OreImo – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review of OreImo.

What’s the show? OreImo (2010).

And what’s that mean? It’s a shortening of the full title ‘My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute’. It makes more sense in Japanese, trust me.

Right, and what’s it about? Listen, listen, you’re just going to have to go along with me for a bit because it’s going to get weird. Japan weird. So… It’s about a high school student named Kosaka Kyosuke and his fourteen-year-old sister Kirino, who’s a model student. Literally, she’s so perfect she models in her spare time, and along with perfect grades, being athletic and popular there’s nothing she can do wrong. Except she’s got a secret see, she’s super into erotic video games about younger sisters! Haha, this is really awkward to talk about with another person!

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I’m sorry, what? Just whatever you do, don’t Google lolicon.

Oh my god, I’m going to jail. What the hell?! I told you not to Google it.

What else am I supposed to do; I literally live on the Internet. Listen, it’s not illegal in Japan. But it is still looked down upon, which is something this show actually goes into and treats it in a semi-serious way. There’s a plot point with one of Kirino’s model best friends who finds out and is so disgusted she tries to get her to quit her hobby. It doesn’t sugar coat the issues around such content, but at the same time it is still an anime, and she is a main character so it still takes her side.

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I didn’t expect this to get so complicated so quickly. I thought this was going to be just another ‘cute girls doing cute things’ anime with a title like that! That’s one of the admirable things about this show, it knows these issues are messy and can evoke strong reactions from people, even within the anime and otaku communities.

Well, with a questionable hobby like that I assume she’s at least a likable character? Well, she constantly verbally and physically assaults her brother for the crime of existing in her presence. She’s temperamental and demanding and mean spirited too.

So why are we watching a show about her? Not exactly painting an enticing picture. Because it’s interesting and in a way that’s hard to exactly quantify. She isn’t completely irredeemable though, she has moments of kindness and it’s hard not to sympathise with someone for whom so much is expected of on a daily basis, but all she wants is someone to talk about her interests with.

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You mean the kind of interests that involve romancing digital little sisters? I said it was messy, didn’t I?

So what’s the genre of this show? It’s a bit slice of life but it’s heavy on the confrontation, so it’s not nearly as relaxed as those shows usually are. It’s got comedic elements but I’d stop short of calling it a comedy. It’s almost a dramedy, even though that genre doesn’t really exist in the anime world. It’s pretty unique all things considered.

And the supporting characters? They really shine. Kuroneko a gothic lolita who is into darker, teenage oriented anime is a personal favourite, but all of the side characters get a decent amount of character development throughout.

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Don’t say ‘lolita’ again, I’ve only just erased the images from my mind from that previous Google search. Knock knock. Who’s there? It’s the police coming to take you away!

Don’t even joke! So how do you recommend a show like this? Unless you’re deep into anime, there’s no point really. It throws around otaku terms without explanation, kind of like this blog, only way more frequently. But if you are an anime fan then give it a go, I was hesitant at first but only because I thought it was going to be a lot more siscon than it actually is.

*Googles ‘siscon’* Well I suppose I should have seen that coming. Why did you think it would be like that? Well, it’s from the same author as ‘Eromanga Sensei’, and well, the brother’s intentions are pretty clear from the start of that series.

*Googles ‘eromanga sensei’* Oh dear. I think I need to sit down. I think I need to revoke your Google privileges… either that or make you watch ‘Kiss x Sis’ and break you completely. Muahahaha.

*Googles…* actually no, I think I’ve learnt my lesson. No more Googling! That’s probably for the best.

So is there anything else I need to know? It’s got a second season so there’s plenty time yet for him to bang his sister!

…Why do I talk to you? Because who else is going to be your guide through this anime world? Plus, you enjoy this, just admit it! Deep down you’re just as twisted as me!

Final score? Please. I enjoyed it a lot; it’s complicated and complicated can be worthwhile, and very entertaining in this particular instance. 88 out of 100.

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Blend-S – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Blend-S.

What’s the show? Blend-S (2017).

What’s it about? Smile! Sweet! Sister! Sadistic! Surprise! Service! We are STILE!

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I’m sorry, what? This theme song gives me life!

Right… so what’s this show about then, beyond the theme song? It’s about a cute Japanese girl called Sakuranomiya Maika who’s totally into white guys. Also she works at a maid café, ‘Café STILE’, where all the maids act with different personalities to fulfil their customers various kinks. It’s less perverted than it sounds, trust me.

Okay, but what was that bit about her being into ‘white guys’? Oh Maika’s got gaijin fever, in a flashback in the first episode we see her preteen self, obsessing over a statue of Colonel Sanders outside a KFC store and getting so attached that the employees have to call her parents.

I don’t even know what to say… Whatever you’re thinking it’s totally innocent! She’s just really into cultures outside of Japan. Probably due to her very traditional Japanese upbringing.

So it’s a? A slice of life set in a café, a situational comedy dealing with Maika’s interactions with her eccentric co-workers and her Italian-otaku boss Dino, who is crushing on her big time.

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And there it is. What?

You don’t think it’s a touch weird that this is an anime all about a cute Japanese girl being obsessed with white guys, white guys who also happen to be fans of anime. Talk about pandering to a larger audience… I’ll have you know that the author of the manga is Japanese!

Listen, I’m not one to kink shame, even if the kink in question is an entire race but you gotta admit this premise is kind of strange, even for an anime? That’s not even what this anime is about, sure at the start it seems like it’s just about her fascination with the West, but by the time it gets to episode four or five, it becomes more about her and her problems than whatever kind of fetish you’re trying to read into it.

Fine, pray tell what do you mean? She’s sadistic. >:)

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Oh? Not literally, it’s just her face. It’s quickly established that she has a face that can easily be misconstrued as ‘sadistic’ and so she fulfils that role in the maid café for men who are into that kind of thing. Truly, her ‘sadistic’ face is a thing of beauty.

And the others in the café fulfil other specific roles? Exactly! And they all have personalities that either mildly complement or completely contrast with their café personas; it leads to some very amusing interactions both on and off the café floor.

Well I admit that sounds interesting, maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge. Yeah, it’s not like it becomes a romance anime by the last three or so episodes, oh wait, it totally does! Haha, but I don’t care I love this show, don’t you dare take it away from me.

What? Romance? Really?! Well it’s not like it’s The Notebook, it’s more like an episode of Friends, wrought with misunderstandings and bad decisions!

And just objectively speaking, not trying to make a point or anything at all but who is your ‘best girl’? Maika-San! *nose bleed*

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As expected. Listen, say what you will but at the end of the day, all questionable relationships included, Blend-S is still a genuinely funny and well-rounded show. Also traps aren’t gay.

I beg your pardon? One of the ‘waitresses’ who joins the café late in the season is a cute girl except she’s actually a petite dude who like to dress in girl’s clothing and being attracted to her/him/they is not gay you hear me? And oh hey look over there it’s something boring and heterosexual for you to be interested!

Huh? What? #trapsarentgay

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Whatever. I give up. Final score? It’s the seamless combination of outlandish anime comedy and sweet romance, and not in any contrived way, that makes this show so good. I think I’ll have another cup of this fine blend, international roast indeed; 91 out of 100.

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Highschool DxD – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Highschool DxD.

What’s the show? Highschool DxD?

And what’s it about? Broadly, an uneasy three-way truce between Angels, Demons and Fallen Angels and trying to keep that truce lest all hell breaks loose and everyone on Earth is subjected to a war of biblical proportions.

Hey, that sounds kind of cool, a bit like ‘Supernatural’? ‘Supernatural’, oh you mean the one-season anime about two brothers travelling across America killing demons?

No I mean the (as of this writing) 13 season, US live-action TV show, about two brothers travelling across America killing demons. If it’s not anime, I don’t care.

Anyway, so you said that’s what the show is broadly about so what is it really about? Boobs!

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Of course it is. Is it a harem anime? Yes, and one of the best ones at that.

So what quantifies a good harem anime over a bad one? A likable male protagonist, female characters who are genuinely good friends with each other and have interests other than the protagonist. Plus having a genuinely interesting and well-developed story as a backdrop to the harem shenanigans is always a big winner.

So it’s a good story too then? Hey, it’s legitimately so good that you could make an edit of the show without any fan service or harem subplots and the show would still stand up on it’s own.

What is the plot then? Just quickly. Hyodo Issei is a bit of a loser and quite a lot of a pervert when one day he is killed by a fallen angel because he secretly possess a great powerful and ancient weapon. He is resurrected by demon, President of the occult research society and all around flawless specimen Rias Gremory who sees in him great potential and decides to train him as a part of her household.

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Would you say the harem side of the show is unnecessary? The harem side of the story contributes to the plot; it makes sense in-universe why all these powerful girls would be attracted to him and none of the girls are in love with him just because of what he is but rather non-supernatural things, like his kindness or his braveness or his determination or his compassion.

Cool, and so you mentioned something about boobs before? Oh yeah! Issei is kind of a fiend when it comes to boobs, his story arc for the first season is that he wants to touch Rias Gremory’s boobs – consensually of course.

A-ha… what was that about ‘kindness, braveness, determination and compassion’ before? Hey! You can be all those things and a pervert; they’re not mutually exclusive.

So who’s your best girl? Rias Gremory is the easy pick, just because we get so much more of her back-story than any of the other girls, though that changes as things go on. As of season one Rias is best girl but I reserve the choice to change my mind come future seasons.

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Changing best girl? Isn’t there some kind of rule about that? Is there?

I don’t know… I thought I could be cool and pretend like I knew something about anime that you didn’t. You’ll never be as cool as me.

If being ‘cool’ means owning an anime body pillow then I think I’ll pass. Don’t you talk bad about my Rize-chan!

Ahem, so you mentioned other seasons? Three seasons, soon to four come mid-2018.

That’s a lot of boobs! You’re telling me!

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Any thing else to say about Highschool DxD? Even if the idea of harem and fanservice heavy anime isn’t all that appealing to you, there are enough interesting plot points, exciting action scenes and well-developed characters to carry the show through. If however you are into fanservice and beautiful girls and the kind of humour that can come from a well-written harem, then Highschool DxD is heartily recommended. 88 out of 100.

Heh, 88 looks like two sets of boobs. Now who’s the pervert?

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Dagashi Kashi – 20 Question Anime Review (Minor Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Dagashi Kashi.

What’s the show? Dagashi Kashi (2016).

Gesundheit. No, that’s the name of the show. It means ‘cheap sweets candy’, which is also what the show is about.

The show is about candy? And savoury snack treats too, specifically Japanese ones, the kinds you’d find really cheap at a corner store in your youth.

It’s not just about that though, right? Well, if by that you mean does it have human characters to interact with the candy, by talking about it at length and consequently ingesting said candy into their bodies via their mouth holes? Because yes it certainly is about… more… than just…

Hello? Are you still there? You didn’t really answer my question, you just kind of tailed off. Shidare Hotaru; nice oppai.

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Wow, okay. That came out of nowhere? Who is she? She’s like that trope that a lot of people get annoyed about, you know the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ except this one isn’t remotely interested in the main character Shikada ‘Coconuts’ Kokonotsu, an aspiring manga author. She only has eyes for Dagashi and is there to convince ‘Coconuts’ to run his father’s Dagashi store so she can take said parental figure to come work for her company. And then there’s the owner of the local café, Endo Saya, Coconuts’ childhood friend who is totally in love with him, but he doesn’t see her as anything other than a good friend. Or does he?

Okay good, so there is a plot. Unrequited love triangles, following your dreams or following tradition. Yeah I can see the appeal. No, sorry, I think you misunderstood; this show is literally… just… about… candy.

But what about all that about running his father’s store and the café owner? I’m sorry, is the show called ‘How To Deal With Parental Expectations and Suddenly Attractive Childhood Friends?’ No, it’s called ‘Dagashi Kashi’ and it’s about candy and Hotaru has NICE OPPAI.

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Are you okay? You seem kind of stressed… Oh, I’m stressed…

Talk to me, why are you stressed? After watching twelve, 25 minute episodes of Dagashi Kashi I feel like I know more about Japanese candy and snacks than I should! I feel like it’s pushed out actually important information out of my brain like how to perform CPR and trigonometry and what my grandmother’s face looked like and has replaced it with the history of milk caramels, how to eat kinako-bou and how to tell the different varieties of fugashi apart while blindfolded!

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Sounds kind of like a series of commercials made into a TV show? Sometimes, yeah! I mean it’s not that it isn’t entertaining. Hotaru makes for a mesmerising ‘host’ of sorts, without her the food segments of this show would be insufferable but she makes them downright charming. Her enthusiasm about dagashi snacks is infectious!

So it is really all about candy. Huh. Then what about all that character stuff you mentioned before? That’s all window dressing. Which is a shame because that’s when the show is at its best, it’s around about the final three episodes when it starts integrating the shameless candy promotion into the narrative much more effectively, at which point it starts to feel like an actual television show. ‘Coconuts’ and Saya have such history and chemistry together that you want them to be together even if Hotaru is…

Best girl? Oh, totally best girl. Even though she is quite possibly the most mentally unstable person in an otherwise pretty grounded universe.

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Any other characters worth mentioning? Wow, it’s almost like this question was planned so I could specifically mention it! Ha ha ha… Yes, Shikada Yo, ‘Coconuts’ father and owner of the Dagashi shop. He is comic relief personified, in all the right ways. There’s seldom a moment where he’s on screen and I’m not at least grinning.

So you recommend the show then? Even with its faults? I may have overstated the so-called ‘stress’ this show caused me. It’s jarring to watch a show and suddenly find yourself in a commercial for candy and snacks, but it’s also within character and within universe, and it’s not nearly as intrusive as it probably sounds. In fact it makes it downright charming, though a part of that is undoubtedly just the Japanese coming off as so sincere and passionate when talking about food. I can’t even imagine this show in English.

It does have an English dub though? I dare you to check it out! Go on, I’ll wait. …Fine.

[Several Minutes Later] How was it? Nope! Never again! Hearing an American talk passionately about food is about as jarring and unnatural as hearing a British person talk about sex or an Australian talk about politics. Just, no!

It’s not as bad as the Food Wars dub though? Ugh, nothing is as bad as that.

So, recommended? Sure! As long as you’re not one of those people who have a conniption over product placement.

Final score? Like a bottle of ramune on a hot summer day, satisfying, not perfect but still pretty damn good. 79 out of 100.

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