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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

In the manga Knives big debut is not just about how he's powerful and scary. It's also about how VASH is powerful and scary. So instead of wrecking shit himself, he takes control of Vash's plant powers and forces him form a giant fuckoff cannon to destroy the entire city. Vash responds by ripping his human arm out of his plant body, and shooting Knives through his own leg. Knives crumples, Vash redirects his magic arm at the moon, the city still gets fucked up, but nowhere near as bad as it would have been.

This tells us a LOT about both characters!
I don't remember much about the manga anymore for it to be a frame of reference, but the spirit of this scene kind of happens later in the show in last week's episode. And while it doesn't do the same thing or say the same things, I think it works. At least, for me. But a lot of this stuff works for me in ways that it doesn't for you so ymmv.

I... didn't buy it. Vash was doing everything he could for the kid, he had no way of knowing what the kid's mom was gonna do to him, and appeared to be sincere in his intention to return and help the kid however he could. The horrible fate that befell him isn't really Vash's fault.
I feel like the whole point of this scene wasn't to belittle or criticize Vash, but to just show the kind of guy he is - which is someone who would blame himself for this even though he - as you note - isn't really at fault here or did anything wrong. But that at least was my takeaway. Every person he can't save, he bears that weight emotionally.

And ya, I will echo the sentiment that these are fun write ups to read, and I appreciate your attempts at trying to stay objective too.


Yes, that Russian author.
To Your Eternity ended its second season well, and set up well for its (confirmed) 3rd. It's been a great show to follow.

Johnny Unusual

To Your Eternity ended its second season well, and set up well for its (confirmed) 3rd. It's been a great show to follow.
Agreed. I liked this season a little less in the second half but in part because I assumed we were heading to the end game which would just be a big battle, albeit one with very high concept stuff. But man, that last episode was powerful stuff and the direction for season three looks perfectly nuts. It's like they took what would be a logical endpoint and asked "OK, sure but what happens after that" and that is very exciting to me.


Yes, that Russian author.
I was a big fan of the literalization of flying in nine men's morris as a possible battle tactic for Fushi. That was some excellent writing.
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Okay. So somehow I algorithmed myself to watch Demon slayer entertainment district arc and it is 11 episodes covered what is essentially 7 of those episodes involves 2 fights; I am sure story arcs are more involved than start the setting, find the problem, spend about 2/3s of the allotted time sword battling said problem, end (question mark).

Is this what shounen battle anime is nowadays? Always been? Am I just old?


(But it is pretty to watch tho)

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Okay. So somehow I algorithmed myself to watch Demon slayer entertainment district arc and it is 11 episodes covered what is essentially 7 of those episodes involves 2 fights; I am sure story arcs are more involved than start the setting, find the problem, spend about 2/3s of the allotted time sword battling said problem, end (question mark).

I’m glad someone else thought this, as well. The season does does barely anything with the setting of a red light district and the toll on it’s inhabitants. It is just dress up the underage main characters as girls to infiltrate sex house, immediately find the demon lady, fight a demon lady, fight a demon lady’s outfit, then fight another demon that Sekiros out of her, fight them both, Sad Backstory, Credits. One of the biggest cartoons on the planet.

I hope the next arc has a story to go along with the whiz-bang action.
The season does barely anything with the setting of a red light district and the toll on it’s inhabitants.
That's just the show's entire MO, and honestly, shounen demographic shows in general. I was excited when Demon Slayer first came out because a Taisho Era show should be really interesting. But the show might as well have taken place in any time period because they didn't do a single thing with the setting beyond some set-dressing on occasion. Then I remembered what kind of show I was watching and adjusted my expectations down severely. You've gotta be a real outlier, or just leave that entire demo behind if you want something that actually uses and explores the setting in a meaningful way.


I will write a proper post about this eventually, but Trigun Stampede is OKAY.

And that sucks. Because with everything they had at their disposal, they could have made something AMAZING.

But alas. What we got was okay. 6/10. "Not bad I guess."

Octopus Prime

Gundam Wing has perhaps one of the most romantic meet-cutes, with Heero and Relena, in the entire Gundam series

In the course of 25 minutes;

He seriously considers shooting her shuttle out of the sky for his own benefit
She attempts to rescue him from an apparent drowning, he responds by covering his face, attempting to kill them both with a fail-safe bomb before running away
They meet again at school, she offers him an invitation to her birthday and he rips it up and informs her that he will kill her.

And she, intrigued, says "What kind of man is he?"
Just finished watching the finale for Trigun Stampede. Kinda don't have a lot of words right now to describe it, other than 'wow'. That was just crazy awesome. I really hope this team gets to explore this version of Trigun more. And also I'm just really happy for Studio Orange. Land of the Lustrous was a coming out party, Trigun Stampede was their arrival on the scene. Even if it isn't through more Trigun, I'm excited to see whatever they've got next.

I will write a proper post about this eventually, but Trigun Stampede is OKAY.

And that sucks. Because with everything they had at their disposal, they could have made something AMAZING.

But alas. What we got was okay. 6/10. "Not bad I guess."
Considering your perspective going into the show, I consider this a massive win for Stampede lol



The Badlands Gang cliffhanger is immediately resolved by the Badlands Gang just... leaving. Livio's fight ends with Livio shooting himself in the head. For a minute it looks like the Ship is gonna hit the orphanage, but it doesn't. Legato collects Livio's corpse and drives off into season 2 I guess.


Okay, so let me make this perfectly fucking clear. Wolfwood VS Livio in the manga is not a fight. It's THE FIGHT. An incredible sequence that takes the better part of two full volumes in which Livio, Wolfwood, Vash and Razlo show us exactly who they are and who they want to be, via some of the most beautifully drawn action I've ever seen. It's beautiful, brutal, and ends on an incredible emotional note. It's fucking perfect, I will fight anyone who says otherwise, and I will FUCKING WIN.

Here, Wolfwood and Livio shoot at eachother a bit and wrestle a bit. Sometimes Livo shoots at Vash, but he always misses. Eventually Wolfwood hits him in his metal mask which makes Livio actually think for a few seconds. Razlo appears for like 3 frames. Livo shoots himself in the head. So it's no fucking comparison which is better. Obviously.

"But BEAT," I hear you thinking, with my terrifying psychic abilities. "This obviously is supposed to be a NEW fight not based on the original! It's not fair for you to compare the huge climax of several arcs to a silly little character establishing teaser." You're right. It's not. But I want to talk about it anyway because it's illustrative of a LARGE FUCKING PROBLEM that's popped up twice now: Livio, like Monev before him, DOESN'T THINK.

Manga Livio had a rich inner life. In fact he had two. He had reasons behind his actions that he could articulate in complete sentences. And while he made a point of acting as stoic as he could while he was on team Badguy, it was a deliberate coping mechanism that he dropped completely upon deciding he didn't like who he'd become.

Stampede Livio pursues Wolfwood and Vash like an unthinking terminator, until a hit in the wrong place seems to make his brain start functioning, just a little bit. He responds to this by immediately blowing his brains out. Yeah obviously he'll live, that's sort of his whole thing, but am I really supposed to believe he'll be a more complex character post Phineas Gageing? Seriously? I'M WORRIED TRIGUN STAMPEDE IS MAKING POOR CHOICES.

Why are these guys even here? They show up, do nothing, then leave. One might think that the only reason they're present is to make old fans like me go "Ah a thing I recognize!" But that CAN'T be it, because old fans completely predictable response is "WHERE THE FUCK IS BRILLIANT DYNAMITES NEON?!?!" This is a useless and pointless diversion that adds nothing. AND THAT'S NOT GOOD.

The way they reached "well the Steamer's out of control we gotta stop it" annoyed me a bit, but for dumb reasons I recognize as dumb so whatever. Wolfwood being "The guy who turns the wheel" instead the bit part kid in the manga is fine, more efficient that way. It's also symptomatic of a pretty serious problem that I'll talk about in a later post. But in a vacuum IT'S FINE WHATEVER.


It's the flashback episode! WITH A TWIIIIIIST!!!! The twist is that it doesn't actually tell us why knives became a genocidal maniac and did the thing that stranded everyone on a desert planet.

MANGA MOMENTS ADAPTED: The SPACE KIDS flashback here is actually a completely different flashback from the one in the source Manga. I don't think it was a GOOD use of an whole-ass episode, but it doesn't qualify for comparison babble. I'll piss and moan about it later.

We continue to flashback. Turns out the genocidal maniac is kind of a prick. Vash gets an emergency amputation, Meryl and Roberto get kidnapped by bugs and taken to Knives secret base. Vash and Wolfwood go after them.


In the Manga, Vash missing a limb isn't a question in desperate need of an answer. It's more like an accepted side effect of the fact that his body looks like a patchwork quilt. It's eventually revealed that Knives cut it off, but that was hardly the point of the chapter. The real takeaway was that Vash actually stood up to Knives, and Knives FREAKED THE FUCK OUT because he's a prick.

In Stampede, Vash has one arm because Knives activated his plant powers, which for some reason took the form of a black hole in his arm, which knives then cut off to "save" him. It's a weird choice, having the genocidal maniac, who's kill count is already in the hundreds of thousands "save" someone. I would dock it points for the stupid derivative Wolverine from XMEN claws, but in terms of story beat, it's acceptable. WHATEVER.


For some fucking reason, Knives super secret base is at the top of the tallest tower in a giant futuristic city that clashes really fucking badly with the established aesthetic. Roberto finally fucking dies. Took him long enough.


Normally I'd say something like "it gets the job done I'll bitch about character design later whatever." And yeah sure. As far as ways to reveal that Vash's body is a mess in-story go, it's acceptable. But fuck that, the visuals totally dropped the ball. Instead of getting a massive eyeful of exactly how fucked up vash's body is in terrible detail, we get a quick glimpse at his hunched over upper back and shoulders, in a poorly lit setting.



The ways in which is body is fucked up isn't bad. I'm not wild about them replacing steel grating and exposed bolts with cybernetic implant looking things, but the point of "yo this dude is wrecked" gets across without issue, but presentation counts. I EXPECTED BETTER.



MANGA MOMENTS ADAPTED: I GUESS Tessla technically counts? Also some of the flashbacks that are actually a dream that are actually Knives running commentary on Vash's brain are KINDA based on stuff from the source? I didn't like this episode so I'm not gonna rewatch it to check.

Trigun cannot fail. it can only be failed.


This one's complicated.

So in the Manga, lost July is the reason why everyone wants to kill Vash. For the first solid half or so it's just a vague backstory thing that people bring up to reinforce Why Vash is so dangerous. A city that vanished overnight. "Lost July." We're eventually told what happened, and it's basically just a confirmation that what Knives did to Vash in his part 1 intro already happened before the story began with the key change that Vash wasn't able to deal with it like he did in Knives intro, and as such EVERYTHING GOT FUCKED. It's tragic backstory setup that it plays super coy with until it doesnt. Key takeaways: Knives is a bastard and Vash is stuck playing catchup, made harder by the fact that the world blamed him for all of it.

Stampede makes it so July isn't lost, is still the biggest city and then kinda smashes together The events of Jenoa Rock (Knives big intro I mentioned back in part 1) and Lost july to serve as the Series/Season's big finale. Okay sure.

Let's skip over the new stupid explanation for what plants are, the dumb Marvel's the Avengers (2012) cube, the genuinely impressive over the top "WE'VE BEEN SAVING THE BUDGET FOR THIS" action, Vash's terrible looking plant powers, and the fact that they FINALLY gave us one (1) weird wing growth, To hone in on the part that bugs me the most: I kinda wish they hadn't lost July! THAT'S WEIRD RIGHT? The part that bugged me more than anything is that it DIDN'T diverge? I bitched so much about how they did everything different and now I'm bitching because it's not different enough? What the fuck?

I think I was like "Oh! they're finally going ALL IN! On giving the show an actual fucking IDENTITY! And it's a change I can get behind, like they did with the Nebraskas! A big finish that shows that they're willing to surprise me, in ways that go way past this character looks worse now, or this character is now stupid. Fuck yes! Impress me! Make me care about your changes! THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO PROVE YOU'RE DEDICATED!"

And for a moment, it looked like they actually had strength of conviction! Vash took all the power given to him against his will and fired it all into space! Knives looked like he died (obviously he didn't really but w/e) because he couldn't understand why Vash would go to such lengths to save all those assholes that were just shooting him! Determination won out over stupid petty evil! The show could make good on it's stated goal of surprising me, the guy who basically knew how everything was gonna play out, even if it was sorta-kinda different!

And then Lol no. Vash exploded anyway, even though the entire point of firing the laser into space was to use the energy so he wouldn't explode. July is lost. Flash forward awhile later: Voices on radios put all the pieces in place for season 2 to follow the manga exactly, which I now explicitly don't want them to do, because they're bad at it. SIGH.

Boy that sure was a lot of words huh! Thank god that's over.


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I subbed to Hidive to watch Votoms and wow that is the jankiest streaming app I've ever encountered. I feel like I have to constantly fight it just for a simple, narrow task like watching one series and then its sequel OVAs. I almost feel bad for anyone who uses this to watch multiple simulcasts or whatever.

(Votoms is awesome, though.)
It's SO janky. I even tried to do a workaround and sub to Hidive through Amazon as a channel, the way I am for Paramount+. BUT subbing that way meant that I didn't even have access to a big chunk of Hidive's catalog, including any simulcasts of current shows.


Summon for hire
It's SO janky. I even tried to do a workaround and sub to Hidive through Amazon as a channel, the way I am for Paramount+. BUT subbing that way meant that I didn't even have access to a big chunk of Hidive's catalog, including any simulcasts of current shows.

What. Dang, I was thinking of doing that same thing, but... ugh.

Johnny Unusual

Hey, I had time to do this for the new season!

Hell’s Paradise


The Premise

A ninja sentenced to die seems to be unable to. Swords mean to cut his head break. Bulls meant to draw and quarter him just get exhausted. Fire meant to burn him do nothing. The ninja claims to be bored and would be happy if he could just die but one record keeper is not so sure. The record keeper is in fact not a record keeper. She’s an executioner, actually capable of killing him. But only if he wants it. And the ninja realizes he’s been lying to himself. He wants to live. The only chance; travel to the underworld, which may be on Earth, to find the Elixir of Life for his freedom along with a lot of death’s row killers. Why send these deadly folks to get the job done? Because everyone else sent either didn’t come back or returned in bizarre and horrifying states. Death waits in paradise and not everyone is coming back.

It Gud?

It’s promising. I will say, every series I’ve seen so far looks pretty darn good and Hell’s Paradise is no exception. The various execution attempts are well animated and though it risks getting repetitive with characters trying different stuff, it also happens while slowly getting to know a character who is honest neither with his captors or himself. I can see this series having some cool set pieces with hints of very strange dangers that turn people into smiling piles of flowers.

Thematically, it has some potential to be interesting to. I can see it as a fun violent romp as this week’s danger, be it a monster, a crafty killer or a bizarre trap, present new challenges to the protagonists whom I hope they just won’t stab their way through. But I think there’s a promise of people finding out WHAT they want to be alive for. I’m sure a lot of these criminals will be scum and most will die early on but I can see this as being a series with an interesting cast if they let it.

The show is mostly table setting at this point but it’s decent table setting that’s less focused on it’s worldbuilding (though it is there) and more about this one character, which makes me hopeful it stays that way. There were some violent scenes and though it seems to imply the main character is going to try to refrain from killing people (it doesn’t outright say that the pile of guards he’s sitting on by the end aren’t dead but it doesn’t feel like it), expect blood if you get a bit squeamish.

My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999


The Premise

A young woman is broken up with by her gamer boyfriend who wants to see someone else and she’s in tatters. But she’s still in the stupid MMORPG she got him into. There she meets a guildmate, Yamada, whom she realizes is kind of annoying due to his short, curt responses that take minutes to get to her. Later that night, she sees an opportunity to try to get back at her ex by dressing nice and appearing at the same event, only to meet Yamada IRL. Yamada doesn’t seem all there but he is sexy. She convinces him to pretend they are hooking up and it does make her ex-boyfriend jealous… only because he’s a Yamada fan, as Yamada is also a famous esports player and streamer. But in the end, the woman realizes trying to make him jealous is a waste of time and the two head to a bar. The next morning she wakes up in Yamada’s bed in his apartment…

It Gud?

Despite the fact that it is aimed at a josei-aged audience, Lvl 999 is kind of old-school shojo, at least in terms of the kind of character dynamics we see. I will say it overcomes some issues I have with a lot of shojo romcoms where they make the male romantic interest a jerk and often even a bully to create tension and drama. Yamada has some serious social flaws and is aloof but he doesn’t seem like a bad person and this isn’t about changing him.

I’ll also say that I feel like I’m getting exhausted about anime about MMORPGs and JRPG tropes. I feel like a lot of them are pretty lazy and content with a few references. But this series has genuine character and charm to it and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any genre, it does tell it’s story well with humour and likeable characters. I’m usually pretty open to formula as long as it’s done well and Lvl 999’s first episode won me over a little more than I was expecting.

Obviously, we are headed for a fakeout where it turns out the socially awkward gamer did not sleep with the protagonist while she was drunk. There is no world in which that happens. You don’t have to try and trick me, show, I’m already on board for the low stakes romantic drama you set up and mostly I’m in it to find out how much I like these characters and hopefully find myself rooting for them to get together.

Tengoku Daimakyō AKA Heavenly Delusion

The Premise

Somewhere, a school girl has a question posited by a friend. Is there a world beyond the wall that surrounds the city? And what could it be? Outside the wall, humans are struggling to survive in a post apocalyptic world. Few humans remain but those who do are dangerous and there are monsters lurking about. Two young people are on a mission to find someone but can they survive? And what Hell awaits the girl who might be curious about the world outside?

It Gud?

It’s a promising series. In many ways, it does feel like a good version of things that came before it. The first scenes bring to mind The Promised Neverland but I’m not anticipating anything quite that amazing. But it still seems good. Like the previously mentioned series, this seems to follow a pretty classic formula; someone needs to traverse the post-apocalypse and hires a skilled person to do so (though they seem equally adept). The lessons while there are people out to get you, be particularly wary of those who seem to want to help you out.

To be fair, the series hasn’t laid all it’s cards on the table yet. It has two stories it wants to bring together and I’m not sure how much time they’ll take to bring them there. And while it is a series with secrets, I think a lot of theme will be of a fairly traditional model. But all the same, I am enjoying it. Again, I think it helps that it’s a well-animated show with enjoyable characters and an eye for details. Just because it’s parts seem pretty straightforward doesn’t mean that the sum is no big shakes. It seems like an adventure I’ll be happy to join in week-after-week.

That said, I am open to surprises. I suspect the first little story is going to end with some heartbreak and the person who betrayed them has their own tragedy. I feel there’s a humanist touch to this one and even though the first antagonists were generic goons who threatened rape (thankfully, unlike some anime, this isn’t drawn out and creepy about it) and are practically waiting to get to a “you’re already dead” situation, I anticipate something less cathartically bloodthirsty and more about how the world crumbling around you can change you. Fingers crossed it stays good.

The Dangers in My Heart


the Premise

A young teen boy who fancies himself troubled and twisted keeps running into a girl in his class who seems to be the polar opposite of him; outgoing but often a bit tactless and very easy to read. Eventually the two become friends, with the gloomy boy finding himself cringing on her mishaps vicariously.

It Gud?

The Dangers in My Heart was one where I enjoyed it more than JBear and we both laughed a fair bit but he wanted to stop and I get it. I could have kept going but I couldn’t deny there were things troubling me about it. But it isn’t really the stuff that’s the surface “edginess”. That didn’t bother me because it very much is about a shitty, cringy edgelord brat whose self-delusions about being some vile anti-hero loner crumbles in the face of a complete goofball. That’s a dynamic that works and while we haven’t all had the fortune of having cover model girls wanting to eat huge bags of potato chips with us, there is something about creating our own stupid mythos based on the kind of myopic, dumb worldview kids can have.

Yes, I will say I’m not crazy about the details of his murder fantasy that it decides to go into in the first scene but I feel like there are some other aspects I’m not a fan of. I think it handles the issue of obesity very poorly and it ends up reflecting badly on the other characters and the writer. Yes, the character is likable and sympathetic but it reminds me that some people can treat each other badly and I think what the heroine says is more than just tactless, it’s just shitty.

It's unfortunate but I definitely get it and it’s a shame because while some of that stuff sucks, the creator is also pretty good at creating some fun silly scenarios. My favourite by far is the heroine, who is a model, trying very hard to be recognized and putting her magazine over some other magazines and finding no one cares. It’s some great deflation and the other character provides some good commentary as he watches her take it in stride, switching gears to the next ill-considered plan. It’s a show I think both has a lot going for it but a lot of stuff I look at with a side-eye.

Skip and Loafer


The Premise

A girl from the country aiming for success starts going to a school in the city but gets lost the first day. She’s rescued by a tall, handsome, confident and somewhat lackadaisical dude and the two manage to get to school in time for her to give a speech. Unfortunately, she embarrasses herself in public but her newfound friendship with the tall guy gets the social gears turning and the two begin to think about what the new school year has in store.

It Gud?

I was talking of Lvl 999 being a kind of old school shoujo and Skip and Loafer belongs there two. So far, it’s low-key rom com in the best possible way and with two likeable leads. Heck, this show could choose to go in a non-romantic route and it would still likely be satisfying. After all, the episode has bonding but romance doesn’t go overtly beyond “is it just me or is this guy hot.”

And it is a show that knows how to be funny in a not-over-the-top way. I believe the school is supposed to be somewhat prestigious, at least by the lead character’s standards, but there’s no Brobdingnagian over the top stuff we often see in these series, it’s just a nice school and the lead is a struggling a bit in her new environment. She isn’t dealing with bullies because she’s too close to the hot guy and someone leaving her hanging when she’s trying to make friends is done in a way where it doesn’t make the character a bad guy, she’s just not seeing a friendship happen until there are some opportunistic reasons to try.

There are shows were after the first episode I don’t know what the plan is. This can be exhilarating or frustrating and this one is the former. OK, exhilarating is a bit strong but I don’t know if it will develop drama (there is some hint of something going on with the male lead but that simply might be him beginning to open emotionally in ways he hasn’t before) or be a hang out show for these characters or how far and fast the romance will progress. But I really don’t care, I feel like wherever it goes from here it's going to carry a tone I like; witty and pleasant.

My Clueless First Friend


The Premise

A girl at school is called a shinigami and is treated as an outcast due to her gloomy nature. But one boy thinks being friends with the Grim Reaper is the awesomest thing ever and will stop at nothing to be her friend.

It Gud?

Man, this is a season for gloomy protagonists with Gegege no Kitaro hair. But if I am going to compare it to The Dangers in the Heart, then I’ll probably mention that this show is a bit kinder and sweeter. The main bit is that the boy doesn’t understand his friend is being bullied and thinks his cool new friend has super-powers and is oblivious when people try to bully him, instead unintentionally turning the tables on them and making them feel foolish. It’s “don’t threaten me with a good time” if he completely missed the point.

It's kind of cute. The problem is, there’s shocking little deviation from the way the formula is pulled off. Within the first episode, it runs it’s main joke into the ground pretty quickly and it doesn’t get better as it goes on. One alone is fine but it gets repetitive far too quickly. Yes, it does promise to introduce new characters and that could shake things up and make it more enjoyable but I feel like even within that I’m not anticipating it to really vary.

I also find the male lead kind of annoying. He’s supposed to be a sweet dummy and great but he has a quickly reused exclamations of excitement that get on my nerves. I like the message of someone who only sees the best in people but I feel like there’s some sort of block to actually liking him, not because of his actions but because I feel like there’s no “in” to getting into the character except he’s nice to someone who needs it. That counts for a lot but I feel like there should be more that isn’t.

My Home Hero


The Premise

An older man meets his daughter for lunch only to suspect she’s being physically abused by her boyfriend. He follows his daughter home only to learn that her boyfriend isn’t just abusive, he’s a yakuza with a history of murder. When the two are alone in her apartment, he manages to murder him and when the man’s wife finds him, the two decide to hide of the body. But things get tricky when it turns out not only does this yakuza have powerful connections, the man at the top has a son, and he might be this average joe’s next victim.

It Gud?

This is a thriller I did want to like. It’s not like I’m a big fan of vigilante stories but I do like tales of average people having to use their wits to survive after getting in way over their heads. Like, how can someone with average capabilities get by while trying to escape dangerous criminals. To make a premise like this, you need clever plans, unexpected complications, twists and compelling characters.

Well, sadly, My Home Hero has none of that. The only pleasant surprise was getting the wife character in the plan real early and having them have to work together. The idea of a family vs. the yakuza is also great but we don’t get a lot of that this episode. Come to think of it, we get the family’s scenario but we don’t get a lot about them as people. We do get to see how weak the main character but when he finally does the deed, there is neither catharsis for killing a monster or the horror of this average man taking a life.

And for a show that does have blood, it is very bloodless, metaphorically speaking. There’s not a lot of life here, just a rather dry vigilante tale. They are cueing up a villain who is smart but mostly he’s just pretending to be other people on the phone. I like the idea that it’s planning on upping the stakes of the villains to “very personal” early on but I just wish I cared about this heightening. It’s really only eliciting some yawns.

KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World


The Premise

The son of a cult leader is murdered and wakes up in another world. Thinking he knows what to expect, he hopes to become an adventurer with magic powers. Instead, he’s just a farmer on a commune. But it turns out society has a dark side and some people are selected to die. The cult leader’s son eventually saves the day with his god who is…

It Gud?

Wow. OK, so this… this is bad. It’s a very unique kind of bad so I am kind of grateful for watching it in a twisted way. A lot to talk about. First… it starts out on a strong foot. Most isekai series start with the character, some sad sack with a nothing life, killed by a bus or just teleported away. Here, the character is killed by a cult of nearly naked muscle men who throw him into the sea. It’s a good start. But it’s all downhill from there. It has a life flashing before his eyes joke which is mostly too loud and busy (that said, the random appearance of a capybara helped). Then the character wakes up to a woman jerking him off. I’m not even sure why or what the joke is?

Anyway, then it gets into the main gag of the episode and I assumed the series; the main character assumes he’s going to do all the fun isekai stuff but he’s just a peasant farmer. OK, there’s something there about entitlement and romanticizing the feudal ages. And it goes very hard into very broad laughs… and reuses a lot of footage. It’s not very good but I figured it started with genuine amusement, maybe we can get back there.

Then it tries to drop another shoe and say “actually there’s something scary in this world” and has real stakes… in theory? The problem is it happens so abruptly, it never lands that THIS is the thing we are supposed to take serious. JBear called it a sudden tonal shift except… it almost isn’t, which is weird. What I mean is the vibe of the episode remains the same but since the vibe up to this point was a silly (and not very good) comedy about shitty people, suddenly killing off a character doesn’t land as “Oh my God” so much as “is… this an extended bit. What’s happening?” And it’s very obvious in the latter half that it is desperately trying to move the episode quickly to get to it’s reveal (including a weirdly quick framerate) that NOTHING has time to sink in. It won’t LET you react to it which is I think what is supposed to happen with… media.

Anyway, as a little dingleberry on top of this bewildering and ultimately awful sundae of madness, it turns out the God his dad worshipped is a naked… I wanna say 8 year old girl. I think she changes sizes a could times. But… yuck. Fuckin’ gross. Of COURSE that’s what this show wants to get to. Well fuck it. I hesitate to call this the worst first episode I’ve seen because I was engaged, though purely out of confusion and disbelief but… this was a very bad one. Stay far, far away.
I've rewritten this post about The Marginal Service at least twice now. I think I liked what I saw, but it skates this thin edge between seriousness and absurdity. I'm hoping the series leans more into the absurdity because if it takes itself too seriously it's not going to be a good time for anyone. But damn it, the lead character's name is Brian Nightraider and there's also Bolt Drexler and Lyra Candyheart which get splashed all over the screen when they show up to take down the villain of the week while dressed as construction workers and using construction tools. But it also seems to want to make statements about immigration.

I don't know. This is one where I need to see a second episode to decide if I actually like it or not.

Johnny Unusual

Mashle: Magic and Muscles


The Premise

In a world where magic is an everyday reality, it would take something very unique to make people stand up and take notice. And Mash is someone who will. Oh, he’s endlessly amenable. He doesn’t have a magnetic personality and in fact seems a bit of a dullard. He can’t even do magic. What makes him so special? He’s the world’s strongest man. He can even punch spells. Mash lives with his adoptive father in the woods who wanted him to grow strong to protect himself from the dark truth of the world… that magic ability and strength determines social status and non-magic users are murdered. After Mash protects his father from a powerful magic cop, the defeated cop offers Mash a deal; he’ll look the other way if he enters a magic school and makes it to the top of the class to earn a respect that can’t be denied to him even if he has no magic. Mash has power but can he fake his way through school until he achieves his goal? Or will he just punch everything?

It Gud?

Mashle has elements where the world building has a “fuck the man” kind of attitude. That’s in there. But I don’t think it’s a show that will have a deeper message beyond “don’t be a magic eugenicist”. Mostly the message is it’s going to be fun to watch a muscle teen punch all the magic and smash snot-faced sorcerer dick’s in the dirt. And to be clear, it plays it all very, very silly. It knows it’s kind of doing Harry Potter is there was no chosen one and Harry is replaced by a dull-eyed Goku. It does the classic “knock an energy blast with your hand” and then it ones up it with going extra silly were he’s playing soccer, volleyball and juggling energy blasts.

I don’t want to oversell it. It’s kind of a dumb show. But it’s dumb in a way that I think I’m going to enjoy it. It’s not a strong recommend because it’s not deeply witty, it’s just the kind of shonen silliness of making the protagonist strong in an exaggerated way. It’s a kind of approach I’ve seen a lot; the inherent comedy of an over-the-top strength that shonen series seem to love. But it’s also clear it’s leaning more into the gag side of things. It’s not Bobobo Bobobobo, it’s kind of a middle ground where there are some stakes and promises of fights to come but also lots of classic set-up pay-off goofs.

It's not hard to see the trajectory, I think. People will just assume Mash’s strength is a form of magic, Mash won’t even try to hide anything or will hide it incompetently but people will buy it because they can’t believe it

Oshi No Ko


The Premise

Jeez, where do I begin. The first episode is 120 minutes and is aiming for epic novel by way of anime tropes.

OK, strap in. The show swerves a lot so I’ll put in a spoiler pop for EVERY new circumstance.

In a small country town, a doctor, is a fan of Ai, a 16 year old pop idol, after getting into it through a patient of his who was a superfan. Shockingly he finds the 16 year old is asking for his help with her secret pregnancy. As a fan and a doctor he agrees. Months later, as the due date approaches, the doctor finds himself murdered by a dangerous stalker.

He finds himself reincarnated as Ai’s baby, Aquamarine, along with his twin sister Ruby. Both can speak to each other and know they are reincarnated. They are also both big Ai fans and retain their old memories. The duo don’t always get along but they remain fans and supporters of their mommy. The children also reveal their secret (well, the part where they talk) to their caretaker, Ai’s company head wife, and convince her by raising them properly and leaving Ai alone (she attempted to look for evidence of her scandalous affair), she will have her dreams come true

As the kids grow older, Aquamarine decides to get into acting after a director notice he’s smarter than the average kid. He’s not much interested but in learning that this can actually help his mom’s career via quid pro quo, he accepts and finds he has a talent for it. Ruby too has talent, though she is hesitant to share it. We also learn a bit more about Ai, a performer who understands the world of idols and celebrities is about crafting beautiful lies and trying to make the best ones come true.

One day, Ai opens the door and is stabbed by the same stalker who killed Aquamarine in his previous life. Ai’s last words, privy to Aquamarine, who is present are trying to show empathy for her killer, who freaks out and runs off. Ai dies. After Aquamarine realizes that the stalker, now missing, doesn’t have the history to indicate he would be able to learn how to find Ai’s secret house and comes to the conclusion that her death was actually masterminded by their actual father. Aquamarine decides to have the director raise him and use his own skills to hunt down and get revenge on their father.

It Gud?

So, yeah, this is a journey. Mine is “Hey, I hate this.” “Hey, this is more interesting now that it’s not interested in being gross.” “Hey, this is definitely swinging for the fences.” One of my favourite anime romcoms is Kaguya-Sama: Love is War so I was really excited to hear that they were doing something different. But the first third starts in a really unpleasant place, with a doctor both not denying having the hots (and not denying he would considering being with) a 16 year old pop star, then telling a 12 year old who says she’d want to marry him “This doesn’t look good. At least wait a few more years.” THAT DOESN’T LOOK GOOD EITHER, DOC. THAT LOOKS VERY VERY BAD!

Things aren’t better when the reincarnation happens and sadly this is not the first-time reincarnation stories in anime feature a horny baby joke. Yeah. Fuckin’ yeah. Only now it’s two; one who doesn’t want to be and one who is taking advantage of a chance to be close to their idol. I REALLY don’t like this. At one point, JBear said “This is 120 minutes and we are at minute 30. We can stop.” I agreed but also said “I really wanted to like this. This is from the creator of Kaguya “So we gave it a bit more time. The middle third is less grotesque and moves into some weird and not unpleasant (mostly, there’s probably something I’m forgetting) and it becomes a series about craft. The babies grow and are somewhat less unlikable. It finally is a character piece. When the last third hit, it is clear it has ambitions. I think it wants to be three genres and not a mash up so much as an epic tale that will weave in and out of three spaces; comedy, drama about a craft and revenge thriller. The first two aren’t that different but introducing the third but knowing a lot of time will be spent away from it probably means it wants to try to allow itself to be a lot. That’s really interesting to me. I’m not forgiving or forgetting those first thirty minutes but since the show doesn’t look like it’s going back there, it might be heading into a direction I like. Or at least be an ambitious trainwreck. And if it isn’t gross about it any more, than I’m willing to take that ride.

I will also say I feel like it wants to be low key cynical about show biz. I don’t think this show is going to really attack the often-sketchy world of idols or the system they are a part of. I think like many idol shows it might want to gesture to it but not tackle it. But it isn’t an idol show, it’s a show with an idol, so it might open itself up to saying something. But I’m not going to assume too much. I’m giving you a chance, you crazy ass-show. Just… none of that first act again.

Insomniacs After School


The Premise

A boy suffering from insomnia discovers a girl doing the same. They begin using an unused school astronomy room as a nap in the daytime and hang out together at night in their small town, seeing the sights.

It Gud?

Insomniacs After School was very much the palette and brain cleanser I needed after Oshi no Ko. It’s a small stakes slice of life show about two people who have the same problem and decide to deal with it together. There might be more to it as it goes on, perhaps a sense of betrayal if someone accidentally slips up about the club room but I think this is more a feel-good show about insomniacs than any kind of melodrama.

It's kind of weird though to see a show that’s a lot like last years Call of the Night except there’s no hook. There’s no bigger premise to it, it’s just two people who want to hang out and share their time together. Like Call, it’s a very well animated series but also more down to Earth. Perhaps a little more basic, in that the protagonist of Call might be a- or demi-sexual or a- or demi-romantic, while this one from the start seems like there’s some very low key attraction.

Insomniacs is a quiet show but it isn’t a boring one and I’m looking forward to chilling out with these characters. I feel like this is going to be a season of largely livelier shows and it’s always good to have a cooldown show in the mix to help change speeds.

The Galaxy Next Door


the Premise

A young mangaka who must support his siblings on their own, with only a boarding house to their name needs help. Luckily, he gets help from a young woman who is not only an impeccably inker but a big fan. After the two pull a desperate all-nighter, the mangaka wakes up and sees some pointed object sticking out of her back. Fearing she fell on a pencil, she tries to pick it out, only to get stung and seeing a strange vision. The young woman is offended but after understanding he was trying to help her says that’s her stinger and she’s princess of the Star People.

It Gud?

This feels like an older-fashioned romance anime. A magical young woman who is really into a somewhat amiable male protagonist. A lot of these haven’t aged well but this version of an Ah! My Goddess-type show, though not particularly inspired, is pleasant enough to watch. I will say, the show reveals the magic aspect of its premise in a rather awkward way to the point where it seems like the lead isn’t THAT interested in a magic stinger that makes him see a galaxy or something.

I will keep watching this one but I will also say beyond being pleasant, I’m not sure there’s a lot here. Enough that I would like to keep watching. My hope is that the alien stuff (or whatever she is) is background noise and it focuses on two people wanting to make art together. I’m not even that interested in romance, if the two just spend time making art, that will be enough for me.

Like Insomniacs After School, it did feel a bit refreshingly simple and low-stakes and I hope it keeps it up. It’s a much more awkwardly handled series, though, and I could see that having an impact on the watchability of scenes where it is explaining it’s mythos. Hopefully it will be a show focused more on my interests than girl stingers.

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
For reasons that defy explanation, I went back for more Bastard!!

Is it actually a parody, or am I supposed to take it seriously on some level?