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

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

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

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

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

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

So what subverted your expectations this time? Comedy!

Damn ramen zombies.

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

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

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

2 deep 4 me.

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

Damn you Crunchyroll watermark!

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

But dat art tho.

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

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

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

Synchronised slurping, new Olympic sport?

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

That’s what she said.

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

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

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

M. Bison: “OF COURSE!”

Ramen? Back fat!

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

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

50 Shades of Ramen.

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

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

You say it like it’s a bad thing?

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

Me at Melon Books in Akihabara.

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

Restaurant To Another World – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Restaurant to Another World.

What’s the show? Restaurant to Another World (2017).

What’s it about? It’s a warm cup of tea on a cold Winter’s day.

What if I don’t like tea? Then it’s whatever your preferred beverage of choice is! That’s not really the point I was trying to make!

‘Kay but what is it actually about? Well put simply there’s a magical door and it appears once a week in a parallel fantasy world to our own in various locations around this world allowing residents of said fantasy world, be they king or commoner, fairy or adventurer, lizardman or elven princess, dragon or wizard, to access ‘Western Restaurant Nekoya’ a humble eating establishment somewhere in modern day Tokyo.

Through this door all your dreams come true! Assuming you dream of delicious food.

So it’s a? I hasten to call it a slice of life, because it has a sharp fantasy edge. It’s as committed to food porn almost as much as Food Wars but that’s where the comparisons end. It’s honestly a hard show to pin down and it’s kind of all the better for it.

But if you had to categorize it? Well if I had to, I’d say it’s an adventure show where the adventure is as much about self discovery via food as it is about exploring new possibilities and enjoying the little things in life, no matter who you are or what you do. It’s about finding joy and solace in quiet moments and about sharing them with friends and strangers alike.

Even Vegan food looks good on this show! (Apologies to vegan readers)

I don’t know what this is but I know I want to watch it now! Then my work here is done.

Hold up! We’re not even a third way done yet. Who are the characters? Well the restaurant is run by the unnamed owner of ‘Western Restaurant Nekoya’… now that I think of it, it’s kind of a brilliant stroke that they never bother to name one of the main characters, I mean he’s so central to the story but he is also just a chef, it’s never about him it’s about his food and how it speaks to peoples souls… man the more I think about this show the more I adore it.

Aletta and chef.

Okay, ol’ no name aside, who else is aboard for the ride? I won’t bother to mention all the restaurant patrons, even the recurring ones as there’s too many to mention but Aletta is the head waitress who also happens to be a homeless demon girl from the ‘other world’. Though her only demonic attributes appear to be the goat horns on her head. Later on an ancient dragon who lives on the moon ends up working at the restaurant too.

And let me guess, she’s dark haired and mysterious and totally your best girl? You know me so well. Also she talks through telekinesis and is coincidentally the most dangerous creature in her universe.

How could this precious waifu possibly be dangerous?

Of course she is. *grin*

Man… This show is wild, I mean I know we’ve covered some crazy anime in the past but I’ve never been so simultaneously uninterested and completely intrigued by an anime before! I did say it was a hard show to pin down, did I not?

Hard to believe this is the same show. Some serious dragon lore in this particular episode.

Well okay, what are the episodes like, individually? What format do they take? Ah! But that’s part of the adventure itself! Some episodes are self-contained stories that whisk you away to far off reaches of the titular fantasy world, others are more humble and simply take place in the restaurant, from episode to episode you never know what’s going to happen but it’s always something interesting and different!

Cool, so um what else do we have to talk about? I mean it feels like we’ve kind of done the business on this show. What comes next? Maybe nothing.

Nothing? Well, maybe it’s better if we just sit back and enjoy those sweet moments of life where nothing happens and we can take stock of what we have and how important it is to us…

Turns out elves are vegan!

You started watching the show again, didn’t you? I need this in my life, don’t you dare try and take it away from me!

I would never! Good.

Well how was she supposed to know humans wear clothes when she took human form? She’s a dragon that’s thousands of years old! Also she looks like an elf because the only humans she ever interacted with before her exile to the moon were ancient elves.

So did you have anything else to say? This show is a treasure, it’s rare and beautiful and wholly unique, it’s like your favourite childhood dish, it’s like a mother’s wholesome hug, it’s like the light at the end of a tunnel.

So recommended then? I don’t expect everyone to have the same reaction I had when watching this show, I mean let’s face it, it’s not like there’s legions of people singing this shows praises online. Some people might find its pacing too slow or not connect with the way deifies ‘food experiences’ but at least for me it resonated deeply, and not in any way that made immediate or obvious sense.

Final verdict? It’s hard, going into this review I thought I knew how much I liked this show, I thought I had it quantified. But even in simple reminiscence I found myself not only falling in love with the show all over again but realizing the true brilliance of the show from many other angles. Every ingredient is essential to the dish and the dish is sublime, 92 out of 100.


We Without Wings – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for We Without Wings – Under The Innocent Sky.

What’s the show? We Without Wings – Under The Innocent Sky (2011).

Quite the mouthful. Tee-hee.

Wow, not wasting any time with dragging down the tone of this review, are we? Trust me, this show was going to do that enough on its own, I’m just getting you prepared for what’s to come. Heh, come.

Oh lord, we’re back in ecchi town today, aren’t we? Next stop ‘Ecchi City’, population: 69.

Obligatory ‘Nice’ reply. Now that that’s done with what’s the show about? Oh boy, where do I begin? This is a hard one to explain without going to ‘Spoilersville.’

Just try, yeah? Well fine, it’s an anime that’s based on an erotic visual novel, and to put it bluntly it makes no god damn sense. Like I’ve watched David Lynch films that make more sense than this show.

You watch David Lynch films? I thought you only watch anime. There’s a lot about me you don’t know, I am an enigma.

You’re a pervert, but I digress. Try and sum it up as best you can. Right so there’s three male protagonists who all live separate lives, Takashi Haneda a high-school student who also occasionally visits a parallel fantasy world to battle the forces of evil of Gredaguard under the guise of a hero called ‘Lord Hawk Cyan-Blue’. Then there’s Shusuke Chitose, an author and part time waiter at a bar filled with beautiful maid waitresses. And then there’s Hayato Narita, an antisocial “fixer” who takes up odd jobs around Yanagihara city in Tokyo.

That seemed more like a character run down than a plot synopsis, not that I’m complaining because I was going to ask about the characters anyway, is it really that difficult to come up with a synopsis for the show? Listen, I could just wiki it, but I’m trying to convey just how beguiling this show is, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way.

Oh? It’s based on an erotic visual novel, which I know you don’t know what that is, so basically it’s an erotic romance game where the goal is to talk your way into the digital panties of one of many of the female characters. They’re very popular in Japan but almost have no presence over here due to the fact that they contain absurd amounts of plot and dialogue. The original ‘We Without Wings’ visual novel for the PC and PS3 is over 50 hours long, I can’t imagine how hard it was to condense it down to 13, half hour episodes.

50 hours?! But wouldn’t your hand cramp up long before that? First of all, gross, I don’t want to think of you masturbating. Secondly, you don’t play it all in one sitting, and besides its more like a long build up to an eventual pay off, it’s not all sex, it’s a lot of talking mostly with fan service thrown in. Except, well I can’t speak for the visual novel, but the ‘talking’ which amounts to the plot is some of the most buck wild nonsense I’ve ever seen.

Elaborate, but vaguely. Why do I have to be vague, no one’s going to watch this show, it’s a show that’s been out for 7 years that nobody ever talks about?

Just do it… vaguely! Ugh, fine, so there’s gang warfare, a lost bicycle, egocentric authors, a radio host announcer trapped in oblivion who breaks the fourth wall, people getting shot, a preteen American tourist who flirts with much older men, high-school drama, games of Twister, massive ejaculations caused by a fast talking witch, goths, crepes and upskirts (oh so many upskirts).

I’m sorry, did you just say ‘massive ejaculations’?! I was surprised as you were; and after all despite all I’ve said, this isn’t a hentai. That one scene aside there’s no actual sex in the anime. A bit weird for something based on an eroge but I suppose there’s limits to what you can do on Japanese TV – even if I’m pretty sure there’s more than a few scenes that would have been heavily censored, thank the anime gods for blu-ray!

You wanted to see that? I’m ever the advocate for no censorship in my anime!

As funny as these images are without context, I think this one is funnier with context. They’re playing twister. I’m sure you can guess what this ‘move’ implies.

Right. Pervert, how could I forget? Hey, you asked!

So we’ve gotten this far in the review and yet I still haven’t gotten a sense of whether you like this show or not. Do you? I do! Well, I like just how bat shit crazy it can be at times, it’s never not entertaining. I’m not going to pretend like this is a good show, because it’s messy as heck and pretty insulting and offensive at times, but it’s still a spectacle. It’s ambitious but it never takes itself too seriously, it’s funny but it’s not a comedy, it’s dramatic but it’s not a drama, it’s like arthouse cinema mixed with trashy daytime soaps mixed with the kind of anime fan fiction you’d never expect to be made, only it did and somehow it got an official English dub too!

You sound kind of in awe of its existence? That’s a very good way to put it.

So this is a recommendation? I guess so! It’s a guilty pleasure, even moreso than the likes of Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid. That was a guilty pleasure because it was like “what if fan service but that’s the plot?” This one is more like, “what if erotic visual novel was an anime but also a parody of erotic visual novels but not because it’s an anime now?” I don’t know if any of it works but all I know is it’s the only anime I’ve watched 3 times through, and for only 2 of those times I was drunk.

Final score? Add alcohol and you’ll probably have a better time, this show is confusing and seedy and angst-riddled and dumb. It has a lot to say but it doesn’t say it particularly well, the messy plot does begin to make some sense by the end but it’s clear there’s a lot missing from this adaptation. However, I just enjoy it so damn much that I can’t stay too mad at all its flaws. Approach with care; 71 out of 100.