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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

I'm still excited for it but have not watched it yet, only because I basically will not watch any serialized show until all the episodes are out. It's still the most I've been interested in a new anime in a long time. But I've been following reviews and don't think I've heard anything but positive reactions, so far, and I'm glad to hear more.

I am baffled by why self-identified anime fans would overlook this, but also I don't follow Anime Discourse at all.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I'm not sure every viewer will get as much out of this as me, since general knowledge about the Late Heian Period/culture, and the Genpei War is going to make a lot of stuff make more sense in general and give you that extra historical appreciation for what is at its heart, a pretty faithful historical drama. But I'm positive most people will enjoy it nonetheless and its themes will be pretty self-evident. If anyone needs a quick breakdown of the historical events of what's going on here or an explanation of some proper nouns, I'm here.
So, I will learn stuff about Japanese History, if I watch this? Well, I'm sold. I'll come back, after having watched what is available to me.

With learning about Japanese History, I just meant about Japan at a specific time frame, not big events.
 
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You will also learn about some very big events, albeit filtered through a popular retelling of those events a few hundred years after they happened, then filtered again through an anime where the viewpoint character is an invented for the show little girl with heterochromia who can see the future (I guess, judging by the trailers). Presumably the viewpoint character is there to some extent as a framing device standing in for how much of the Japanese audience knows how everything plays out, at least in broad strokes.
 
So, I will learn stuff about Japanese History, if I watch this? Well, I'm sold. I'll come back, after having watched what is available to me.
Yes and no. Like, I think it'll be pretty instructional for getting a sense of what this era was like, the kinds of court intrigue that defined this era, the big disconnects between the upper crust of society and everyone else, what the culture of high society was like, etc. But there's a lot going on here that the show kinda assumes the viewer already knows and I'm not sure how a person completely unversed in Japanese history is going to pick up on. Like, in the first episode, you've got mentions/appearances from the Emperor, the Emperor's retainer, and most importantly the 'retired' former Emperor all coexisting to lead the kingdom as the ceremonial head of state, the technical head of state, and the de facto shadow head of state. School children are taught about these things in grade or middle school, and the historical figures featured in the show are historical figures on the level of importance of Abraham Lincoln or Robert E Lee to Japanese history. I still think y'all will be able to follow along with the most important concepts/ideas in a broad sense just by paying attention to context clues but there's gonna be a lot of nuance that'll slip past most ppl.
 
The one negative I've heard is that people unfamiliar with the source material do feel a bit lost.

That being said, The Tale of Heike is extremely engaging as far as medieval literature goes and both major English translations are good (Helen MucCullough is earlier and more prosaic, Royall Tyler is fairly recent and tries to emphasize the poetic/performative quality more). Worst comes to worst, you either glance at some wikis to fill in the gaps or are inspired to read a classic of world literature!
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Yeah, I didn't know about this book, up to now. And now I want it. I tend to read books, instead of watching their movie/series version. Still will watch the Anime, but, uh, really want the book now.

Thanks for the infos, both of you. I'll report back, whenever I've watched the show, or parts of it.
 
The one negative I've heard is that people unfamiliar with the source material do feel a bit lost.
I don't really think knowledge of the source material (either one) is necessary. Shows like this aren't made for audiences with that in mind. They're usually made to expose other people to a story they wouldn't otherwise have been exposed to. But a rudimentary understanding of Japanese history and culture of the time period, as well as basic Buddhist precepts is going to get you 95% of the way. But ya, without any of this, following the events or social cues between characters is gonna be a challenge but not impossible. And even if everything flies completely over your head, it's still a story that, at its core, is fairly simple and easy to follow with regards to this POV character who grew up on the streets exploring the upper crust of society during a time of political turmoil and upheaval. The characters are very expressive and their emotions and thought are very plainly written on their faces and in how they carry themselves. And even failing all that, it's just a gorgeous show you can become engrossed in just marveling at the visual spectacle of the craft being demonstrated.

It's been a long time since I read the original Heike Monogatari, and then it was only chunks of it for my survey classes in college. Reading historical literature like this is great, but I have a really hard time recommending it in earnest to people who 1) don't have a background in doing historical analysis and 2) aren't tempering what they're reading with other sources and/or commentaries. Reading stories like these is often like going into Shakespeare raw. Where all the colorful euphemisms go right over the average reader's heads, or the lack of understanding the historical/cultural context this was written in can lead to wildly different and less correct readings of what's going on in the story. And this is especially true for a language like Japanese that is inherently vague with tons of meaning and implications that lay between the margins. And that is before you get to the idea that most tales of valor and war from this period are all filtered through the lens of people with varied agendas. I'll never forget a history professor reading an account of a noble battle in this time period that made the whole thing seem heroic and bombastic and superb. But then he methodically broke down how the gushing river at the site of the battle IRL is better described as a babbling brook (showing us what it looked like with a slide). And how once you peel away the elaborate prose and self-aggrandizements of these Bushi, that the events of the battle were essentially one small group of soldiers making a big spooky racket in the woods and scaring the other soldiers away.

I might write up a short primer for this show later when I have time and if there's interest.

I caught up to the 2nd and 3rd episodes last night/this morning. One thing I really appreciate about this show is how much of an emphasis it's putting on showing the female perspectives of this time. It's very easy for period pieces - especially Japanese ones - to just ignore the existence of women or the roles they had in shaping these stories. I've got no clue who to accredit this for, I know that's definitely a big emphasis of the director historically.
 
Reading stories like these is often like going into Shakespeare raw.

In this particular case, I don't think this is an apt comparison, unless you are reading the original (=untranslated) text.

Both translations are written in modern and accessible English and come with very helpful explanatory material. You of course have to be the kind of person who enjoys reading classical literature in translation in the first place, but the linguistic barrier to entry is pretty low relative to Shakespeare, because the translator has done the bulk of that work for you. It's more like reading Gilgamesh or Beowolf or Medea or The Illiad translated into English, which can range from extremely easy to extremely hard, depending on the translator's (and the editor's) approach.

In this case, both of the major English translations are closer to what people in nerd culture spaces think of as "localizations" than "literal translations." (In other words, they are both good translations that value readability in modern English.) You will lose something in translation either way, and someone familiar with the original text will always be able to explain something that was lost, but that's not due to some unique vagueness of Japanese or even classical Japanese or Heike in particular but just the nature of all translation.

If you are reading the original text, then it becomes akin to reading Shakespeare in English. Although, even then, Heike is one of the easier to read classical works and a common recommendation for students learning to read classical Japanese grammar. (The situation is a little different because classical Japanese grammar is more different from modern Japanese than Shakespeare's English is from modern English, but on the other hand you have to formally learn classical Japanese grammar in the Japanese educational system or in an upper division class at a serious university language program, so it's kind of a wash...)

Personally, I think Tale of Heike is a pretty easy recommendation, if you the kind of person with an interest in reading major world classics in translation. And that's not everyone, but it's some people.

If you just want to watch this cartoon, probably skim some wikis when you feel lost. The information is out there. But if the cartoon is getting you interested in the source material and it seems up your alley, you could do worse things with your time than to give it a shot! It's a pretty engaging read, I think.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Crunchyroll nicely put the Demon Slayer: Mugen Train “film” on their service before the new season starts, and I watched it. I feel sorry for the millions of regular Japanese folks who went to see this movie and where totally confused when they were met with a bunch of episodes of a short story arc, clumped together, from a perfectly fine shonen action show, instead of a real movie.

Demon Slayer is an odd property to me. It’s been the biggest thing in manga and anime for a couple years now, but will anyone look back on it fondly in ten years?
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
New season and I finally finished watching my first bunch of first episodes

Platinum End

The Premise
A teenager tries to commit suicide and is save by an angel who promises to protect him forever. Sounds generic anime enough (particular 90s and 2000s) but it turns out that in order to convince him not to commit suicide she is offering him fantastic superpowers: wings that can allow him to fly and an arrow that makes people fall in love with him. He accepts (though rightly thinks there's something pretty sketchy about making people fall in love) and the angel reveals to him that his abusive guardians are responsible for his parent's and brother's murder. He verifies the truth but things soon go sideways. Still, he decides he wants to live and learn to be happy... but learns he might be in competition with 12 other people with similar powers.
It Gud?
It... promising. Going in, you should know this is from the same creative team as Death Note and in some ways it shows, even though this feels like an intended counterpoint. Instead of a born amoral teen is a traumatized teen who immediately starts questioning the morals of one of his two super-powers (though he does end up using it twice). Instead of being teamed up with a monster who seems as happy to watch our hero fail as succeed is an angel who is looking out for him... but seems completely divorced from human morals, cheerily suggesting murder and mind control to solve his problems with no sense of intended malice.

Now, I get why people either turned on or never liked Death Note. It's not that there weren't edgelord show's before but I feel like it inspired a lot of smug, self-satisfied antihero series (I mean both the hero AND the series itself has these qualities) that I could do without. It also made the mistake of outstaying it's welcome (I'm more forgiving of the latter half than most but ending earlier probably would have been better). But I really did like Death Note for when it had genuinely clever twists and plots, even if it's overly complicated inner-monologues were ripe for parody. It was a fun ride,

Platinum End doesn't seem as clever, unfortunately. It's nice that the main character seems less of a dick (for now, at any rate) but it really does seem to want to shock and while it doesn't touch a lot of the more abysmal edgelord series in that regard, its not all entirely successful and so far the series just isn't presenting itself as having cool twists. But it also does introduce an instant kill attack, meaning hopefully there will be complex plans and such. I also like that the angel is pretty quick to reveal herself as a questionable guide, with conventional human morality completely alien to her, even is she knows the rules of human society. I could do with fewer shots of her butt. We get a lot of those. It was well animated and moved briskly and is so far an easy watch. I do hope it meets its potential and I do fear that it will rely too much on the love-based mind control. I'm not opposed to the corruption of the lead character but I do hope for something with more nuance than Light Yagami in showing how power can corrupt. So I'll stick with this one an pray for it to keep my interest.

Takt Op.Destiny

The Premise

A Quiet Place as an adventure series with super powers and music. Basically, it's a future were people can't play music because monsters.
It Gud?
Certainly better than I expected. Usually when I give Based on a Mobile Game a shot, well, it's pretty easy to say it's at best going to not be worst. Takt is certainly better than it's title. And the animation is actually quite pretty, even if the character design says "based on a mobile game". But it does have actual style in some scenes, the animation looks like time and money was spent on it compared to most cash grab series and it was very easy to watch. Yes, it has a lot of mythos but it never bogs the series down with it, which a lot of game-based anime seem to LOVE to do, like we are going to be really into long scenes of exposition and game mechanics.

It's not without it's weaknesses. The characters are a bit fun in their quirkiness but even their quirkiness, though realized well enough, isn't unique. It's probably going to be a monster of the week show for a while and while there's nothing wrong with that, it might risk losing interest. But it breezes by quickly enough and I was never bored at this stage and found the fights pretty compelling.

The strongest element are the little things. Probably my favourite element is a background detail, a piano that has written on it "play me again some day". I really like that because I think it spells out the world and the stakes. Music isn't "necessary" but it is important to us for our emotional well-being and the characters yearn for the day when music can be a part of their lives again. It's an element I really like and though I expect the series to stay at a place of mid-tier watchable, more little touches like that is going to go a long way to getting me invested.

Mieruko-Chan

The Premise
Mieruko is a normal teen girl who one day starts seeing horrifying ghosts. Her only defense... pretend she doesn't see them so that they will eventually leave her alone.
It Gud?
I read the manga half a year ago and while I had issues, I really liked the "game" of the series; a cutely-drawn girl tries desperately to ignore upsettingly-drawn ghosts. It's farce with genuine comedy and genuine horror as she reaches her mental limits trying to ignore monsters while carrying on conversations with friends and just living her life. I really like this premise and I feel like it often pulls it off well. And yet, I wasn't enamoured with this series.

The problem isn't the adaptation. I was afraid it would tone down the upsetting monster designs which I feel are very much key but mostly the translation to screen goes well. I do have mixed feelings about the length as the comics are often rather short and read quick while this is a half-hour show. But I feel like it tries to ratchet up the tension and it does start with a slow burn I don't mind for introducing the character (I believe the first scene of the source material happens at the midpoint of the anime, with her almost immediately seeing a ghost). I feel like it has proper discordant sound and subtly that works in it's favour.

But for whatever reason, it just didn't grab me in motion. Part of this simply because, well, while I liked the game, I vaguely remember not liking everything about it, more focused on the fun of the "game" element. I didn't mind it but I wasn't laughing all the time or anything. More than that is one thing I do remember not liking from the source material: boy is this a male-gaze heavy show. Like, it's way too thirsty for it's own good. It might be the element that tips me into not being to interested in reading it. So I'm going to say it's not without merit, but it is ogling a lot. Like, too much. More than the show were we saw a lot of angel ass. I was on the fence but I won't stick with this one.


The World's Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat

The Premise:

I mean... there's nothing left for me to say.

It Gud?
So when the show starts, we have 14 year olds with large breasts in revealing dresses and in chains while old men buy them in an auction. So you know what kind of show we are going for. Now, to be fair, most of this is generic but quite watchable. It is about an old assassin doing one last job and telling his sidekick she isn't ready, only for him to be betrayed by the very organization who created him. It's nothing unique but I do like the grumpy old assassin archetype. Unfortunately, he's going to become what appears to be a smug kid who is good at everything because 70% of the genre now is smug guy and 95% is about them being super amazing at a particular thing with that making them the most amazing character ever and having only the most superficial "flaws" for the story to dig into. And look, I don't need all my characters to have "flaws", it's an overused complaint about Superman and it's dumb to me because "yeah, but he is still brave because is is not afraid to be vulnerable and compassionate even when it is hard". But with a lot of the characters in these series being a certain level of author-insert, it gets pretty tiring. My feel is the show is going to be far less watchable going forward, especially with the lead surrounded by busty teens and also he is a teen now. Not a bad first episode but it was also kind enough to present it's red flags.

The Faraway Paladin

The Premise
Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book but isekai for no reason.
It Gud?
Hmm... maybe. It's definitely not bad at all. But the first episode is a lot of slow tone setting, which based on the intro looks like it will change over time. Like, it looks like it will go from high fantasy slice of life to a genuine adventure. If it is to stay were it is, it is a nice enough watch but I don't think I would have any desire to keep going. I like the idea of a hero raised by sweethearted undead (which is also the origin story of Hyunkel, the awkwardly named character from Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai) but there's strongly compelling yet to me. I like the characters well enough but they don't grab me in any strong way, sadly. Still, if they all get more of an adventure context, I could see it being more compelling. I like slice of life well enough but for whatever reason, in that gear, this premise holds my interest in the most tenuous way.

The show's biggest sin is making it an isekai. Not that I hate all isekai, though I have strong feelings about the fact that way too many are about people whose personal problems are solved with their own death and magically being whisked away to be a super-hero, implying that if you are having trouble with your life, death is the answer. It's... weird. But beyond that, it seems to have zero impact on the actual story. Why can't he just be a foundling with talent. I feel like the author isn't that invested either and this was an editorial mandate to try to connect to a popular and very subgenre. It really didn't need it and that element makes me feel like it's shy about trying to be unique and doesn't have faith in the real core of it's premise, a coming of age tale.

And as a coming of age tale... I feel like it is too early to tell. I want to give this one more of a chance to get its cards on the table and show what kind of show it is. Is it an adventure show? Will it remain something closer to slice of life with a journey element? Will is be a series of villains or an episodic town to town tale of personal discovery. I'll give this one a chance but if my interest level remains the same in the next one, I will probably drop it.

Banished from the Hero's Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside

The Premise?
No, it's not an isekai, technically but also it is in it's heart. Basically, a high fantasy side character is asked to sideline himself for the real hero, his sister. He resigns and decides to live a quiet life in the countryside, where he decides to open an apothecary.
It Gud?
It's not bad but I'm not particularly interested in going forward. If you want a modestly animate slice of life series in a high fantasy world, it's got what you need. There's no reincarnation but there is a protagonist who is amazing but underappreciated by everyone (JUST LIKE ME THE AUTHOR AND YOU THE READER!) so basically same ballpark. It's a pleasant enough little series in a similar tone to say, The Saint's Power is Omnipotent, save there's less romance with a very bland dude and more implications of "they'll miss me when I'm gone". And even that last thing makes it sound worse than it actually is in practice. Granted, the OP wants us to be very clear that the protagonist's new friend has breasts but apart from that, there's nothing too bothersome about this one. I'm just not all that interested in continuing.

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

The Premise:
In an alternate history Earth (mostly place names and crosses for some reason), vampires exist... and are necessary for the space race. Desperate to get the first man in space before the west without sacrificing a "hero" cosmonaut, they intend to test things on a vampire lady first, and a man who wants to be a cosmonaut is charged with guarding her.
It Gud?
It surprisingly dull, so far. Things really haven't gotten started so I'm willing to give it one more episode but the fact is this very wild premise results in a very talky show and I'm not that interested in the characters. Once the table setting is done, it could pick up and there's a fun visual in the opening credits of a rocket shooting out a satellite shooting out a coffin shooting out the main character. But I just don't have any feel for the characters and their growing relationship.


The Vampire Dies in No Time


The Premise:

Draluc is considered to be the most immortal vampire and that's... sort of true. In fact, he's remarkably easy to kill but he constantly resurrects after being killed by open doors, rich food or even being mildly surprised. He ends up meeting Ronaldo, a vampire hunter who feels that he needs to spend more time self-promoting than doing his actual vampire hunting, since that's what pays the bills. After an altercation leave Draluc without a mansion, he invites himself into Ronaldo's business, using it as a place to stay.
It Gud?
It is very much a gag manga and mostly it works. The humour is sort of a fun, traditional thing but it is funny for the most part. In this respect, it is reminding me of Sleepy Princess and while I don't like it quite as much, I could see it being as strong if it gets into a stronger rhythm and endears us to these goofballs a bit more. But if not, it's still a solid and competent little piece of humour and I also need to say so far it has the OP I like the most.


I'll also say that I like that there's an armadillo sidekick, which I'm taking as a fun reference to this baffling moment in the classic Dracula movie.

Visual Prison

The Premise:
Remember Hypnosis Mic? No? But... but I wrote an entire thread about it.

......

......

OK, well that was about technologically enhanced rap battles across the greater Tokyo metropolis. This is the same thing but it's vampires having Visual Kei battles across Tokyo.
It Gud?
Look, Hypnosis Mic was so ridiculous, I had to see all of it. And Visual Prison was kind of the same. There's almost no time for the show to actually give the plot. It's just "guy listens to his favourite visual kei band while on a walk, sees an impromptu visual kei performance, turns out it's vampires that look like angels with microphone swords who turn the audience into... little balls of light? And I don't know if that's a literal thing or a metaphor. And then another band of vampire shows up and sings their song with mannequins (the mannequin song is better). Then another vampire shows up and rescues the main character, we find out he's a dhampir and part of some contest with a nebulous prize and he's going to have to start a band.

I mean, if you like the genre of visual kei, a sort of pop opera fusion, then this is for you.
This show is every bit as ridiculous as Hypnosis Mic, a stupid show I liked to watch. It takes its premise seriously, it's better animated and it's pretty easy to watch despite it being full of the kind of tortured vampire posturing I find kind of dull. I think it's a better Hypnosis Mic and it's weird confusing premise is as laughably goofy. And yet, I have no desire to watch more. Oh, I liked watching it well enough but for whatever reason, I was like "OK, that was fun. I think that's all I need." It's not the show's fault. I just had my fill.

BTW, here are the other songs, if you want 'em.


Taisho Otome Fairy Tale

The Premise:
In the Taisho era, a car accident costs a young man the use of his dominant hand and the use of his mom (due to her being dead). Disowned by his family, he now lives in a remote house by himself. A woman appears revealing that she's going to be his fiancée and soon the man who declared himself a pessimist starts to open up to this new person in his life.
It Gud?
It OK for now. It is a bit questionable to have a romance about a girl sold to a guy to pay her families' debts (and a three year age difference, which is kind of a lot in the teenage years) but if you can compartmentalize the values of the era (and whether or not they are being promoted by the creator), it is a cute little show. Oh, it's pretty well-trodden ground with a girl who refuses to be down even with her had life situation is a well-worn female anime protagonist. But as a whole, it's a sweet little comfort food of a show and I don't mind sticking with it.

Still about 9 more shows left to watch! Will be back with more at a future date.
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
So, uh, some old school MTG fan working on that property?
I mean, title is Black Lotus and first line of the trailer is "I gave the people manna"....
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Whew aside from two latecomers, I've finally caught up with most of the anime I decided to try for the season.

"Deji" Meets Girl

The Premise:
A girl working in a hotel in Okinawa meets a boy renting a room... who is surrounded by fish.
It Gud?
This is so short, there's not really a lot to judge here. It's not bad. It's watchable enough. But at two minutes, it is quite slight.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window


The Premise:
A guy can see ghosts and another guy tells him they can use their combined psychic powers to exorcise them by hitting his spiritual cum button.
It Gud?
Look, I've seen psychic Boy's Love series before. It's not perfect, but Pet was a pretty good series about a guy trapped in a toxic relationship among a psychic gangster war. But this one is kind of a mix of hilariously ridiculous and unfortunately problematic. Let's start with the problematic element; that the series starts with a character kind of forcing his psychic power on the co-lead in a non-consensual metaphor for sex. Once they are more or less both in it's a little better but clearly one of the members still more dominant and forceful towards the other so that's not so cool. Yes, there was that element with the aforementioned Pet but that also was very much about agency.

One thing I did like is that it doesn't beat around the bush very long. What starts as a very clear metaphor... well, the metaphor quickly fades away. They describe their psychic union as "erotic" and it is clear both of them are getting pleasure from touching their souls. It becomes just plain text and I kind of appreciate that it isn't dancing around it with saucy analogies, especially because if this was a better show, it feels likes it could simply start talking about the characters relationship and sex used to process horror. Of course, this isn't an entirely healthy relationship (it's definitely implied one of the two is a little less trustworthy than the other) but it doesn't necessarily need to be to explore. But unfortunately, I think the show might be more interested in the sexiness of their spiritual orgasms.

And finally, there's a lot of elements that are hilarious, though not by intent (I think). The title is certainly silly and self-important but beyond that there's the fact that early in the series, the manager of a book store IMMEDIATELY buys into the series mythos as it is explained to him with no evidence. "I'm a psychic and your employee can see ghosts". "Oh, wow, cool." It's ridiculous and I kind of love it. The blond guy also has a weird laugh in one scene and while I think it is supposed to show he's slightly off, it just comes off as hilarious. The show is not to be recommended and whatever interesting ideas it has are kind of pushed aside by it's negatives but the sillier elements were memorable, at least.

Puraore! Pride of Orange

The Premise:
An embroidery club decides to try ice hockey, unaware that the coach of the would be team also wants to make them an idol group.
It Gud?
Going into this one, I was not prepared for the idol group angle. Boy was that introduction where they win the finals between themselves and Canada then smash cut to idol number a left turn. More so when it turns out that... we just watched what I assume is the end of the series? I get starting at the last game but not necessarily the win plus a pop song. Don't you save that for later? Then the series slows it's role and starts at the embroidery club.

I'll say about half way in, I liked the show a bit more after a while. It establishes a lot of stuff that doesn't seem particularly important and feels like it could be done down the line. But once the premise is "coach wants to shoe horn an idol group angle into her hockey team", there's a little more fun, particularly during a "stretch" scene that's kind of cute. And I will say, the actual hockey playing animation looks good despite the fact that most of the series looks rather modest.

In the end, though, my problem with this series is my problem with a lot of "cute girls doing cute things" shows... the girls go into their lives but none of them seem to have particularly distinct personalities. One is slightly outgoing, one... looks at her friends and is happy (as if in the next scene she is about to die tragically), and one... has pig tales and is slightly less smiley. One of the things I like a lot about sports series are people with different personalities and outlooks coming together but there's not a lot of tension or chemistry here and I don't have a strong reason to continue. If you just want a light sports show, this isn't bad, but it lacks something to make me interested in returning to this world.
Tesla Note

The Premise:
A girl trained from birth to be a ninja spy discovers that she is needed to hunt down the "Shards of Tesla" after an incident causes a train to crash from a portal in the sky. She teams up with an arrogant mail spy and the two must solves mysteries and help people.
It Gud?
Look, I feel like I'm kinder than a lot of anime viewers towards CG anime. Some of them look quite good. Drifting Dragons, Beastars, Batman Ninja, I like them quite a bit and thing the animation is actually quite good. So it is amazing that there are so many shows like Ex-Arm, that one Ghost in the Shell show and Berserk that look like such hot messes, it is ridiculous. Tesla Note is pretty bad all across the board. It's a show that on occasion uses cheap flat animation but most of it use CG and neither look good.


Tesla Note looks like a PS2 cute scene without the charm. It looks like they asked a VTuber to make an entire animated series all by themselves. This feels like the cheap modern equivalent of roto-scoping without the charm of those wonky looking 80s movies where they did that. And worse, the source material is not doing the show any favours. The comedy is unfunny, the characters lack charm and I don't care for the "shards of Tesla" element. I'm sure there is someone who likes Tesla Note and I feel sorry for them. I don't think I would like any adaptation but I feel like the bad animation and direction hurts the series even more, meaning people who would enjoy this get to see the series they like turned into a nightmare of a show.

My favourite accidentally hilarious moment is at the very end when we see some mystery man make a grand proclamation which is obscured by the fact that at the exact same time a narrator spouts whatever words appear beside him, making a complete aural mess and a perfect symbol for the complete mess this show is.

Rumble Garanndoll

The Premise:
In the near future, Japan has been conquered by the True Japan Faction and their giant robots. Those standing against them in Akihabara; a giant robot. But not just anyone can pilot it... only a NERD can give it the proper power it needs. And that nerd is a host club worker who doesn't want to admit to his nerdly tastes.
It Gud?
Nah. There are things I like about it and things I don't but I'm definitely leaning to the latter on this one. It is a series that seems to be keeping the nature of what happened to the world unclear, save that nerd stuff is not illegal and only nerds can save the day. Overall, I tend to be nervous about such pandering, much in the same way that so many current isekai's are about shut in otakus who finally get to live again by dying. Though there aren't many specific references, it goes very much in the same direction.

I will say to it's benefit, I wouldn't call it's attitude smug, which I feel like it easily could have been. Clearly, whoever made this does want to say "loving a thing is fun but we get more out of it when we love it together", which I kind of like. But overall, I find the majority of the humour didn't work for me and while the animation isn't bad, it didn't stick with me. I do like that they went with a "cuter" feel for the robots (the bad guy bots look like they came out of Samurai Pizza Cats). But overall, I think I bounced off more than I liked.

I also think it's not the best sign when the only female heroine (so far, I'm sure the bad guy in the ep defects at some point, simply by virtue of character design and attitude) is a "battery girl" who... can't control the robot very well and is limited to powering the robot by getting pumped up about nerd stuff. Again, I like the idea of messaging that says "like what you like and don't let others make you feel less for it," but it also puts the female co-lead in a kind of cheerleader position rather than someone providing a more active role in the series.

Muteking the Dancing Hero

The Premise
In Neo San Francisco, a new kid named Muteki comes to town in time to see a popular company called Octinq debuting new products such as Taco Taco, the octopus taco shop. But a DJ named DJ tells him to stay away and soon learns Octinq is using it's power to turn people into inky goo. The only way to turn them back? Turning into a dancing superhero!
It Gud?
It... I think I won't keep up with it but I also think it's good. Muteking is actually a (somewhat loose, I think) reboot of an older kids show of a similar name.
I can't speak to the original but this is clearly a show aimed at a somewhat younger audience with monsters of the week and a transformation sequence and elements that feel merchandisable. But this isn't Mazica Party, a similar type of show I had a hard time tolerating. Muteking, on the other hand, is doing a lot of things right. I like the look and character designs a lot. I can understand someone feeling blinded by the ultra-colorful look but this is a series that feels indebted to the 80s but is about now, more or less. In fact, there's so much 80s that the episode's first scene has Plastic Love playing on the radio! (nice touch). But it never feels obnoxious in trying to feel of an era and actually creates a nice looks.

I like the designs of the characters a lot, a nice mix of American culture and classic anime, and there are a lot of jokes that legit work, including a sweet-hearted waitress who only seems to know how to serve cream sodas. I like that the main character's best friend implies that he's fucking the main character's aunt (I'm sure it's more innocent but I hope they don't spell it out because my headcanon is they fuck). The villain, a CEO named Ceo Eight, is fun. This show exudes fun. Even the end credits might be my favourite of the season, styled as an 80s comic book.

And yet, despite my glowing review... I don't think I want to continue. I liked what I saw but I feel like the shine might wear off for me. I don't dislike formula (I still love the shonen formulas) but I feel like a monster of the week show is something I'm less interested in now. But if you aren't, I'm going to say give this one a try. This show is doing a lot of stuff I like and if you think it's going to maintain your interest for the run, all the more reason!

Blue Period


The Premise
A young man with good grades and good friends seems to have it all. But his ties to his friends and homework require a lot of effort and not letting them who he really is. When he sees a painting in the art room, he's moved by it and begins to consider art and find value in it as he becomes drawn to expressing himself.
It Gud?
I love series about a process and Blue Period is very much about that. It's why I like sports series, as they are often about developing strength and techniques and figuring them out. But Blue Period also does a great job developing it's lead. He isn't the most showy character with a supremely unique personality but there's a lot going on in his story. There are a lot of shows about "guy great at everything" that rub me the wrong way but here we have someone who wants to be great at everything, puts in the work and does it but finds it hollow. He loves his friends and puts effort into maintaining his friendship but he never expresses his real self, instead just going on with what he wants to do. He works himself to the bone with his homework so he can get into a good university but wonders what it is for.

His journey is about the value of self-expression and when it comes to that, he does have some skill and is thoughtful but has a long way to go. This is the character I like but I feel like it is treated with a level of quiet thoughtfulness not often found in those stories. And I also think the series does a good job illustrating the world he wants to express as he becomes interested in showing how he can share his vision with the world.

This is one of the first series that Netflix seems to be doing weekly, a thing they should have been doing for a while now. Yeah, it's a couple weeks behind but frankly I can live with that. But more than that, it's definitely one of the stronger series they are producing and the kind I would like to see more of. I want to see this characters journey and learning different techniques and most importantly, the joy of sharing something in a way he can't simply through talking. This is probably tied for show I'm most looking forward to continuing this season. Here's the other one.

The Heike Story


The Premise
In old Japan, the Heike clan is implanted itself into the highest positions of governmental power and are the most influential. But one member of the family is not so cocksure of the family's standing, in part due to his humanity but also due to his ability to see the dead. When he meets a young girl, he discovers two things; his family is responsible for her father's death and that she can see the future. Deciding to take responsibility for her, he brings her into his own family. Meanwhile, he is also hoping he can convince her to use her future vision to help his clan avoid tragedy, which she is understandably unwilling to do.


It Gud?
The Heike Story promises to be an epic in probably the best possible way: we are introduced to a lot of characters and there is likely to be a lot of moving parts and characters and trickery. But it zeroes in on two characters to tell a very human story; a father who feels the need to protect his clan despite the fact they they have a solipsistic world view and are shits. But the show still manages to sell him as someone we like, even if is plans are in favour of continuing a toxic status quo.

Meanwhile, Biwa, the female co-lead, is finding as awful as the family is, there are good people in it and some worth saving, which is likely to make for some great drama down the line. The entire thing feels like a traditional Japanese drama but goosed in a way to keep it lively. It's got this driving rock soundtrack along with it's traditionalist music and I feel like the storytelling is working the same way. It's antiquity and political nature doesn't distance us from the humanity and story telling that is actually fairly easy to follow in the broad sense, even if there are specifics that are likely to be lost on me.

I've yet to be disappointed with a Science Saru joint and this is one that might be one of their best looking series yet. I feel it's look actually lacks a little of the uniqueness of some of the other series, but it still isn't conventionally and definitely feels like it following it's own path in telling what I assume is a well known story. And I feel like a lot of tales work better from being told again and again, as there can be new ideas to be found. And I feel like whatever I've missed from previous tellings that this isn't a retread, this is something fresh and fascinating.

 
Aside from somehow getting into Digimon: Ghost Game, the only other show I'm actually enjoying is The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made. Now, the premise is straight out of the isekai handbook: A group of kids get sucked into a fantasy world and they have to defeat the demon king. And like others, our hero Seiichi is separated from the rest and has to survive on his own. Of course, Seiichi is an overweight, smelly guy who was bullied, which his BO turns out to his advantage as the first monster that tries to kill him dies due to his stench. He then survives five months by himself by eating 10 fruits of evolution (see what they did there?) and evolving into a perfect human. Oh and he meets a giant red gorilla named Saria, who happens to be a female and evolves herself into a buxom lady. As we can see from the opening and closing, Seiichi eventually winds up with a harem and this story is how he gets it.

So, is it good? Mostly. It's an isekai that is aware enough that it knows it's mostly silly and leans into that. It reminds me of Arifureta, only I'm not getting into a frothing rage when I watch it. It helps that Seiichi isn't an asshole and is a decent enough guy. Also, not having a "she's really hundreds of years old so it's ok" loli is a plus.
 
In this week's episode, it's nice for the uninitiated that Heike Monogatari is spelling out a few of its themes a little more directly, but it's fascinating, enthralling, and simultaneously heart breaking to see these characters - many simply born in the wrong eras - grapple with the slow dissolvement of the Imperial Court and all the pleasantries of polite society as the dawn of the Feudal Era in Japan brings the Bushi class to the forefront of Japanese politics as its main drivers. My Japanese history is a little rusty, but a lot of the personal characterizations of historical figures are also fascinating. For example, it's interesting to see Minamoto no Yoritomo being characterized as sort of dim and already a patsy to his Tojo retainers.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’m not sure there’s any show in the history of the television medium where “Skip Intro” was more of a threat than Cowboy Bebop.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
1st ep of Komi Can't Communicate: sweet and touching, and it seems nicely animated, and I appreciate that social anxiety is handled in a sensitive way. Though I can't help but wonder what this story might be like if Komi weren't the most gorgeous girl in school.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
A few days ago, I found out about Les Miserables: Shoujo Cossette, the Anime version of Les Miserable. I never read the book (still intending to do so), but really wanted to give the show a try. Watched the first two episodes, they were excellent. I don't know how it compares to the book, of course, but it feels like a faithful adaptation. I only wished it wouldn't follow the trope of making the good people handsome and the bad people ugly. But that's really my only complaint.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I meant to wait until I had TWO more show to talk about but it's too long

Ranking of Kings

The Premise:
Due to being born deaf and being quite small, Prince Booji, next in line to the thrown, is seen as a poor inheritor to the thrown of his father, a literal giant of a man. But Booji is also kind, gentle and a little more observant than he lets on. Though he keeps a brave face, he knows he is seen as an object of mockery and derision from the people of the kingdom. But despite this, he presses on, making friends with a prickly shadow creature who just wants him for his lavish clothes. But perhaps he's been underestimated too much, because he has a strength and ability few people know about.
It Gud?
Ranking of Kings might be the most emotionally invested I am with a series this season. I really like the low key drama of Blue Period and the epic yet intimate ambition of The Heike Story, but Ranking of Kings had me very early on. I had hopes when I watched the trailer, expecting a sweet fairy tale and that is in there. What I wasn't expecting is it soon becomes clear that this is a shounen. No, there's no "chi" powers (yet) or exposition heavy info dumps about how the world works but with its giant dad (who is ranked as #7), sword fighting, characters with unique abilities (shadow body, snake control), it's clear the kind of road it's going down.

And yet, while it feels in line with the shounen adventure formula, it also feels like it's own thing. It's not deeply quirky or anything, but rather it feels gentler, with a softer look but also a deeply emotional story about a boy wanting to overcome his limitations and the ableist views of the kingdom. Even the people who love him have little faith in him, like his sword master. So seeing him has a moment of victory by the episodes end feels really earned on an emotional level. It's a series that in the telling of it's story sells a tale that I feel in many ways has been sold before.

It's definitely nice to see representation of the deaf in a shounen series. I feel like blindness isn't uncommon for a side character given Daredevil-like abilities but hearing impairment feels less so and to have a protagonist who communicates with sign language is a nice change. But it wouldn't work if the story wasn't effective and it definitely has drawn me in. I'm very much looking forward to seeing Booji and his weird shadow friend come closer together and help prove himself to be a worthy king.

I'm also going to say it's light poppy opening has been stuck in my head lately.

 
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