Keiko Online

Blog Home of D.L. Owens


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Anime Review: ReZero

Alternate Names: Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World (English name), Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Japanese name), Re: Life in a different world from zero (English synonym)
Year: 2016
Episodes: 25 (English dub version)
Genre: Isekai, Fantasy, Romance, Drama, Psychological

Warning: Spoilers below.

Back when this series was first being released, I decided to wait for an English dub of the series to be released. Then, I somehow forgot about it. Well, hubby and I have been going over old shows and learned that ReZero did indeed get an English dub at some point. So, we jumped in headfirst.

When otaku Subaru Natsuki gets sent to another world whilst grabbing snacks from a local quickie mart, he meets a monarchy candidate named Amelia. The stigma of looking like the Witch of Envy creates numerous problems for the kind-hearted young woman, including gaining the attention of the witch’s cult who are trying to bring back the object of their worship. Suburu has fallen head over heels for her and quickly learns that he has the ability to come back to “save points” if he dies. How will he rise above his own fears to help her fulfill her dream of becoming the Queen?

The unusual nature of this Isekai series was a big factor in drawing people’s attention to the series in the beginning. That weird mechanic of coming back to a save point after death sounds appealing in theory. However, in practice… Natsuki’s desire to help Amela is easier said than done. He will need to die over and over again to gather information on numerous threats, but like any sane person, he is afraid of dying. As put forward in at least one of the episodes, he isn’t sure of the parameters of the return from death power. This uncertainty is an understandable concern. Also, his deaths tend to be quite horrific. Most people prefer to die in their sleep rather than disembowelment or torture by people you believed to be allies.
Natsuki is a relatable protagonist. He isn’t good at everything. Instead, he has to learn things over time. He makes mistakes along the way, but at his core is that love of Amelia. Folks will likely ask, “What about Rem?” Yes, Rem is the best girl of ReZero but Subaru was in love with Amelia from the start. Rem is played beautifully throughout this series, her own love of Natsuki reflecting how he feels for Amelia. They understand each other on this fundamental level even if Natsuki’s own affections are directed elsewhere. He never pretends otherwise even if he does talk of running away with Rem in order to reduce the chance of causing more harm to those around him. At this moment, we see one of the best pep-talks in anime and manga by Rem. It shows the strength of her character and how much she wants him to be genuinely happy.
“But Keiko, what about all of the violence?” Yes, there are some really violent sequences in this series. It can be confronting at times, but this gives Natsuki incentive to fight even more to avoid such fates for himself and the various people that he cares for. Some of these scenes also give us insight into the inner world of other characters as well. A great example of this is his relationship with the demon twins Rem and Rom. On several occasions, he is attacked by them resulting in at least one death. Multiple perspectives of situations often play a huge part in some of the conflicts. The stakes are even higher given that a lot of the series relates to the political situation of a kingdom.
The voice acting and characterization for this series was excellent. Sean Chiplock knocks it out of the park with his voicing of Natsuki. Given how he rocks this character, I am wondering why the hell he doesn’t do a lot more voice acting. The oddly named Brianna Knickerbocker is perfectly placed as Rem, with another unfamiliar voice actress, Kayli Mills doing a great job as Amelia. Of all of the cast members, the standout for me is Sarah Williams’ voicing of Felix Argyle. She does an awesome job of his vocal mannerisms and injects an ample amount of mischief into this odd character.

In conclusion, this is one of the better Isekai series out there. It also easily fits into the romance category because of how it approaches the love triangle of Natsuki, Rem, and Amelia. That approach to character and worldbuilding makes for a genuinely enjoyable experience. I absolutely adore this series.

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Anime Review: My Hero Academia Seasons 1-3

Alternate Names: Boku no Hero Academia (Japanese)
Year: 2016 – 2018 (ongoing)
Episodes: !3, 25, and 25 (English dubbed versions)
Genre: Shounen, Superhero, Action, Drama, Comedy

Warning: Some spoilers below.

I first came across this series back when the first season was being released. There was a bit of hype in the lead-up but I was heavily distracted watching rom-coms and other nonsense at the time. I ended up watching the first episode on AnimeLab and absolutely adored it. However, it was about a year later that I managed to convince hubby to watch the show with me. The big selling point was that it was one of several popular series from the same anime season that got an English dub. As expected, he loved the show as well. She shoots… SHE SCORES!!!
I have decided to write this review for the first three seasons of My Hero Academia because I think that just covering one season wouldn’t do it justice. Whilst most of you are already familiar with the series, below is a short overview for those that are not.  

My Hero Academia is a show set in a world where people with powers (aka quirks) are commonplace. The series follows an intelligent young man named Izuku Midoriya that is born without a quirk but really wants to become a hero. When he is given a quirk by the most powerful and popular hero in the world (All Might), Midoriya sets about becoming a hero. His path is made difficult by the antagonism of former childhood friend Katsuki Bakugou and by the machinations of All Might’s archnemesis All for One.

The world of My Hero Academia is an alternate Earth where people at some stage started manifesting powers. Because of the chaos, various governments implemented rules for using powers, which includes the hero licensing system. This system is one of the major elements that Midoriya will have to negotiate due to it being illegal to be a vigilante. The entrance into these academies is hard enough, but the training is even tougher especially when you are still learning how to learn how your powers work like our protagonist is.

Along the way, Midoriya will come into contact with a host of heroes and villains with their own unique powers and personas. The motivations and backstories for many of these characters are often just as compelling as that of our protagonist. These characters also do a great job of helping move the plot forward whilst offering a nice contrast to Midoriya. The characters are given the chance to shine and fail, the latter giving them a chance to learn from the experience.
And this brings us to seasonal versus series arcs. Whilst each season has a major arc, it ties into the series arc. Little events, such as an attack of a group of villains are shown as often being a part of something bigger. As the characters learn more about the problem, they are forced to adapt. This results in our heroes having to train harder, become stronger and more versatile. Whilst we see a lot of growth on the part of other characters,
Midoriya and Bakugou’s joint arcs are the most compelling because of their shared history and hero worship of All Might. The latter often holds both back significantly more because their actions tend to be related to what All Might would do. However, neither are All Might. When All Might inevitably lose his powers, Bakugou is forced to rethink his relationship with Midoriya, who has been keeping a secret from him. On the other hand, Midoriya is forced by an injury to fight differently where before he was emulating All Might.
To the subject of the artwork, the character design does a good job of conveying the bizarre physiological traits of many of the characters in this world whilst at the same time have a whimsical element one comes to expect from a series about a hero with a positive outlook. The colors are bright and fit well with the themes of this series. I also love the equipment design we see throughout the series. A good example is the shoes that Midoriya has made in the third season. They aren’t as extravagant as the ones worn by Tenya Iida but they fit well with their purpose. The action sequences are put together well, conveying character in the process.
One thing I will say is that whilst some sites online list this series as a comedy, I feel that it is more of a drama than a comedy because of how the show deals with conflict. That’s okay, though, as the moments of both humor and drama provide us insight into the characters without watering down the story.

In conclusion, this show did a great job of managing a large cast of characters and building upon complexity throughout the series. I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a good superhero series that is among other solid anime series such as Tiger & Bunny. All in all, a must watch.


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Anime Review: Gamers!

Year: 2017
Episodes: 11 + 1 epilogue (English Dub version)
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life

In the great search for comedic romance anime series, I stumbled across this gem from 2017. How I hadn’t heard of the series before a few weeks ago is baffling but I suppose that other series received a lot more attention at the time. I have a few theories. Anyway, time to discuss the show itself.

When perfectly average gamer Keita Amano strikes up a conversation at a gaming store with the most popular girl at school, secret gamer Karen Tendou, both of their lives will change forever. Over time, their social group expands to Tasuku Uehara, his girlfriend Aguri and eventually Chiaki Hoshinomori. How will the lives of these five school students deal with a crapload of misunderstandings and over-active imaginations? Also, what is up with Chiaki’s younger sister? Seriously, I need to know.

First off, this series uses the hobby of gaming as a setting. Whilst the first episode initially came off as a little forced, I was hooked by the end of the second episode. We see the characters began to show the huge diversity of the gaming community. We see arguments about gaming platforms and genres, as well the more recent debates over DLC, microtransactions and loot boxes. We also see the differences in how people play games, be it casual or hardcore.


Whilst the first episode was a bit weak overall, I was pretty glad that I stuck with it because it was a heck of a lot of fun. Gamers! this is a comedy that relies heavily on characters misunderstanding and overthinking things. We also see some of the humor derived from the gaming lifestyle as well. This promise is delivered in epic fashion without feeling mean-spirited.


The characters in this series were solid overall. They were different from each other without it feeling convenient. The characters also worked well together as a group. The voice casting was pretty damn good as well. For those interested, my favorite character was Aguri, so much so that I think I might just make a new rating system. It is like a normal rating system but I call it Aguris. Not very original, I know, but I must pay tribute to the awesomeness that is Aguri. All hail Aguri!
Plot progression? I think that this series did a good job of showing the relationships of two couples in different stages of their romance. In the case of Tasuka Uehara and Aguri, we see how little Uehara knows about his own girlfriend, who has only had eyes for him since before he became one of the cool guys at school. We also see how even people that don’t necessarily share the same pastimes can often share commonground. Whilst some of the situations faced by the characters are over-the-top, these scenes helped progress storyline and made for an entertaining series.

One of the big draws of this series is how the writers made use of mundane situations in amusing ways. Something as simple as playing a board game is run with. The epilogue story dealing with the subject of DLC kicked this idea up a notch, at the same time showing self-awareness that the episode was an epilogue or after story, which is effectively DLC for anime.

 

BEST OF…
To the best guy and best girl award goes to our male protagonist Keita Amano and pink-haired Aguri. Whilst these two may not have been a couple in the series, they were both adorable idiots that are easy to ship as well because of various conversations. Call this the “Natalie Effect”.

Come to think of it, I wonder how many people have made fanart and/or fanfiction depicting such things, lewd or otherwise… *taps search into google* *eye light up* Well, I’ll be damned… It appears that there is a bunch of fanfiction featuring this ship on sites such as Wattpad.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, I loved this show. Whilst I had issues with the first episode, I found myself addicted to this silly show in short. I do, however, recommend watching the first few episodes to see if you like the style of comedy and the characters. I give this series 9/10 Aguris. Will watch again!


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Anime Rewatch: Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-Kun

Alternate Names: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Year: 2014
Episodes: 12 (English-dubbed version)
Genre: Shoujo, Comedy, Romance

Back in 2017, I came across this anime and decided to review it. Whilst many of my views from that first viewing of the series still hold true, this rewatch review contains several other aspects that I didn’t notice at the time. I also broke down some more information about the anime adaptation because I felt like it. This time around, I also “suckered” my husband into watching it with me which might have impacted some of my perceptions.

When Chiyo Sakura screws up a confession to the straight-faced giant that is Umetarou Nozaki, she somehow manages to get his autograph and is invited to his place where she is asked to become part of a team making shoujo romance manga. Shock-horror, Nozaki is a popular manga artist using the pen name of Sakiki Yumeno. Chiyo will go down the rabbit hole of weirdness and stupidity that is the world of Umetarou Nozaki.

First up, this series may begin with the confession, it expands to a larger cast in an organic fashion. The cast of the anime predominantly consists of high school students and three adults that give us an idea of the business side of the manga industry. The cast is as follows:

  • Umetarou Nozaki: Our male protagonist and the object of Chiyo’s affections. He is so focused on creating shoujo manga that he misses the obvious fangirl in his midst… or does he? He has no experience with romantic relationships and what you see is pretty much what you get. He has a younger brother who makes one or two cameos during the anime.
  • Chiyo Sakura: The friendly and cute female protagonist who has had a crush on Umetarou since the entrance ceremony of high school. She accepts Umetarou for the idiot that he is and still loves him.
  • Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba: Mikorin is adorable if a bit of a moron. He has issues with girls but made matters worse by playing nothing but dating sims and trying to emulate best friend slash rival Yuu Kashima’s flirtatious lines. He has real issues talking to anyone but Chiyo and Kashima normally. He helps Nozaki with manga and is the inspiration for Nozaki’s character Mamiko because of his shyness. [Mikorin is a good example of nature versus demeanor.]
  • Yuzuki Seo: Seo is Chiyo’s friend. She is a force of nature and oblivious to how her actions affect others in a destructive fashion. She takes special glee in harassing Waka from the basketball team.
  • Yuu Kashima: Kashima is a young androgynous woman that taken on the role of the school “prince”, delivering cheesy lines to the girls of the school. She also has a bizarre desire to have Hori praise her alone after he invited her to the drama club during the entrance ceremony. She is also friends with Mikoshiba.
  • Masayuki Hori: Hori is the head of the drama club. He doesn’t do acting anymore because he has stopped growing. He has a dysfunctional working relationship with Kashima who has to micromanage because she has very limited personal drive. Hori has a working arrangement with Nozaki, wherein he helps with Nozaki’s manga in exchange for scripts for school plays. He helps out at different times to the rest of Nozaki’s helpers as he doesn’t want Kashima learning about it.
  • Hirotaka “Waka” Wakamatsu: Waka is a member of the basketball team and is the target of Seo’s harassment.
  • Yukari Miyako: Yukari is one of Nozaki’s neighbors and fellow manga author that is also a college student. As one of Maeno’s longsuffering “clients”, she is commanded to draw ridiculous amounts of tanukis in her creations to satisfy his bizarre whims.
  • Ken the editor: Ken is Nozaki’s editor. He is round and he comes off as exhausted by those around him, especially the fanboy Umetarou.
  • Maeno the editor: Self-absorbed and uncaring of what his “clients” think, Maeno is obsessed with Tanukis and later elephants. He was dumped as Nozaki’s editor a year before the start of the show. Alas, Yukari hasn’t rallied enough willpower to do so as well yet.

Next, we see the use of a social network to give us insight into the cast members. Think of it as the six degrees of Kevin Bacon but with cross-dressers and people with mental problems. This aspect also helped us see several characters in a different light. I was considering using a diagram to show this in detail but I decided against it because I am slightly lazy and didn’t want to learn new software. Instead, I’ve decided to show a few examples in short form, focusing on Wakamatsu and Hori as they relate to Chiyo and Umetarou.

  • Hirotaka Wakamatsu – Utemarou Nozaki (former member of the basketball team)
  • Hirotaka Wakamatsu – Yuzuki Seo – Chiyo Sakura
  • Masayuki HoriUtemarou Nozaki
  • Masayuki Hori – Yuu Kashima –  Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba – Utemarou Nozaki – Chiyo Sakura

Rewatching this series was a lot of fun and I can see myself doing so again soon. Promises are made in the first episodes and those promises were delivered upon with relative ease. It avoided adding too many things that can date it, reducing the cringe value of say a giant cell phone. The humor is light-hearted and playful as well, avoiding mean-spirited mockery that I’ve seen in several other series. Characters are allowed to be themselves, as mentally ill and/or oblivious as they are at times. No apologies are made and the series doesn’t take itself too seriously. That makes for a really fun experience that makes me excited to watch the series again in the not-so-distant future.

BEST OF…
Okay, it is time for my ratings of best girls and best guys. The eight students, which includes a college student, will be objectified for the general amusement of myself and others. Some of my ratings will not surprise people that have known me for a while. If you have your own ratings, I welcome you to post them in the comments section.

Best girls?

  1. Chiyo Sakura: She is kind and accepting of those around her. If only she had enough courage to confess properly to Nozaki.
  2. Yukari Miyako: Long-suffering and kind, Yukari aims to make others happy. Unfortunately, she lacks enough self-esteem to stand up for herself.
  3. Yuu Kashima: Whilst Kashima is assertive, her behavior tends to be all over the place when it comes to Hori. The whole “prince” thing is a bit weird as well.
  4. Yuzuki Seo: Whilst assertive, Seo lacks empathy and care for those around her. One might also argue that her “reality” is different from the objective reality of those around her.

Best guys?

  1. Umetaro Nozaki: What you see is what you get with Nozaki. Whilst a bit of an oblivious idiot, he is hard-working and seems to care for those around him.
  2. Masayuki Hori: Whilst his relationship with Kashima is a little strange, he is good-looking, assertive and smart. He is also hard-working.
  3. Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba: Mikorin is good-looking but lacks genuine self-confidence when it comes to “the ladies”.
  4. Hirotaka “Waka” Wakamatsu: Wakamatsu is a bit of an idiot but is good-hearted and good-looking.

CONCLUSION
This rewatch has placed this series as my all-time favorite anime series. I appreciated the humor and found the characters adorable even years after first watching the series. It also led to me recently picking up the manga series. All in all, I still love this show and look forward to watching it again soon.


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Anime Review: Uto no Prince-Sama 1000% Love

Alternate names: UtoPrince, Uto no Prince-Sama Maji Love 1000%
Year: 2011
Episodes: 13 (Japanese-dub, English-subbed version)
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Harem, Drama, Comedy

Reviewer’s Note: This review contains a few spoilers. Sorry about that, but I considered it necessary in order to better review this title.

This series is based on a popular Otome franchise. The story revolves around a group of musicians and composers attending the prestigious Saotome Academy. The academy is an audition for the Saotome Music Agency and is helmed by a former male idol named Shining Saotome.
When home-taught composer Haruka Nanami arrives at the academy, she has to contend with the harsh reality that simply wanting to succeed is not enough. Over time, she gains support from six idol contenders, each with their own baggage, as well as a female friend named Tomochika Shibuya and a meddling cat.

Whilst this series is a huge advertisement for King Records, it manages to be a good blend of drama and comedy. The reverse harem elements are there, but we see more of a focus on the creation of an idol group and their composer team. This makes for a compelling and sometimes humorous story. We see rivalries and the bizarre world of Saotome Academy which is heavily surveilled by the eccentric Shining Saotome. It is at-times over-the-top and silly, but it somehow works.
To the characters, there is plenty of variation in the personality and appearance of the characters. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of male love interests as in the case of that delightfully absurd series of Brothers Conflict. Brothers Conflict was made entertaining because of it. However, it was a tad silly.
To the music, which is a big part of this series, I probably enjoyed about half of the songs. It is more of a personal preference thing, and likely won’t be a big problem for most fans of J-Pop. I simply liked the tracks with more of a rock edge.
The voice acting for the Japanese dub version was reasonable. I recognized a few familiar voices in there (even if I may not be overly familiar with a lot of Japanese voice actors), which did a good job of their roles within the show.

To my rating of the guys in the series, here goes:

  1. Otoya Ittoki: Otoya is sweet and a lot more stable than the other five guys. He is cute, kind and hard-working. He is also one of the first two members of the school that Nanami meets. His character design works because it doesn’t try to be quirky for the sake of being quirky.
  2. Cecil Ajima: Whilst he only appears in human form once (Otome series periodically have shapeshifters and guardian spirits as side characters that are often tools to move the story forward), he is an ever-present guide for Nanami. His character design is attractive and his personality easily places as number two on the list.
  3. Satsuki/Natsuki Shinomiya: Satsuki is more honest than his glasses-wearing counterpart, even if prone to bouts of superhuman levels of violence. He also exudes sex appeal. Natsuki is a little over-protective and a bit of a meddler when it comes to best friend Syo. Whilst Natsuki’s attempts to help often result in trauma and/or food poisoning, both he and Satsuki are otherwise good-hearted.
  4. Ryuuya Hyuuga: Ryuuga is the teacher for Class S and a popular actor in action films and television series. Whilst not one of the wannabe idols that are the focus of the reverse harem element of this series, he is still level-headed and hard-working. His cool exterior and athletic physique give him a place on this list.
  5. Shou Kurusu: Shou is adorable, even if prone to shouting in annoyance. His lack of emotional baggage and lack of whining put him higher on the list than the likes of Ren, Masato, and Tokiya. His character design is also quite reasonable even if his hair is a bit weird.
  6. Ren Jinguuji: Whilst the hottest guy in this series, he is a bit of a whiner and tends to spend more time hitting on the ladies instead of focusing on his music. The saxophone thing is also a bit tacky.
  7. Masato Hijirikawa: Whilst good-hearted, Masato comes off as way too broody for his own good. Still, he is a lot less whiney than Ren and Tokiya. The only reason he is lower on the list than Ren is that I am not a big fan of his character design. His hair is weird. His beauty mark is also a bit distracting.
  8. Tokiya Ichinose: Whilst Hayato is the reason for Nanami wanting to become a composer in the first place, he comes off as way too whiney on account of his unwillingness to clearly and firmly convey what he is thinking. He creates most of his own problems, which places him at the bottom of this list.

So, to some points of humor, this series played around with some cliches. Whilst some of these related to character drama, we did see some amusing use of tropes to create drama. This included the following:

  • Workaholic Exhaustion: Over-work creates an immediate effect on the immune system.
  • Recharge a phone? Hell no!: After all, what better way to create drama than to have the phone go dead in the middle of a conversation?
  • Eccentric Overlord: Oh, Shining Saotome… Where would we be without this eccentric mastermind with “white devil” hair? (If you don’t get that film reference, you’ve been living under a rock.)

In conclusion, this is one of the better anime adaptations of an Otome franchise that I have also never played. Given how fun this series was, it is no wonder why it saw three more series. Whilst it may not be the most “realistic”, it was a pretty enjoyable and cute ride that I can see myself rewatching sometime again in future. I look forward to watching more in the series in the not-so-distant future.


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Anime Review: Aoharu x Kikanjuu

Alternate Names: Aoharu X Machinegun
Year: 2015
Episodes: 12 (English dub version)
Genre: Shounen, Sports, Action, Comedy, Gender Bender

Reviewer’s Note: This series is based on an ongoing manga series that began in 2012.
Warning: This review contains various spoilers.

As mentioned in other posts, I have recently taken to checking out a bunch of unfamiliar anime series. In an effort to mix things up a bit, I decided to see what old shounen action series I hadn’t seen or heard of before. There was a few but the one that grabbed my attention had an image of various gun-wielding figures on the cover. I thought, “Screw it – I’ll give this one a go!” And there you have my very underwhelming origin story of why I decided to watch will likely be a personal favorite series for some time to come.

Student Council President Hotaru Tachibana is often coming to the aid of others However, when she misunderstands why her friend Kanae will be mooching lunch for the next month and confronts a handsome guy named Masamune Matsuoka at an unscale host club. He decides to have an impromptu airsoft match in the establishment and promptly beats her. However, he offers to pay for the damages if she joins his airsoft team Toy Gun Gun. The problem is that they still don’t realise she is a girl and there is a strict no-girl policy that is place. As she pays off her debt by playing, she quickly grows to love the sport but soon realises that there is a lot more to the no-girl policy than cooties. So begins this over-the-top, action-packed sports comedy.

Many of you are likely unaware of what the sport of Airsoft is. Whilst it has been around for years, I recall my husband starting to watch Airsoft matches on YouTube around a year ago. I was fascinated by the sport and decided to look into it. I quickly learned some of the terms and about the equipment. The idea of using compressed air to shoot small pellets seemed like a simple innovation. However, the sport is illegal in Australia because these toy guys might be confused with real guns.
The depiction of airsoft in Aoharu x Kikanjuu uses many of the right terms but isn’t supposed to be a tutorial. It merely creates a setting for the story. We get this from that very first sequence where Masamune and Hotaru are playing airsoft in the host club. This same sequence also tells us a lot about what else to expect from the series.
This series had a weird first episode. However, I am glad that I stuck with it because I ended up watching the entire series in an evening. Repeatedly, my hubby told me to keep it down because I got a tad loud whilst watching it. There were so many hilarious and WTF moments throughout. I also loved the over-the-top drama that pokes fun at numerous anime and manga cliches.
To the characters, there are three members of Toy Gun Gun as well as about four noteworthy characters. The founding members are Masamune and Tooru, but there is obvious friction when Masamune invites Hotaru to join Toy Gun Gun. Masamune and Tooru Yukimura’s peculiar bromance is amusing. Masamune’s arc is the primary focus of the series and Hotaru become the catalyst for him changing his worldview. Over time, we also learn that Tooru is a popular author of sister BDSM hentai manga. Yes, you heard that right, you perverts! 😀 This element is used to comedic effect at several points in the series. As for Hotaru, the gender bender element is actually done well because of her somewhat androgynous appearance and personality. Hotaru’s best friend Kanae Yajima appears on a semi-regular basis but may be seen as more of a plot device, but even this adds to the humor of the series.

“I can feel the bloodlust coming from the other side of the wall!” ~Toshizou Usagi

The other Airsoft team of relevance is Hoshishiro which helmed by Masamune’s former school friend Nagamasa Midori – the “big bad”. Masamune looked up to him so much that he decided to dual-wield pistols. Nagamasa is a doctor that is joined by two work colleagues: Ichi Akabane (sniper) and the minigun-wielding Takatora Fujimoto. Takatora has a bit of a masochistic relationship with Nagamasa but is otherwise a good-natured character. [Sidenote: The second part of the name for this series refers to “machinegun” which makes me think (given a certain how sometimes folks confuse miniguns and machineguns) that Takatora might take a significantly larger part in the manga other than the handful of appearances he makes in this series.]
To the artwork, it was clean and colorful. Whilst the character designs were pretty standard, the backgrounds were pretty detailed. The art makes awesome use of color to enhance action sequences and dramatic dialogue. It really works and sometimes gives the feel of those over-the-top fight scenes of Dragonball Z but without dragging them out for longer than necessary. Based on several panels of the manga that I took a gander at, the art in the anime seems to do a good job of reflecting the core material.

In conclusion, I freaking loved this series and can seriously see myself rewatching it. It is a heck of a lot of fun and well worth checking out if you are looking for an over-the-top action comedy. It is a pity that it didn’t get another season but the series ended on the right note. I also intend to read the manga when I get the chance to see how well it compares to the anime adaptation.


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Anime Review: 3D Konojo Real Girl Season 1

Year: 2018
Episodes: 12 (English-subbed version)
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, School Life, Slice of Life, Drama

In stake contrast to the Isekai and ecchi series I have recently reviewed, I decided to give an unfamiliar series a watch. A quick series showed up a few shows with the romance listing that wasn’t another rom-com. In this case, I went for the first season of 3D Konojo: Real Girl. It turned out to be freaking adorable and appealed to some of my own nerdy interests. Be aware of several spoilers below.

When socially-isolated anime and game nerd Hikari Tsutsui defends the attractive but blunt Iroha Igarashi from a pushy ex-boyfriend, he gains her full attention. Their relationship will affect the lives of not two but eight people.

Based on internet chatter about this series, the franchise seems to elicit strong emotions on either side of the spectrum. Simply put, people either love it or hate it. In my case, I loved it. It is a coming-of-age school romance with a ticking clock. It was one of those series that also manages to place importance on individuality rather than collectivism.
I found the characters to be sufficiently complex. They are flawed but deep down none of the six teenagers that are the main focus of this series feel out of the scope of what is possible. Teenagers are brash, weird, and often don’t think of the consequences of their actions. They are also capable of kindness even if their ability to convey how they feel is sometimes a mess.
In the case of Tsutsui, he is in completely unknown waters and it is easy to feel for him when his girlfriend isn’t open with him. It also goes to the idea that Igarashi is somewhat clueless about relationships herself. Whilst their relationship is the central focus of the series, we also three two (legitimate) love triangles (Ayado to Hikari and Yuuto to Ayado) and the relationship of Tsutsui’s younger brother and the younger sister of Mitsuya Takanashi. I won’t even count Mitsuya’s crush on Iroha as a love triangle as this is more of a way for him to meet the rather troublesome Arisa Ishino.
Arisa’s own love life is a complete mess. Her friendship with Hikari and Iroha helps her gain a bit more perspective of what a more-functional relationship should look like. (Notice that I didn’t say that HikIro’s relationship was perfect because they are still figuring things out.) Then she starts harassing Mitsuya to date her. This results in some amusing dialogue between Arisa and Mitsuya. It worked really well overall.
Over time, we see growing friendships for the various cast members, as well as several love triangles. This plays out tastefully, with the case of Mitsuya Takanashi being especially interesting. Whilst he initially comes off as a bit of a douche, we also see pride being a big obstacle for him becoming friends with Tsutsui.
Of all of the characters, my personal favourite is Hikari’s best friend Yuuto Itou. Yuuto is a sensitive young man that shares Hikari’s love of games and anime. His trademark Neko beany reflects his child-like naivety. He is such a treasure and cute as a button. YuuAya FTW!!!
The art design wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but it was easy to discern each character, with appropriate backgrounds. The use of color and visual effect was done well, helping evoke certain emotions.

In conclusion, the first season of this series was a pure joy to watch. It was freaking adorable. However, it did draw things out a bit too much at times. It wasn’t to Dragonball Z levels, mind you, but it was still noticeable. This seemed to lessen my enjoyability of the series itself. That being said, I still enjoyed this series a lot and look forward to binge-watching the second season when it is complete.