians and are very much a couple. This isn’t just two women who raise Tama, they live together and act like partners do and no-one so much as bats an eye, nor even raises attention to it—it’s the most normal thing in the world and I love this show so much for it.

But this isn’t a yuri series, is it? Well, no, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have yuri-adjacent themes. I’m about 99% sure the mangaka is herself a female of the LGBT community and so it’s only natural and very appreciated that she’s put a lot of her own self into this series. I could be projecting but I’m pretty sure the teacher character is at least semi-autobiographical, at least that’s the way it feels.

At the start of this review you said I “jumped the gun” for talking about the teacher/student relationship because it wasn’t ‘representative’ of the show as a whole, but hear you’ve gone and talked about that very point for nearly half the review! Ah, err… well, it’s only because it is the thing about the show that warrants the most discussion. Yes, I love this show, even when it is something as seemingly low-key as shopping or swimming or cooking but that doesn’t make for a particular ~riveting~ review. Frequent readers already know I’m all about the slice of life shows so I have to talk about something to keep their interest up.

Fair enough. So was there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap up the review? Just that I think this show deserves more attention for being completely adorable and a lot deeper than some people give it credit for, yes it’s not going to change people’s opinions on the genre but likewise I think it’s worthy of more than just a passing cursory glance.

Yeah, that’ll work… Listen, convincing people to watch slice of life show’s is hard enough at the best of times.

Final score and recommendation? Sadly, I think this show will be forgotten, at least in the West. But if you have even a passing interest in this genre I think there’s a lot to this series that’s lying just beneath the surface. It makes me want to read the manga, which I can’t say I’ve ever really had the desire to do so for any slice of life/cute girl series before, which probably says something—even if I’m not sure what exactly. It might be slow to start but I never want it to finish; 92 out of 100.


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Fairy Tail – 100 Question Anime Review Special (Part 2 of 3)

A 100 Question Anime Review for Fairy Tail.

This is Part 2 of my 100 Follower Celebration, Part 1 can be found here if you missed it and Part 3 is here.



And we’re back—my god we’re only a third of the way though this thing—so what is the show actually about? 
Well it’s about the Fairy Tail guild, a group of adventurers with various magical abilities who take up various jobs and quests around the fictional world of Earth-land.

Pfft, “Earth-land”?! Shut up!

Sorry, go on. There’s various other guilds throughout the land, some are friendly toward Fairy Tail while others are downright hostile and aggressive. The early story arcs such as the ‘Lullaby arc’ which deals with the dark guild Eisenwald that has been banned by the Magic Council and the ‘Phantom Lord arc’ which deals with rival guild are great storylines for the truly massive ensemble cast this show has. These larger event arcs get to showcase the cool powers and entertaining personalities of the side characters, of whom most of my favourite characters belong to.

Well we’ll get to favourite character later. There’s others ‘arcs’ you want to talk about? Yes the ‘Oracion Seis arc’ and the ‘Tenrou Island arc’ also deal with dark guild’s, but the ‘Oracion Seis arc’ in particular brings together a bunch of friendly guilds too to help form an alliance and we get to see even more characters.

Uh-huh. But are the storylines in these arcs any good? You seem to be only talking about the characters here? “It’s the friends we’ve met along the way that help us appreciate the journey”.

Is that a quote from the show? No, but it might as well be, this show puts a massive emphasis on the power of friendship and caring and helping one another. I’m sure it’s nothing new in the world of Shonen anime but it was really heartening to have these kind of messages of warmth and positivity in a show. Even if it did get a little cheesy at times…

How do you mean? Well, I do recall on one occasion at least, somebody’s tears brining a person back from the dead. If that isn’t some top quality cheddar I don’t know what is.

*nods* Wait, you completely evaded my question with a lame inspirational quote. What about the storylines? Some of them are good! Some of them not so much, the point of that quote was trying to get across the point that it’s the characters that make Fairy Tail the kind of show that I love unreservedly even if it’s lacking in other areas.

We’re still not ready to talk about your favourite characters… Damn!

So tell me what arcs you liked, the plots of that is, not just the fact they had a lot of side characters. Sure, I mean the ‘Phantom Lord arc’ certainly upped the stakes with the destruction of their beloved guild hall by the dark guild Phantom Lord. And obviously the Edolas arc was pure fun since we got to see alternate reality/mirror universe versions of a lot of the characters and the genuinely touching moments of Mirajane and Elfman being able to reunite with their sister Lisanna (or a version of her) who had died long ago.

Feels? So many damn feels! Also, also the stuff with Happy and his parents, oh my god, I’m crying all over again. I can’t even with these feels…

*hands over a tissue box* Thank you… *loudly blows nose*

No problem… so uh, any other noteworthy arcs? Yes! Maybe my favourite, strictly from a story-telling perspective was ‘The Tower of Heaven arc’, only 8 episodes but so jam packed full of backstory and action and high stakes drama.

And worst story arcs? Oh… tough one, ‘Galuna Island arc’ was a bit lacking at times, but getting some of Gray’s backstory was super important. ‘Daphne arc’ was kinda lame filler, but it is what it is. I think the one arc where the show began to display some signs that it was tiring out or stretching things out way too long was the ‘Tenrou Island arc’ (what is it about Islands?).

What about it made it feel that way? Well up to this point the show had 3 ways of starting an episode. Either it just continues from where the last episode ended, it has a brief voiceover narrator recap of the previous plot points or it just shows the last 30 seconds to a minute from the previous episode’s ending scene maybe with some stuff cut out.

But I take it it’s different in this arc? It’s the worst. At the start of almost every episode in this arc they just play 2-5 minutes of the previous episode all over again, which might might be okay if I were watching it week-to-week but binge watching it like I did made for a frustrating experience. It’s a 27 episode arc, that could have easily been 20~ episodes had they not opted to pad it out so poorly.

But that’s more of a production problem (i.e. we need this many episodes, fill it out however you can) as opposed a problem with the plot itself. I mean the plot is fine, the main villain is kinda lame and there’s a lot of deus ex machina moments, but it’s just kind of repetitive. Lots of great character moments though, like the stuff with Gildarts and Cana is lovely. Can I talk about Gildarts and Cana yet?

No! We’ve got to pad this thing out to 100 Questions somehow! You could ask me the same questions and I could answer them again!

Heh, very funny. Yeah, I know, I’d never pad out a review.

Exactly, you’re above such cheap tactics. Indeed.

Indeed… Yes…

Ahem… So anyway, I’m looking at my notes here and I notice that Fairy Tail is actually split up into 2 seasons (with a 3rd and final on the way). All these arc’s you’ve been talking about have been from the 1st season. What about the 2nd season? Sure, let’s talk about the second season, it’s uh… kind of a mess. I mean I still love it because the character’s are as great as ever and there’s a lot of development of said characters, but the story is just kind of forgettable, which is obviously the opposite of what they were going for as it’s supposed to be some big deal the whole Tartaros trying to end the world thing.

Ah the ol’ reliable ‘end of the world’ plot. Indeed, it’s fine, it just doesn’t really have that much threat attached. I never once worried it was actually going to happen, sure I worried about the fate of some characters, but never that the world was going to end.

So what good things do you have to say about the 2nd season? Well the characters

aside from the characters, we’ll get there soon. Fine! Uh, so even though I watched the 2nd season more recently, I remember less about it. There were two things that stand out in my mind though one is Lucy having to break one of her celestial key’s, thus losing her connection to Aquarius, the celestial spirit she was closest to. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and such a good storyline.

And the second. Wendy! In Episode 243 and 244 she undergoes such growth. Not only defeating a powerful enemy by unleashing her ‘Dragon Force’ but then willing to sacrifice her own young life to stop the ‘face bombs’ from detonating. I cried, I cried a lot.

She… she didn’t die did she? Do I sense concern in your voice?

N-no! I’m just curious is all… Well no. She and Carla are saved by Doranbolt’s teleportation magic at the last second. Which ordinarily I’d say is a bit of a cop out, but Wendy was so brave that I don’t even mind.

Cool, so— Wait! I remembered another plot point, ugh, I feel so stupid that I forgot it. Though it happens in season 1, but I need to talk about it!

Okay, fair enough. Let’s hear about it then. It comes out of the arc I was complaining about earlier, the ‘Tenrou Island arc’, or rather at the end of it and in the ‘X791 arc’. See while a lot of the Fairy Tail guild was on Tenrou Island battling Grimoire Heart, seven years have passed outside the island, even though to those on the island it only felt like a couple of days! As you can imagine for the people left at the guild this is a big deal to find out that their friends and colleagues are still alive after all this time!

That’s is a pretty interesting development. It is, though I think they could have done more with it it’s still a great way of shaking things up. I think I would have preferred if say one of the main characters had stayed behind to make this plot line all the more interesting.

Right well— Can I talk about the characters now! I want to talk about how much I love them!

Alright, fine. But not here, we shall continue the discussion in part 3 of this ridiculous endeavour! Hopefully you’re all not too bored of this!


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2

Fairy Tail – 100 Question Anime Review Special (Part 1 of 3)

A 100 Question Anime Review for Fairy Tail. (Part 1 of 3)

This post is a part of Anime QandA’s 100 Follower Celebration. Part 2 can be viewed here and Part 3 is here.



Wh-wh-what does that say up there? 
Up where?

Up there, the title of this blog entry, read it to me! Fairy Tail, 100 Question Anime Review.

100 Questions?! Have you lost your damn mind?! Not at all, it’s a sort of thank you to the readers of my blog for reaching 100 followers on WordPress.com, seems apt don’t you think?

100 Questions! Problem?

Ah, yeah, a few… Such as?

Well first of all—am I getting paid overtime for this— No! You should be grateful!

F-fine… ugh, and secondly who on earth wants to read a 100 Question review? I guess we’ll find out, won’t we? Plus, calm down, it’s only a one-off, I thought it’d be a fun little celebratory gimmick!

Okay, guess I don’t have a choice, right, let’s get this show on the road then! That’s the spirit!

What’s the show? Fairy Tail.

Ooh~ I’ve heard of this show, well that is to say I’ve heard you mention it in other reviews. It’s kind of a big dealfor me especiallyit was the show that got me back into anime after having not watched any anime for about 5 years.

Wow! You went 5 whole years without watching anime? That’s kind of impossible to imagine, knowing how much of a weeb you are now. I was a different person back then, a poor and misguided fool, without as much as dakimakura on my bed or a lewd tapestry on my wall. Dark times indeed.

Uh-huh. Sounds like I may have actually gotten along with the you back then… You bite your tongue, sir!

Right, so maybe let’s start at what got you wanting to watch an anime after such a long break. Right, so first of all you’re going to have to understand something about me as a person, I like buying and collecting things.

Okay… No but really, you have no idea how into materialism I was. Like one dayon a whimI decided to buy every episode of the classic 1963-1989 Doctor Who series on DVD. And so me and the irl waifu drove around to like 10 different stores over the course of a couple of weekends trying to get the hundreds of DVD’s that comprised the collection. Not only do I get obsessive about things quickly but I go ‘all in’ when I do.

I think they call that an ‘addictive personality’ but let’s not dwell on this too long since, you know we’re trying to get to reviewing an anime here… some day… Right. So one day while surfing my favourite DVD/blu-ray website for upcoming TV show releases I noticed a series that was in its seventeenth blu-ray volume and obviously my obsessive collector impulse was intrigued! ‘Fairy Tail Volume 17’ and it’s got a very attractive anime lady on the front… *a million Google searches later* I’m at my local DVD/blu-ray store buying Volumes 1 to 5 of Fairy Tail on blu-ray, after having only briefly watched the first episode on Netflix before leaving for work one morning.

Wait. Stop. You bought it on blu-ray even though it was on Netflix? You underestimate the depth of my collection obsessiveness. If I want something in a physical copy because of ‘collection aesthetics’ I will buy it physically even if a digital alternative is cheaper/easier to obtain.

You’re an absolute mad man. Yes, I have been told as much.

Great, so are we at the point where we can actually start reviewing the show? I guess we’ve established the context around me discovering ‘anime’ again to properly ascertain my frame of mind when first watching this show.

Super. So after you’d watched a half dozen or so episodes… what was going through 2016 era Cactus Matt’s head? “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever watched in my entire life.”

So low bar then? Hey! Don’t judge, it’s not like you’ve watched Fairy Tail, so you can’t speak for it!

True, but I know this much at least… it’s not the greatest thing ever, I can speak to that fact with some certainty. Tch. Fine, you’re right. But listen, to someone who’d been so deprived (and it was an unintentional self imposed deprivation mind you) from the world of anime, something this rich and varied and action-y and comedic and emotional and just plain fun was bound to push every button.

Just say what you’ve been wanting to say for a while… Fine. Fairy Tail for me was like the second coming of Pokemon. Not in any literal sense but rather the sense of joyous abandon that accompanied following a young and headstrong protagonist as he begins exploring a wider world, with attractive companions and a cute animal sidekick, not to mention a rambunctious rival and an older tutor to guide him where need be.

You gonna keep going with that metaphor or should I just cut you off before you make a total fool of yourself? Alright fine, it’s not the perfect comparison, sure there’s some similarities but Fairy Tail definitely has the edge. It’s well-written and not aimed at small children, also in there’s a whole ‘Guild’ full of side characters to help populate the universe. And well, a lot of them are really sexy anime girls and I’ll be in my bunk

Oi! What the hell are you doing? There’s sexy anime girls so I’m just having some private time… to myself…

Ugh, you’re the worst. Hey! I’m just trying to give you an accurate representation of my experience while watching Fairy Tail back then!

“Back then”? It was only two years ago! Besides, this review doesn’t need to chronicle every instance of you ‘jerking it’ to anime girls… Don’t be so crude, it was a very romantic experience…

*sigh* So we’ve gotten this far in the review and all we’ve talked about is how sexy the girls are, I wish I was even a little surprised. This so called ‘100 Follower’ celebration sure took a turn for the worse and quickly too. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this pretty much expected it. But all right fine, let’s get serious, let’s talk about the show properly!

Only 28 questions in and we’re finally talking about the show itself. Wow, just wow. Shut up. So our protagonist is Natsu Dragneel he has the power of fire! Also the power to be cocky little twat!

So you don’t like him? Oh, he’s fine. He’s exactly what I expected from a Shonen protagonist, shouting catchphrases and being noisy and angry and dumb!

So who else is in the show? There’s Happy, Natsu’s flying blue cat, who is absolutely adorable and a loyal companion! Then there’s Lucy Heartfilia, the busty summoner and aspiring writer and let’s not forget Erza Scarlett the headstrong and dependable warrior and Ice wizard Gray Fullbuster who’s frequently butting heads with Natsu! And… hmm…

And what? What’s up? I don’t know, it just kind of feels weird talking about Fairy Tail with a critical eye… I mean any show can be reviewed critically it’s just it’s hard to do it about this show for some reason.

You speak down to it often in your reviews despite the fact you clearly have a reverence for it. If I sometimes sound cynical about the show it’s only because I expect a lot from this franchise because it was so influential in bringing me back into the anime world and so whenever it deviated from its initial quality and enthusiasm it kind of felt ~personal~. Let’s just say I’ve got some complex feelings about this show!

Right, I think we need to take a break and continue this in another part. 100 Questions or not, no one’s going to want to read something like this that’s over 4000 words so this needs to be split up. Click on the links to continue reading Part 2 and Part 3 of the Fairy Tail 100 Question Anime Review!


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2