Kokkoku – 20 Question Anime Review (Moderate Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Kokkoku.

What’s the show? Kokkoku (2018).

Kokomo? Stop with your old man references, I don’t know what Beach Boys song your referencing…

Ah-ha! Shit… I guess I’m old as well…

Heh, so what’s this show about? A four generation, lower middle-class family living in the same house somewhere in Japan, our protagonist, Juri is an unemployed woman who’s trying her best to stay positive for her family of slackers and NEET’s despite being downtrodden by her lot in life. Her grandfather however has a magical stone that can stop time, which after Juri’s brother and nephew are kidnapped by thugs, he reveals its power to Juri and her lazy father Takafumi in order to rescue their family.

Telemarketers are the worst…

Stopping time, huh? So it’s sci-fi? Well… it’s about as least sci-fi as stopping time gets if I’m honest, it’s all very mystical and the stopping time phenomena isn’t really explained until the last episode and even then it’s kinda wishy washy, but it’s also kind of what I love about the show! It doesn’t hammer you over the head with exposition or techno-babble, it’s just content to tell a story about a family stuck in a terrible situation.

Me either, dude.

And this terrible situation is? Aside from the kidnapping of course. Juri, her father and her grandfather quickly discover they aren’t the only ones able to move around ‘Stasis’ (that’s the name given to their time stopped world). There’s Junji, the leader of a religious cult called ‘The Genuine Love Society’ who are not only single-minded and obsessive but also violent and dangerous. They want to kidnap Juri’s grandfather and kill the rest of the family and obtain the powerful stone which is central to their “religion”.

Yup, that’s a cult.

Oh wow, okay, sounds dramatic, anything else? There’s also giant and powerful creature’s that roam the ‘Stasis’ called “Heralds” or “Handlers” depending on which faction you ask, who make sure that the people able to move around this time-stopped world can’t do any harm to “The Stalled” which is what they call everyone else for whom time has stopped.

Nice afro.

Sounds kinda complicated if I’m honest… Maybe, but I mean as long as you’re paying attention and aren’t on your phone while watching it it’s pretty standard stuff. Not to say that it’s not original or interesting, just that it’s not all that complicated.

Uh-huh. So I take it that’s a weird show, then? I didn’t think so, but apparently a lot of people felt it went ‘that’ way. Personally I thought it was very consistent, up until an ending which is admittedly a ‘deus ex machina’ but one that didn’t feel unearned.

This is what happens if you spend all day inside playing video games!

So, Googling the show, the Wikipedia page says its a ‘Horror/Drama/Mystery’? Yeah… I don’t know what about it is horror or mystery. Maybe that’s more the manga than the anime because it felt distinctly sci-fi/supernatural to me.

*shrugs* Indeed!

So what else did you want to say about this show? Juri is such a great protagonist, like she pretty much carries the show herself, I’m kind of in love with how strong and determined she is. And all the men in her family know she’s the strongest character and all (for the most part) respect her decision making abilities.


Yeah? Yup, it’s great not having fragile male egos competing for the role of protagonist and just letting the most capable person lead the show!

Well this seems to have been a mostly positive review, anything negative to say? Well yeah, of course, it’s not perfect! The pacing can be atrocious at points, like other anime could have done what this show did in half as many episodes, but even then I kind of like that this show took its time… plus it benefits from being binge watched.

Ethereal jellyfish make time freeze, it’s pretty obvious guys!

We’re doing negatives here, stop complimenting the show for a second, will ya? Right, ahem, um… some of the various plot ‘twists’ that come along are either far too obvious or so far out of left field that it’s a bit jarring, also ‘the ladder’ oh my god that made me laugh more than it probably should have, it’s just you don’t usually expect a portable ladder to be used to defeat the ‘big bad’ but here we are!

Anything else before we wrap up? The opening song is the most fun I had with an OP in the Winter ’18 season, and the ending (ED) song is pretty great too!

There’s a lot of weird imagery in this show and I love it.

Great. So final score and recommendation? I don’t know the target audience for this kind of anime, I don’t even know if my opinion is a relatable one because this show was that kind of unexpected treat that I looked forward to each episode despite the content being spread thinly across more episodes than it maybe needed to be. The time stop elements are handled consistently well and the characters are likeable and lively even if the story ends in a predictably safe way. 87 out of 100…

W-what’s this? Since when do we continue after the score has been given? The review is over isn’t it? I just wanted to add something, because I wrote this review like two weeks ago, and something’s been bothering me…

Oh? It’s just that as much as I raved about how unique and interesting this show was, as soon it was done I kind of immediately forgot about it, like to the point where I don’t even know if I watched it!

That’s bad… I know right! Like I still like the show a whole bunch but ultimately, I guess what I’m saying is the show is kinda forgettable, like kinda really forgettable. But my positive compliments still stand, just bare in mind what you’re getting isn’t really some kind of classic, frozen in time to appreciate, ’tis but a momentary highlight across the breadth of existence, destined to be swept away by the unceasing current of time’s passing.

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Steins;Gate 0 Episode 1 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Steins;Gate 0 Episode 1.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 1.

Oh yeah, the time travel show, I remember it because in the review for the first season you horribly insulted me and still haven’t apologised. Yup that’s the one!

Right… so what’s this, doesn’t Steins Gate Zero? Doesn’t a ‘zero’ usually denote a prequel? First off, don’t forget the semi-colon; it’s important. Secondly, good for you, knowing something about something! Yes, in a lot of media including Japanese films and video games a zero or 0 after the title usually denotes that it’s a prequel set before the events of the original (i.e. Ring 0 or Resident Evil 0) But, in this case no it’s not a prequel but rather an alternate world-line (alt universe) continuation of the original season!

Uh-huh, and so precisely how confused am I supposed to be by all this? Well for you or anyone else who has never even watched the original season you’re screwed, but for everyone else, as long as you’ve watched it semi-recently, or liked it enough to remember it fondly or even just looked up where in the timeline this takes place you should be fine.

Right-o, so when does it take place and what is it about? SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL STEINS;GATE ANIME FROM HERE ON!

Thanks Mr. Capslock. So basically the original series is all about self proclaimed “mad scientist” Okabe trying to simultaneously save the two ‘loves’ of his life, childhood sweetheart and too pure for this world Mayuri and fellow scientist and all around best girl Kurisu. Also he’s trying to prevent World War 3. He time travels with his “phone microwave” in order to put everything right but around about episode 23 he realises he can’t save both Mayuri and Kurisu because of paradoxes and what not and so he resigns himself to let Kurisu die and continue on with his life. It’s at this point that Steins;Gate 0 stems from. Because in the original series he comes up with a work around that basically involves faking Kurisu’s death or something and they all lived happily ever after. And I know that might sound like I’m being reductive but the original Steins;Gate is among my Top 5 Anime ever so I had no issue with that ‘happy ending’.

Hmm, so why does this ‘zero’ series even exist if the original is so well received, and it is well received, isn’t it? Indeed, it’s a critically acclaimed series loved by almost everyone. And while yes, I would have been content for the series to end there, I’m also totally cool with having more content with these characters and this universe because they are so unbelievably great. (Well most of them, Faris is kind of annoying)

And is this new series as good as the original? If your asking me to compare just 1 episode of this new series (which will be 23 episodes in total) to the entirety of the original Steins;Gate… I will gladly do so! It is just as good, and if you’ll allow me to elaborate I will explain why I think so!

Go ahead. The first season had an awkward half dozen first episodes, that is to say the pacing and story was kind of confusing for newcomers. It was still good, it just wasn’t immediately ‘all there’. Here, however I feel like we’re benefitting from coming in at a point where not only do we already know most of the characters and what makes them tick but also coming from such an emotionally devastating point for our protagonist that there’s the kind of rich backstory that you don’t normally get in first episodes. Yes it feels like a new season, but it also feels like we’re off the back off a juicy cliffhanger that’s slowly unfolding before us.

And what about the Okabe, the main character, wasn’t he in a real bad place when episode 23 ended? I see you’ve been reading the notes I left for you. Yes, he was in the worst place emotionally during that time and the show takes the wise move and set it many months after that time. And what we’re given is a kind of quieter, more contemplative Okabe, who’s trying his hardest to move on, whether that means going out of his comfort zone by playing tennis and group dating and just doing whatever he can to distract himself from the lingering, penetrating pain from having lost Kurisu. It makes the show so much more mature, I was actually kind of in awe of how Okabe’s characterisation was handled. It would have been so easy to just make him some mopey SOB but they made him feel like an actual person trying hard to fix his heart and not dwell on the crippling sadness that’s bubbling just below the surface.

So it’s a different show than before, but not? How’s that work for the audience. The worst thing they could have done was just made the show just feel like it was before without considering how much Okabe is emotionally destroyed up by his decision to give up on saving Kurisu. What we’ve got instead is a complex and layered narrative and characterisation that really means something.

You’ve really built this up a lot, aren’t you afraid people will go in expecting a lot and be disappointed? Nope, don’t care. I loved this new season, its already more consistent than the original thanks to being a continuation of an already established series and all the new things they’ve introduced like “legal loli” Maho Hiyajou and AI program Amadeus are all brilliant. The only way is down!

That’s not really a compliment. I know this. I’m not pretending like this show is above criticism, it may very well blow it’s potential and become a trainwreck in future episodes, but as it stands now I do recommend the show and if I’m completely honest I do think it will be as good if not better than the original series and will be remembered as a classic for many years to come.

Butlers x Battlers Episode 1 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Butlers x Battlers Episode 1.

What’s the show? Butlers x Battlers, Episode 1.

And what’s it about? Can we stop for a minute so I can just audibly groan about how bad of a title that is?

Uh, sure, go ahead. Like, seriously. In Japanese it’s called ‘Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari’ which translates to the far superior title ‘Butlers: A Millennium Century Story’.

Sparkle sparkle!

Yeah I guess that is better… You guess? Butlers x Battlers makes it sound like some Victorian era butlers are fighting against the lower-middle class—which—now that I’ve said it sounds like a pretty funny idea for a show…

Right, well what’s this show about? Well based on the first episode and not the online plot synopsis, I couldn’t really tell you. The episode spends a lot of time introducing like a gajillion characters, mostly boys running the gamut from cute to hot and all variants between.

Still not sure what that entails in this show, but sure!

This is one of the show’s you’re watching because the wife wanted to watch it, yeah? Yes and no, I mean the official synopsis is actually kind of interesting, time travelling fighting butlers? Sounds silly enough to be interesting, and it is, for the most part. I mean we don’t get much fighting or time-travelling in this episode (in fact if you skip the ending credits you’ll miss a whole chunk of action that happens in a post-credit scene just FYI).

Intensity intensifies!

Well it does sound ‘interesting’ I’ll give it that, but what about the characters? They’re pretty good, I like the main guy, he’s got a sharp edge to his look and personality. Also the shorter cute boy out of the student council foursome, Aoba I think his name was, he made me laugh on a couple of occasions with the noises he makes and some line deliveries.

Isn’t he adorable!

So are you watching this ironically? I don’t know, I mean I don’t get the exact same ‘enjoyment’ that the irl waifu does from watching hot boys shoot each other intense looks and accidentally fall on each other while spying on others from bushes, I’m thoroughly amused by it though. Having said that the show is still interesting from a plot perspective, I want to see what happened to the main character’s missing sister and it’s not unpleasant to look at handsome anime boys, I just wish they’d even bothered to make any of the women attractive.

The middle one looks like something out of the Jinju Ito Collection.

Oh, how do you mean? Well I don’t want to say anything offensive because talking about gender and physical appearances and all that stuff can be a figurative minefield of problematic statements and hurt feelings. So I’ll preface this by simply saying I’m strictly talking about this show and not people in real life. But all the women have the same face shapes as the men and it just doesn’t work. Like I don’t know if that makes it cheaper/easier for the animators then having to give the few female characters on the show more rounded faces but it’s just not a good look. I don’t know, maybe I’m just spoiled by the unrealistic expectations cute girl anime have given me.

Sure sure.

Or maybe it’s deliberate so the girls watching the show don’t get jealous of the female characters in the show? And can focus on the boys looking good? I don’t know, that feels like another can of worms I don’t want to open, but feel free to land on that grenade should it explode in your face!

No, wait! I didn’t mean— Anime QandA apologises for the preceding comments.

Now when you say “come”?…

Ugh, so do you recommend the show? Sure why not! It may not be what I usually watch but I enjoyed myself while watching it, at least a lot more than that other show with boys doing sci-fi things I started this season. Oh and I almost forgot to mention I really dig the opening theme song, the vocalist reminds me of one of my favourite bands ‘Poets of the Fall’, even though they’re singing in different languages they sound very similar! That random asideaside I look forward to seeing where it goes!

Cool setting btw.

Steins;Gate – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review of Steins;Gate.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate (2011).

And what’s with the semi;colon? I don’t know; ask the author(s) 5pb and NitroPlus, all of their science-y shows use that to separate the two-word titles.

Science, eh? So not lolicon or siscon or whatever strange perversion you’re usually inundating me with these question suggestions? For the record, those aren’t my perversions, they just happen to be a recurring theme in the anime I enjoy… but yes this is a sci-fi, with an emphasis on the science.

So what’s it all about? Well. It’s pretty complicated, but our protagonist Rintaro Okabe is a kind of DIY mad scientist and he inadvertently discovers time travel! And so SERN (thinly veiled CERN analogue) gets involved and people close to him die, except they don’t because time travel and it’s all very dramatic and tense and emotional and genuinely one of the most unique, thought provoking and all round exciting anime experiences out there. To go into any more plot details would be a disservice to this thrilling ride!


Wow, I’m actually interested in this for once. I’m waiting for the ‘but’ to ruin it all for me though, so please continue. No but’s, no coconuts, with the exception that the anime takes place in otaku central, Akihabara and one of the characters works at a maid cafe, it’s about as ‘casual friendly’ as anime comes, provided you’re into science fiction and the associated plot convolutions.

Well, this seems like it’s going to be a truncated blog, this is only question six and I’m already wondering what we’re going to talk about for the next fourteen questions?! It’s not flawless.

What? Well, it’s excellent, it’s a show I’d recommend above almost every other show out there, but it’s not perfect.


So what’s wrong with it, in your estimation? The pacing of the first dozen episodes is all over the place, to the point where the show feels like it isn’t really going anywhere. It’s a doozy of a first obstacle, but once it’s cleared its pretty much smooth sailing from there on out. And…

And there’s more isn’t there? No, I mean, actually never mind… there’s nothing else wrong with it… just watch it, okay?

Hey, what’s wrong? You’re suddenly so down? It’s nothing, don’t worry yourself about it…

No, something is obviously wrong, just tell me? It’s just, I… I saw your death.

I’m sorry, what? I’ve seen the future, and I’ve seen your death, I’m sorry to tell it to you like this, but I’ve seen you die and it happens soon and there’s nothing I can do to stop it!


Wait? What? No, you have to help me? I can’t die; I have so much more anime to experience second hand through you. I can’t help you, I’ve tried… so many times, I’ve replayed the same events over and over and every time you die and every time I’m too late to stop it! It’s useless… I’m so sorry.

No… it can’t end like this… okay, tell me when at least? So maybe I’ve got a chance to stop it myself. I can’t.

Why not?! Time fluctuations. Or paradoxes? Wibbly wobbly timey wimey…

Ugh, then at least tell me how? How do I die so I can avoid a situation like it? Well… you’re walking down a street; I don’t know what street, when monkeys appear… bloody thousands of them, and then…

And then? And then they start to throw their… excrement at you, it just keeps coming and coming and their aim is just so on point that they never don’t miss your mouth until you’re just so full of shit that you just die!

I die… because I’m full… of shit? Yeah… *slowly dabs handkerchief at eye* It’s truly tragic.

Screw you! I was actually worried about myself for a second. So you should be! It’s not normal for a human being to be that full of shit!


Yeah, yeah, I get it. Up yours, final score or whatever, I’m out of here. Time travel is a powerfully problematic plot device, science fiction shows, movies and books of the past have made no stranger about this fact, what Steins;Gate does is find a flawless balance between the science and technology and the human element that’s oh so important in these kinds of stories. Hold my beer because I’m going back in time so I can experience this excellent anime again for the first time, 95 out of 100.