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

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

yu-no2

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

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

Steins;Gate reference!

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

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

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

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

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

As many times as it takes!

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

What a terrible world…

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

Nerd!

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

Blast From The Past – Episode 1 Review


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

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

girlyairforce

What’s the show? Girly Air Force.

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

A fateful first meeting.

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

Gripen loves her food!

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

Minghua in full wife mode.

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

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

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

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

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

Gripen is adorable.

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Broken Promises – ‘The Promised Neverland’ First Season Review

Broken Promises – A Full Season Review for ‘The Promised Neverland’

PromisedFull

What’s the show? The Promised Neverland.

And what’s it about? A group of orphans live in a massive orphanage in the middle of a forest and are looked after by a woman known as “mama”, while there’s the occasional mandatory intelligence test the majority of their days are spent having fun and playing together. Every few months one child leaves the house under the pretence of adoption and is never seen from or heard again. (Spoilers for episode 1 incoming) One particular “adoption” takes place with a young girl Conny leaving the house, accidentally she leaves one of her favourite toys so Emma and Norman–two of our protagonists hurry to bring it to her before she leaves. There they are confronted by a terrifying truth, as they witness the dead body of Conny in a wagon and a monster-like creature seemingly responsible. They hurry back to the orphanage, shaken by what they have seen but resolved to break out and take all the kids with them.

Emma’s seen some shit.

Sounds interesting. Sure, it’s an interesting concept one that has a lot of potential but I feel like its potential that’s squandered by leaps in logic and plotting, tonal issues and an overall inconsistent execution.

So that’s the one-sentence spoiler-free version, I take it you’re going to elaborate and get into spoiler territory from here on out? Yes. Firstly, I was willing to suspend my disbelief that our main characters were capable of such elaborate planning— their geniuses after all so that much I could reconcile. But by episode 12 it’s revealed that some of the younger kids, including Phil who is 4 years old were not only participating in an elaborate escape plan, managing to keep it secret and be trusted with keeping it a secret with little to no evidence that their beloved “mama” was the evil manipulator they sold her as. Credit to the final episode, they surrounded this revelation with plenty of other reveals that it was easy to gloss over it on a single viewing but thinking about it after the fact shows just how many holes this plot point has.

Genius.

But that’s just one part of one episode (albeit a pivotal one) what about the “inconsistent execution” you spoke of? I’d argue that there was enough material for ~maybe~ 6 episodes tops. Whereas it’s stretched out to 12 here, maybe manga readers will argue that everything we saw was necessary for things later on but every episode felt it was 5 minutes of interesting stuff at the start and 5 minutes of interesting stuff at the end with 10 minutes of padding between.

Gives new meaning to ‘watching the clock’.

And the “tonal issues”? The show made an impact with its “powerful” first episode but ever since felt like it was tip-toeing around returning to the dark promise it first offered. And a part of that comes from the lack of scenes exploring the world outside the orphanage. Yes that’s certainly to come now that the kids have escaped but that’s too little, too late for me as I won’t be watching the second season. They had ample opportunity to give more of a glimpse of the outside world but instead wasted literal hours of run time on long winded, unimportant scenes inside the orphanage.

Our protagonists: Ray, Emma and Norman.

Well that’s certainly a lot of complaints. What did you actually ~enjoy~ about the series? Visually the series is attention grabbing, and all the voice actors are expectedly high quality—especially Emma who wrings a lot of emotion out of her scenes. And as I said at the top of the review, the idea is compelling I just think it’s not well executed.

Mama’s story was pretty good, but again all left to episode 12.

Right then, so final review and recommendation for ‘The Promised Neverland’? I’m probably the last person you should be looking for a recommendation from because the majority of people really loved this series from beginning to end—and chances are you will too. For me though there were too many things I had issue with to say I “enjoyed” the experience. Promises undelivered: 65 out of 100.

Happier times.

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

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

yu-no1

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

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

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

Fancy remote control?

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

Neumann!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oof.

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

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

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

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

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

Foreboding words of what’s to come.

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Traitor Trouble – ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 4 Review

Traitor Trouble – An Anime QandA Review for ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 4

PromisedNeverland4

What’s the show? The Promised Neverland, Episode 4.

How’s this episode? I feel like this show is very manipulative in how it constructs its narrative episode-to-episode. Like for the majority of this episode I was just sitting, kinda bored as the sounds and images washed over me and I failed to care about much of anything. Then the show goes and pulls the rug out from under me by delivering an ~actually~ interesting reveal in its final minutes that had me sitting up and paying attention. (And I feel like it’s done that in previous episodes too…)

*gulp*

Spoilers? Well obviously. Turns out that in their search for a “traitor” in their midst, it was neither of the two characters the show ~wanted~ us to expect (them being Don and Gilda) but Ray, one of our original three! I didn’t see it coming and yet, thinking about it logically it totally makes sense–so kudos to the show for delivering something compelling. Too bad it was preceded by mostly unnecessary treading of water that comprises the majority of this anime.

~triggered~

You really have it in for this show, don’t you? Seems like you want the abridged version rather than the full story. I resent that comment. I’m just telling it like it is, and what I find interesting is everything other than this show wants to show us. I think this show is terribly paced and doesn’t deliver nearly enough content per episode to justify it. And maybe this pace would work if I could buy this story as belonging to the ‘horror’ genre, but just having a bunch of intimidating adults make grotesque close-up faces to our protagonists in intimidating them doesn’t really cut it for me. Nor does agonisingly boring first-person shots of someone slowly walking up some stairs and opening a door followed by ~zero~ pay-off. But I get it, ‘horror’ as a genre, is just as much subjective as ‘comedy’ is–you can’t quantify or gauge a person’s reaction to perceived ‘horror’ and articulate its effectiveness to the next person. Either it scares you or it doesn’t. And this doesn’t–quite frankly it bores me and if it weren’t for the teases of the outside world provided in brief moments in previous episode I would be wholly uninterested in continuing with this story.

I know this is supposed to come off as endearing but it felt quite patronising.

But you will continue? No? I will. I like Emma (even though I don’t like the way the show seems to think she’s weak for having empathy) and I’m interested in expanding the core cast away from Emma, Norman and Ray with beefier parts for Gilda and Don–assuming they aren’t again sidelined in future episodes.

Gilda best girl.

Previous ‘The Promised Neverland’ Reviews:

Growing Up Is Hard – Episode 1 Review
The Promise Of What’s Out There – Episode 2 Review
Curiosity Killed The Suspense – Episode 3 Review


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Curiosity Killed The Suspense – ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 3 Review

Curiosity Killed The Suspense – An Anime QandA Review for ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 3

promisedneverland3

What’s the show? The Promised Neverland, Episode 3.

So how’s this episode? This is going to be a shorter review because I’ve not got much to say and I’ve got better things to do than talk about this show–like sleep.

Ouch, roasted! I’m just relaying my thoughts the same way other people do–albeit with a lot more ~sass~ because apparently I’m like that.

Apparently. So what, this episode was no good? I feel like I wasted 20 minutes of my life watching this.

Not holding my breath any longer! Rant incoming!

So there was nothing redeemable about it? I said I “wasted 20 minutes” not 25, so clearly 5 minutes were worthwhile.

Okay, so while we’re on the negative what was so bad about the 20 minutes that were “wasted”. For large swathes of this episode I was incontestably bored. I don’t care about what’s motivating the new ‘adult’ character Miss Krone (haha subtle…), I don’t care about where Emma and the others think the tracking chip is located and I absolutely don’t care about training up the other kids to escape by playing tag. This felt like an episode that was doing absolutely everything other than providing a compelling narrative experience by spinning its wheels at the starting gate. We should be heading into the Abyss by now not still having interminably endless dialogue scenes where children theorise and conjecture in dimly lit rooms–THIS IS NOT ENTERTAINING.

Derp, don’t care.

I’ll note that you capitalised “Abyss” in that last sentence and presume it wasn’t a typo. That’s me just reminding myself (and my readers I guess) that ‘Made In Abyss’ exists and is a similar sort of story but is like seventy-three times better than this series. But that’s a subject for another day…

Okay, sure.

Right. So I take it you have a ~fix~ for this series. You seem awfully insistent that the show is at fault rather than the concept behind it. The narrative is interesting, the setting is interesting, the characters are interesting. The execution is clumsy and dull and uninteresting. Despite me knowing absolutely zero about this series I am 100% sure these kids (not sure how many but probably the main three at least) will escape. My increasing worry is that this won’t happen ‘til Episode 12 and having a pay-off that I already predicted in Episode 1 is irritating. Here, I’ll fix the show–instead of having Episode 1 (and subsequent episodes) take place entirely at the Orphanage have the series set after the kids escaped already. Then throughout each episode cut between the drama of their escape mixed with the drama of them planning their escape in flashbacks. Tie in important revelations to relevant things that come out of their time outside. It’s double the drama without too much of a hit to the narrative substance! Doesn’t that sound more interesting? But instead we’re treated to this ultra-extended prologue to an escape which is neither tense nor satisfying.

Imagine how much more effective this scene would have been if we’d spent, oh I don’t know, let’s say 3 episodes with other kids from the orphanage in the “outside” world during their escape and then we learn that one of them is a traitor? But that’d be a better show, so nevermind…

I thought you said this was going to be a “short” review… I’ll do what I can, dammit!

So not a fan then? Overall thoughts? I’ll reiterate a point I made in a previous review and double down on it–this show is curious but not compelling. I’m curious about what will happen after the kids escape, I’m curious about the world outside the orphanage but being constrained inside these walls is not the least bit compelling. I’ll keep watching in the hope of the ‘compelling’ outweighing the ‘curiosity’.

More of this insanity, please.

Previous ‘The Promised Neverland’ Reviews:

Growing Up Is Hard – Episode 1 Review
The Promise Of What’s Out There – Episode 2 Review


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The Promise Of What’s Out There – ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 2 Review

The Promise Of What’s Out There – An Anime QandA Review for ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 2

promisedneverland2

What’s the show? The Promised Neverland, Episode 2.

So how’s this episode? I don’t know, I’ve kind of got the same complaints I had last week about the show. It’s not really doing anything particularly interesting or original or compelling and so as it is I’m just playing a waiting game until it does do something worthwhile.

That’s an odd way to watch a show, shouldn’t you just drop it if it doesn’t interest you? I could but I still want to see where this story goes, just because it’s not ~actively~ doing anything of note doesn’t mean the premise isn’t at the very least intriguing. Besides I’ve watched far worse shows for less interesting reasons so I really don’t see me dropping this.

You smile, you lose.

Right. So we have to listen to you moan about the show not being “interesting” for 10 more reviews instead? Not necessarily, the show might find itself in ‘Watched But Not Reviewed’ territory by next week unless I find something worth talking about.

Okay, so do you at least want to feign interest by recapping the events of the episode? Emma and Norman go to investigate the forest for a way out and they find a massive concrete wall that’s as tall as it is thick. Afterward they come to the realisation that they all have “tracking chips” in them and that ‘Mom’ can see where they are whenever she wants to which complicates their plans slightly. They decide that they’ll use tablecloths as ropes to scale the wall. Realising they’ll need more help they agree to enlist the help of Ray only for Ray to have already been following them out to the wall. They fill him on their dire situation and he agrees to help but he doesn’t think it’s logistically feasible to bring all 37 kids with them. Emma refuses to participate unless everyone comes and Norman backs her up even in the face of the logical realisation that outside the walls is likely a world no-longer belonging to humans but ruled by the ‘demons’. At the end of the episode a new ‘adult’ character is introduced to the orphans, much to Emma, Norman and Ray’s despair.

Let’s just hope she’s not made out to be too much of a villain because BOY do I have a rant in store if she is.

Right, well that seems interesting enough! I don’t see why you’re not enjoying this more–everyone else seems to be. Yeah, and that’s probably a part of the problem too. Too much positive hype on social media and elsewhere is seeping into my brain and informing opinions before I even get the chance to watch the episode and then nothing lives up to the hype as a result. That’s why I think I’m constantly surprised and delighted by CGDCT and slice of life shows because nobody ever talks about them on social media (least not on mine) and so I get to have an untainted experience without expectations.

I mean the lighting is pretty gorgeous in this show.

Sounds to me like you’re blaming others for your own problems watching this show. Maybe I am, and maybe I’ll mute the words ‘Promised Neverland’ on Twitter and see if that changes anything for next week but there’s still the pre-hype that accompanied the show before airing and sadly nothing’s going to erase that.

Okay. So was there anything about the episode you liked? Sure I mean the concrete wall was odd and fun to see, the fact it’s as wide as it is tall makes me presume there’s a corridor within it, and its specifically those moments of unexpected imagery that recall the oddness of US TV series ‘Lost’ (in its early seasons) and I like that. Also the stylish nightmare scene that opened the episode was visually evocative. Other than that not much else I’m afraid. Nevertheless I am still curious about what kind of world exists out there and if we’ll even see any of it by the time this short season is over…

Show don’t tell!

Previous ‘The Promised Neverland’ Reviews:

Growing Up Is Hard – Episode 1 Review


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It’s Virtually A Sport – ‘Circlet Princess’ Episode 1 Review

It’s Virtually A Sport – An Anime QandA Review for ‘Circlet Princess’ Episode 1

circletprincess1

What’s the show? Circlet Princess, Episode 1.

So how’s this episode? First of all, let me just say I’m a little worried with this seemingly consistent trend of certain anime titles not being licensed by Western streaming services, first in Summer 2018 it was ‘Miss Caretaker of Sunohara-sou’, then in Fall 2018 it was ‘Han-Gyaku-Sei Million Arthur’ and now in Winter 2019 it’s ‘Circlet Princess’ and it’s not like these are small budget short anime, these a proper full releases. And, at least in the case of ‘Circlet Princess’ can’t speak for the others, apparently it’s a Chinese company called ‘Bilibili’ to blame–they are blocking international distribution for these shows because they have the leeway to do so by putting money in to making them. This is not something that should be overlooked, China has the money and power to block more and more anime from reaching the West and that’s worrying. I feel like I needed to bring this to everyone’s attention before continuing with this review.

Right, so in other words? Yes, this is a review of a fansubbed anime–thankfully there’s still people out there doing remarkably quick and high quality fansubs.

Fair enough, just thought I needed to make that clear for anyone wanting to pick up the show themselves. Indeed, but with that out of the way we’ll get back to the fun of reviewing.

Fight!

True, so how is the show? I was going to say “surprisingly great” but that would have assumed I had any preconceptions going in–I didn’t. All I knew is this was going to be girls playing future sports slash also a school anime. And that’s exactly what the first episode delivered!

You say “future sport” what is it exactly? It’s called a ‘Circlet Bout’ and its basically a bit like kendo (maybe, I don’t know much about that sport either) where two opponents face off with swords attempting to block one another from scoring a hit. But other than that the show doesn’t give us much information, we know first knock out wins but are there any other rules? Also, for some reason it takes place in a ‘virtual arena’ with even the participants clothes being projected onto them and for some reason the backdrop of the arena is meant to look like surface of the moon looking down at Earth.

No honey, its a simulation.

That’s a lot of unanswered questions! Yep, but it’s the first episode so I’ll cut them some slack.

And who are our characters? First there’s Chikage Fuijimura, a 50 wins in a row undefeated pro who we briefly learn is having all her wins bought by her “sponsor”–which she is none too happy about it. Then there’s our protagonist, a plucky country girl named Yuuka Sasaki who’s visiting the big city for the first time and through a series of misunderstandings gets mistaken for Chikage’s new opponent. The two end up having a fight, Chikage going all out because she’s sick of sticking to a scripted fights and Yuuka managing to pick up the sport remarkably easy to the point where she even pulls off a ‘legendary block’ against the reigning champ. It’s pretty contrived but it’s also entertaining and I’m sure they’ll have some reason to explain why Yuuka was so good at a sport she didn’t even know existed 10 minutes before.

Oh ~intrigue~!

Right, anything else happen? Mate, that was just the first half. We cut to ~two years later~ and Yuuka has convinced her parents to let her enrol in a college that’s famous for Circlet Bout. Apparently in all this time no one has seen Chikage who disappeared after her match with Yuuka. And as a result (probably) the college no longer has a ‘Circlet Bout’ club much to Yuuka’s dismay. She moves into a dorm (along with a programming girl named Ayumu who helped her out earlier in the episode) and that’s about it. Except it’s not just about it as this show has ~so~ much going on in and around the peripheral that I could talk for ages about it!

She can be surprisingly assertive, even to complete strangers!

Condense it down and give us the basics. Okay, well first there’s a superpowered attack that Chikage gives that her ‘coach(?)’ advises her against using. Also there’s talk that the reason the super attack didn’t work properly is that the computer couldn’t handle it, meaning that these attacks are being rendered by a computer which makes sense because they’re in a virtual world but that brings up some interesting possibilities for matches–and of course for creative plays and sabotage considering we’ve got a ‘programmer’ character on the show too. Also the world is really cool, it’s basically just Japan in the future which doesn’t look that much different except everyone has really high-tech personal devices that overlay information in the real world like holograms. I like this grounded and not-so-distant future tech, it was very believable.

Just overclock it, it’ll be fine.

And what about the characters themselves? They’re all pretty great too. The protagonist’s performance is very quirky and cute but different enough to not seem too tropey, like a couple of her line readings were a lot of fun to hear. Everyone else seems pretty standard, but I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Okay then, so overall thoughts for the first episode and a recommendation? If you like club/sports anime with cute girls you’ll probably find something to like here. Overall its an intriguing beginning to a series that could have a lot of potential and it seems like there’s a lot more going on then is presented on the surface. I think this show will be a lot of fun!

Sparks will fly!

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Growing Up Is Hard – ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 1 Review

Growing Up Is Hard – An Anime QandA Review for ‘The Promised Neverland’ Episode 1

promisedneverland1

What’s the show? The Promised Neverland, Episode 1.

So how’s this episode? So here’s the thing, you might not know this about me but generally speaking I like my anime on the lighter side–after all, I personally watch anime as escapism and for fun! That’s not to say I don’t enjoy darker anime too for example I loved (the first season) of ‘Psycho Pass’, ‘Attack on Titan’ is a classic, ‘Happy Sugar Life’ was my favourite anime of 2018, ‘Made In Abyss’ I think earned its darkness even if it seemed occasionally excessive and even a show I consider flawed like ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’ was entertaining and has its value. And that’s just off the top of my head, there’s many more. But what I don’t like is anime I deem ‘edgy for the sake of edgy’, I won’t bother listing the shows I think are but there’s plenty of them and seeing the hype that was building around this show made me genuinely fear for the worse. It was at the point where I was going to not even bother watching because I didn’t need another dose of misguided drama in my life. But here we are, with me about to type my thoughts on this show–The Promised Neverland–onto the screen for you all to read. Are you ready for my opinion?

Oh jeez… Yeah, it was an okay episode.

…huh? What?

Simpler times…

Don’t “what” me! With all that build-up, I thought you were about unleash a tirade upon this show! Kinda like how all that build-up to the show airing had me expecting the worst too? Looks like I did the same to you!

Ugh… damn you! So anyway, you going to elaborate? What happened? What’s the “dark” thing about the show? Spoil away! Yeah, so obviously huge spoilers for the first episode, this isn’t going to be a post where I give a vague recommendation and let you go your merry way, the ~big reveal~ of Episode 1 will be discussed after this paragraph. If you want a spoiler free recommendation, watch it–what’s the worst that could happen? (That’s a terrible recommendation, but you’ll see why in a minute.)

The stuff with the barcode exams was curious…

Right, thanks for the warning. So go on… So yeah basically it’s a boarding house of 38 kids and they’re not allowed to be in contact with the outside world because their ‘mom’ says they can never leave the grounds under any circumstances. Their lives seem ~nice~ and peaceful enough except there’s an undercurrent that things are amiss, especially as none of the previous kids who have been “adopted” ever write letters back like they promised they would. So anyway it comes the day for the ‘cutest’, ‘most adorable’ one Conny to be adopted out and yeah, that’s a trope that’s kind of obnoxiously on the nose but I’ll get back to that. But Conny forgets her favourite plush toy so two of our three protagonists Emma and Norman go to return it–leaving the grounds of the estate, even though they were told never to do so. Then the big reveal! Emma passes the back of a wagon and finds Conny–she’s dead, her body battered and bloody. Two voices come from down the alleyway and so they hide under the wagon, the voices belong to two monstrous looking creatures who talk about how delicious children are and how they are being bred for the “quality of their meat” and their ‘mom’ who runs the orphanage is in on it too! The kids escape back to the orphanage, traumatised but determined to get not only themselves out but the other 35 kids too.

I mean that’d be ideal but I somehow doubt we’ve got a cast of 35 just so 35 people can survive.

Okay then, yeah that qualifies as pretty dark! So here’s the thing… I was expecting this to be a lot worse, especially considering what qualifies for ~entertainment~ these days (sorry that was very catty of me) but all the same I found this kind of–mediocre not just in execution but in tone. In fact, it was almost childish, like a Brothers Grimm fairytale and I just can’t shake the feeling like I was oversold on something. Granted this is only the first episode so I’m not going to judge too harshly the potential of this series. But having seen the swathes of people clamouring for this show (and likewise, the people’s reactions both positive and shocked) I’m left a little underwhelmed. What’s more is that it was predictable, from the moment I saw ‘Conny’ written up on the calendar I knew she’d be the first to go and I knew she’d be the ‘cutest, most adorable’ one too. (Sudden brief spoiler for Magical Girl Raising Project incoming!) They did that with killing off Nemurin–the cutest, quietest one in ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’ and they’ve probably done it in other shows too. And I get why they do it, its to endear the audience quickly to character visually without having to waste time on a lot of character development but it’s lazy in my opinion.

Don’t get too attached.

Seems like you have a lot of complaints but none of them are about how dark the show is? That’s surprising. I know right? Maybe I was expecting too much darkness from this first episode and the premise in general, it’s an adaptation of a shonen manga after all not a seinen or a light novel so there’s only so far they can push it.

Geez, what were you expecting? Listen, my mind can go to pretty dark places, let’s just say I wasn’t expecting the evil to be monsters but I was expecting Conny’s “meat” to be used in a different way and I’ll leave it at that.

Ew. Hey, theirlwaifu Sharon thought exactly the same thing, it’s not just me, okay?!

What’s with the look?!

Right. So what are your overall thoughts on the episode? Put simply, I’m intrigued but not enticed, I’m curious but not captivated but thankfully for you, dear readers, I’m not at all triggered (yet). So for now I’ll keep watching to see where it goes.


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