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Anime Review: How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Season 1

Year: 2018
Episodes: 12
Genre: Fantasy, Isekai, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, NSFW

When I first saw the manga version of this series listed online, my first thought was that it would be an Overlord. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. DEAD WRONG!!! After watching it, I do believe that it should be renamed, “How to Summon a Hot Dude with Horns” or perhaps, “How to be Summoned to Another World and Suffer from Blue Balls until the end of Time.” It all depends on your sexual preferences, I suppose.
After waking up one morning, I discovered that my husband had watched four episodes of the series and seemed to really like it. He managed to convince me to watch it and I was initially amused. By episode three, I was totally hooked. Hubby, of course, spent most of the time debating whether he preferred catgirls over elfy boobs. Important questions… The answer is 42.

Anyhoo, beware of some spoilers below.

A certain player named Takuma Sakomoto chose to solo as a “Demon Lord” called Diablo in the MMORPG Cross Reverie for years. When he is summoned to a world suspiciously similar to the game as his avatar, our sexy male protagonist learns that his magic reflection ring affected the two women that managed to summon him. Staying in character as much as he can, our socially awkward and sexually inexperienced protagonist travels with Rem and Shera in search of a way to free them from the chains of summoning and hopefully also manage to find a way to return to his own world. The player now known as Diablo quickly learns that he is one of the most powerful beings in the world.

So, where to start? Well, this series is an Isekai fantasy. The standard setup for the first few episodes is for our protagonist to learn about the world. Whilst this is true, we did manage to see the best villain in anime history beginning in the first episode. Yes, he dies a few episodes later, but our resident mage shows a gift for intimidating dialogue and evil planning that shall go down in the annals of history. May he rest in pieces…
A lot of the humor in this series is at the expense of our budding protagonist he is bombarded by attractive women. Yep, most of it is boob and butt related, with a large sprinkling of innuendo and obvious lewdness. And you know what? I do not care because I freaking loved this series.
Whilst the arc relating to Rem having the demon lord Glebsklem bound inside of her felt like it was going to be the central arc of the series altogether, we are quickly introduced to a bunch of other characters that make life difficult for our main character and his female companions. The rivalry between Rem and Shera is adorable but they quickly learn to work together now that they are both technically Diablo’s slaves.
There was also a short arc involving Shera’s brother which is pretty f’ed up. This was, however, strongly hinted at around the fourth episode. The continuation of this side arc towards the end of the season also helped form a stronger bond between Diablo and his summoners whilst also helping him deal with his trust issues.
The harem elements of this series are a little odd because Diablo doesn’t really have a romantic interest in the first season. Whilst Rem and Shera might be seen as front-runners, he is constantly restraining himself for various reasons. We don’t really see the jealousy commonly seen in harem series either. It is one of the strangest harem series I have come across so far because some of the common elements of a harem are completely absent in the first season.
I liked the art design in this series. Whilst there are slight differences from the manga, these are quite small overall. The character designs are solid even if they do reflect some common archetypes in anime.
As far as Diablo’s design was concerned, he reminded me of Gintoki from Gintama but with horns, a few markings, and fantasy garb. You also get idealized physique, a trait of many MMORPGs. This is a slight contrast from a lot of harem series where the protagonist has an average or close to an average physique. Three thumbs up for attending to the bishounen enthusiasts in the audience. I don’t know where I will get the extra thumbs but I will find one somewhere. Maybe a dumpster or something…  

My only issue with this series is in the last episode where most of the females in the cast attempt to give him magical energy. Sure, this is an ecchi series but it seemed out of character. There is no feeling of gratification in this sequence, just a weird sexless orgy thing. It was a real head-scratcher.

In conclusion, I found this series highly entertaining. Whilst it isn’t perfect, the comedic elements and drool-worthy appearance of Diablo more than made up for it. I highly recommend this series for anyone that enjoys an ample amount of comedic filth.

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Anime Rewatch: Mayo Chiki

Year: 2011
Episodes: 13
Genre: Seinen, Comedy, Harem, Ecchi, School Life, Gender Bender

Back in 2016, I first watched and reviewed this series. Given that my tastes have changed a bit since then, I decided to rewatch to see if I enjoyed it as much as I did back then. Surprisingly, it held up quite well.

For those unaware, it is the story of a young man (Kinjirou Sachimachi) with gynophobia who discovers that the “prince” butler of the school (Suburu Konoe) is actually a girl. The contrived reason for disguising herself as a boy is amusing but it also means that only herself and a handful of other people know her situation. Her mistress, ridiculously rich Lady Kanade Suzutsuki, decides to mix things up a little by messing with the duo after discovering Kojiro’s condition.

Just like then, the rom-com tag seems a little bit of a stretch. However, the over-the-top, silly humor still managed to keep me entertained through the rewatch. Part of this is due to how stereotypes were amplified, as well as pointing out obvious cliches in anime and manga. We see the obsessed fan-girls of Suburu, the Rotten Girl enthusiasts shipping Suburu and Kojiro, ultra-violent girls that overreact over the slightest thing, the ultra-violent and over-protective father, host/hostess cafe culture, etcetera…
Another point of interest that I missed during the first watch of this series, was how Kojiro’s male friend effectively gets kicked to the curb as soon as Kanade gets involved in Kojiro’s life. I also overlooked the treatment of Kinjirou at the hands of the females in his life. He is a heavily mistreated figure. Instead of standing up for himself, he is nice to his tormentors due to a deathbed promise he made to his father many years before. This is a pretty standard cliche for male protagonists in harem rom-coms.
Could this series be better? Certainly. However, Mayo Chiki still manages to be highly entertaining in spite of its numerous flaws. A second viewing also didn’t hurt either. But this is, as always, my own opinion on the matter.
I know at least a few of my blogging buddies heavily disliked the series when they watched it. And this is perfectly okay because they could at least communicate why they disliked it. Knowing why you like or dislike something can help with picking new series in the future.

In conclusion, whilst it is certainly not the best series, I still like this series years after I first watched it. Feel free to go over my previous review of this series linked above for more information on the series. Anyway, I highly encourage you guys to watch an old series and let me know how or if your impressions have changed over time.


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Anime Review: Infinite Stratos Season 1

Year: 2011
Episodes: 12 episodes (English-subbed version)
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Romance, Science Fiction, Mecha, Sports, School Life

Years ago, I heard chatter on the interwebs about a mecha series called Infinite Stratos. It looked like it could be a good fighting anime. My interested was perked but I have only just got around to watching the series. It turned it to quite a bit different than I imagined.

In the future, a machine originally meant for war becomes subject for the world’s most popular sport. These exoskeletons bond to their athlete and can then be summoned through an object worn on the individual. They can also only be used by female pilots. Or at least, that is what everyone thought…
[Off-Screen: After getting lost whilst trying to find a room for a test, Ichika Okimura finds a room with an IS unit in it and his curious enough to touch it. It activates and he is given the ability to take an entrance exam to the prestigious Infinite Stratos training academy.]
When Ichika arrives at the academy, he is surrounded by a bunch of females, including his childhood friend Houki (her sister also invented the machines and makes the cores). He is also taught by his taskmaster older sister, a woman that went from world-class athlete to teaching students how to use the units after he was kidnapped during an international meet. As he is surrounded by more and more female admirers, will he survive the first year at Infinite Stratos?

This series is not terrible, but it isn’t great either. The promotional pictures suggest a mecha action series but this really doesn’t reflect the content. Instead, it is an at-times confusing ecchi comedy masquerading as a mecha sports and romance series. And yet, it was somehow entertaining. Entertaining garbage, certainly, but entertaining nonetheless.
The character designs are good even if the faces were a bit pointy, with each character being notably different from the rest. The exoskeletons were visually interesting as well, even if a bit weird “scientifically”. The story was, however, oddly absent of cats. Why do I mention cats? Well, felines are a staple in anime and manga. They are cute, get up to mischief and are often the tool by which we can see other things that are happening in the background. Come to think of it, I think the only animals that we did see are birds… Perhaps the artist didn’t like the idea of putting animals in harm’s way.
The voice acting was hilariously bad, with deliberately bad stereotypes. It was not meant to be taken seriously in any regard but might be deemed “racist” or “sexist” in today’s political environment. The anime cliches were out in the open for all to see. Back to the voice cast, there is a bunch of familiar faces, such as Monica Rial as Houki, Shannon Emerick as Charlotte, and Josh Grelle as Ichika.
The conflicts in this story are a bit contrived as a whole. It rarely makes sense but it is predominantly used as a delivery tool for fan service. It is a weird series that should in no way be taken seriously. It also feels at times like the author was mocking numerous genres. I might, however, be wrong about that. Whilst I will unlikely be watching the second season, I can say that watching the first season wasn’t a complete waste of time.

If you are looking for a series featuring lots of fan service, then Infinite Stratos might be an option. Just note that the story is not the best and the faces are a bit pointy.


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Anime Review: KonoSuba Seasons 1 and 2

Year: 2016-2017
Episodes: 2 seasons of 10 episodes (English-subbed version)
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Ecchi, Isekai

I first came across this series after watching a video compilation of funny clips from various ecchi series. A clip from KonoSuba perked my interest and I began to do a bit of research on the series. This led to me watching my first Gigguk video, in which he discusses KonoSuba in great detail. It was enough that I felt a strong desire to see this blasphemy against all thing Adventure Fantasy. And with that, I watched my first episode. I loved it and thought that my husband would find it funny as well. Alas, it would take me close to a year to convince him. It was enough to get him to start watching anime again. Here’s hoping that I don’t reveal too many spoilers. 

Kasuma Sato is a teenaged shut-in, spending most of his time reading manga, watching anime and playing computer games. During a rare excursion to collect a newly released game from a nearby town, he dies trying to save a girl from being hit by what he thinks is a truck. He awakes in front of Aqua, a goddess that repeatedly mocks him for his embarrassing death from shock at being hit by a tractor. He is also given two choices: go to heaven (which is quite boring) or go to her world to fight the Devil King with a special item. He picks the latter and decides to choose Aqua as his item as retaliation.
Aqua is replaced by her underling Eris and the duo are sent to a world very different from modern Japan. With Aqua losing much of her power, Kasuma uses his knowledge of gaming to navigate a fantasy world with computer game elements. They soon meet two female party members: the explosion-loving magician Megumin and Virginal Masochist Knight Darkness. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

A good series has the ability to not only make sense from a plot standpoint but also do interesting things with character. In KonoSuba, we see the mockery of archetypes and in our resident “heroes” constantly having to clean up messes that they started, all the while trying to stay out of debt. The initial hurdle of joining an adventurer guild was small compared to the perils that they have to face on account of each other. Getting the four to work as a team will be an ongoing job. However, the story really works and the four develop a reluctant bond.

  • Kasuma: NEET that is constantly fighting an uphill battle with his own party members. He just wants to be the hero and eventually have a girlfriend. If only…
  • Aqua: An egotistical water goddess that is lazy and a bit of a chicken. She likes to point out that Eris uses pads to make her breasts look bigger. If only she could get her clergy to acknowledge who she is…
  • Megumin: Explosion-obsessed Loli-like magician that becomes paralyzed after using a single spell… her only spell. She’s not interested in learning anything else.
  • Darkness: Large-breasted female knight with a fetish for pain and humiliation. She has issues hitting people but seems to be able to hit inanimate objects without a problem.

I also liked the world-building aspects of KonoSuba. Whilst we see the European fantasy aesthetic, there is more to the world than that. It is a living, breathing world with computer game elements such as character sheets. The nobility is snooty, often throwing their weight around over petty things. There is also a secret sex club in the starter town where Succubi sell dreams in exchange for a small amount of lifeforce to survive.
The adventurer guild evaluates each new member, rating their ability in order to help match the adventurer to appropriate work. Their card also allows the members to see if they have skill points to spend. Trainers charge for skills, which resulted in Kasuma learning how to steal. Of course, the first time he uses the power, he manages to steal panties. About that…
As mentioned in the genre overview, this is an ecchi series. Much of this is on account of having a masochist in the group. Darkness is a freak, pure and simple. Her taste in men… leaves something to be desired. But all of the main characters have very unique flaws. These flaws play out in interesting ways.
You will also notice that “harem” and “romance” wasn’t on the list. That is because KonoSuba is not that sort of story. It is a story about idiots and freaks, not a “kissing book”. Whilst Darkness likes being chastised by Kasuma, none of the females in his party are girlfriend material. As it is, he really likes Eris as she was kind to him on numerous occasions that he died during an adventure. Kasuma also acknowledges that he has no chance of having a girlfriend like her. Being called Trashuma hurts one’s chances of meeting other girls as well.

In conclusion, I really love this series. It is a franchise that deserves a lot more love because it doesn’t take itself too easily nor does it makes excuses. It is fun, playful, and downright enjoyable. KonoSuba was a pure joy to watch and I really look forward to getting stuck into the manga and light novels as it appears that a third season isn’t going to happen. There is apparently an upcoming movie, as well as a crossover with several other isekai series. I am not overly sure about the latter, but will still probably watch it.


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Anime Review: Trinity Seven

Year: 2014
Episodes: 12
Online: Crunchyroll, MAL, Wikipedia
Genre: Shounen, Comedy, Supernatural Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Harem, Ecchi

I apologise that it has taken me months to get around to reviewing this series in spite of completing it last year. Time to get to it!

Halfway through last year, my husband and I were looking for new anime to watch. We scoured numerous lists for something that we could both live with. Then we happened across a compilation of scenes that featured a rather amusing scene from Trinity Seven. Intrigued, we looked around for more information on the series and it noticed that it was in numerous lists across the various applicable genres. One of those just happened to be a “best harem” list. We decided to give it a run. The series is based on long-run manga series.

During a breakdown event, Arata Kasuga discovers that there is more to the world than bumming around the house or going to school . With the discovery that magic exists, Arata becomes a mage in order to protect his Grimoire, an entity that has been looking out for him since his previous world disintegrated in a previous breakdown event. At Royal Biblia Academy, he meets the other members of the Trinity Seven. He will come to understand what become of his cousin, all whilst avoiding become the Demon Lord.

To begin with, Trinity Seven is set in a rather unique universe. Given that magic is a pretty important part of the setting, we see a host of different rules and terminology for those wielding it. One of the biggest issues is the ongoing threat of Demon Lord candidates losing the plot and transforming into a Demon Lord. The series does a great job of avoiding info-dumps, offering information as it becomes relevant to the current situation. This allows the viewer to learn alongside Arata.
This series was hilarious. Whilst other harem series have a bit of a pushover for a male lead, Arata is such an awesome character. He is confident in his own “perverseness” and is eternally optimistic. Whilst the former sometimes results in physical assault by members of the opposite sex, it is also something that helps break down the social barrier between himself and those around him. The latter manages to be a game-changer as well.
The rest of the cast are based off of the typical anime and manga archetypes but they each contribute meaningfully to the story. We see solid character arcs and character development that allow for a level of gratification. There is a lot of fan service but this, oddly enough, helps move the story along.
My one annoyance for this series is the Lilith character. She is a little tiring to watch. Whilst there is a bit of a character arc for Lilith, it doesn’t have the level of gratification of most of the other female characters in the series. Compare this to Arin, the shameless figure that believes Arata to be her destined future husband. Arin might be a little odd but she feels more true to her own nature. This is my main issue with Lilith, a character more likely to lash out that address her own emotions and inclinations. Lilith just comes off as unlikeable.

Whilst I really loved this series as a whole, the end episode was annoying in that it left things open for another season without delivering. Alas, this is all too common these days, with many good shows being cancelled before they can offer sufficient closure for viewers. At least we have the manga series which is still ongoing since it began back in 2010. I recommend this series to folks looking for an example of a good harem comedy series with decent world-building.


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Anime Review: Mayo Chiki!

Episodes: 13 (English dub of Japanese series)
Mayo Chiki! Online: Wikipedia, IMDBMyAnimeList, AnimeLab, Anime Planet, Hulu,
Genre: School Life + Comedy + Harem + Gender Bender + Ecchi

After watching yet another list of “romantic comedy” anime on youtube, I decided to give Mayo Chiki! a watch. I have seen a few shows that make use of some of the major elements of this series, but the folks behind the series seem to have woven them into an oddly entertaining mix.

English: Mayo Chiki!'s logo Español: Logo de M...

English: Mayo Chiki!’s logo Español: Logo de Mayo Chiki! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayo Chiki! is the story of a young male student named Kinjirou that has anxiety related to the opposite sex. His world begins to take on a significantly weird turn when he discovers that the teenaged butler of the richest girl at school is actually a girl. Kinjirou becomes the object of the machinations of a rich and bored girl’s attempts to “cure him”. Did I mention that she is also a huge pervert?

To begin with, this show is over the top and makes use of numerous character archetypes. Ultra violent little sister that likes to use him to test out her new wrestling moves? [Kureha Sakamachi] Check! Long-suffering male protagonist with nose-bleed and fainting problem whenever he gets close to girls? [Kinjirou Sakamachi] Check! Aloof cross-dresser with a violent streak? [Suburu Konoe] Check! A perverted rich girl that likes to mess with people that she cares for? [Kanade Suzutsuki] Check! Big breasted spectacled girl with a Shonen Ai and Slash Yaoi obsession? [Narumi Nakaru] Check! A feisty, sometimes violent girl with a heart of gold? [Usami Masamune] Check! There are other notable archetypes to be found in this anime, but the ones listed are the ones with more airtime. Also, what is with all of these girls (and sometimes guys) not being able to tell that Suburu is actually a girl cross-dressing? I suppose that this “tranny blindness” is yet another anime and manga trope, though. That and the obsessed fan club thing…
To the plot, it is ridiculous but fits into the Ecchi Comedy genre. The series makes good use of fan service, innuendo, comedic violence at the expense of the male protagonist. Unlike the use in several other Anime and Manga series, it doesn’t feel as hit and miss with this show. We know that Kinjirou is a good guy because of how much shit that he is willing to put up with from those around him and subsequently overcome, which makes him a solid main character. This willingness to persevere in spite of the stuff going on around him and to him makes him admirable. Unfortunately, it also makes him a target for nefarious sorts such as the puppetmaster Kanade. This show is neither realistic or logical and doesn’t attempt to be. Instead, it is constantly breaking the fourth wall by way of characters commenting on what is actually going on.
As for the “romantic comedy” tag listed on other sites, I do not feel that it really fits this series based on what I watched in this lone season. The fact is that the proposed love interest picked her job as butler over the possibility of pursuing a romantic relationship with Kinjirou. This does open things up for other potential love interests, such as Usami. However, the fact that the series ends so abruptly irritated me greatly seeing as the story did not end with the thirteenth episode. Nothing was resolved as far as Kinjirou’s problem was concerned, leaving him in a situation where he still cannot have a real relationship with a girl because of his anxiety issue. That feels a little sad for me given that I grew attached to the idiot.

Mayo Chiki!

Mayo Chiki! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In conclusion, whilst the series was not a game-changer, it was highly entertaining. If you are looking for an over-the-top Ecchi Comedy featuring a long-suffering but good-hearted male protagonist, then this series will likely appeal to you. Do not watch this series if you are looking for something realistic because you will not find it here. If you decide to give it a run, I’d love to see what you thought of the series.