Btooom!

Ever have that anime where you get to wait anxiously for news of a season 2 that may never come? That is the life of an anime watcher. There are many on my list that I hope to see a season 2 or 3, in the end I read the manga so I can get some closure to the anime.

I do try to avoid anime that I’ve heard just drop off after 12 episodes with no clear resolution and “Btooom!” was one of those anime. However, I ignored my warning that I was about to watch something that would leave me unfulfilled and started watching.

This anime has your usual NEET that is 22 years old and lives with his mother. Ryouta does excel at a game called Btoom! He is ranked 10th worldwide and then gets invited to play in a real life Btooom! game. This kind of reminds me of SAO but for adults. The characters are there in their actual bodies unlike SAO (as far as I know).

All the people are on the island and they need to kill each other and collect the green chips that are in their hands. If you get 8 you get to go home. This is your usual kill people and survive anime.

I know there are a lot of these anime out there that pit characters against each other to the death but once again it is the unique characters that make this anime great. Maybe people just like to watch the struggle of people who have never killed before be forced into situations. It is like a psychological study of human nature.

The backstory of the characters is what makes it worth it *some spoilers ahead*

Ryouta ends up forming a small band of people together to see if they can get off the island alive. He eventually teams up with Himiko who turns out to be his “online gaming wife” she has trouble trusting men which is understandable from her backstory of seeing her friends get raped. We do find out from her back story that she was nominated to partake in the game probably because she ran instead of helping her friends.

We learn through each backstory why the characters were chosen for the game someone had to just nominate them to disappear. The characters don’t know why there are there and have to figure out what their bombs are for and how they work.

Somethings I like about this anime is that there is a different strategy for each type of bomb and not everyone gets the same type. Before people attack they have the draw back of not knowing what type of bomb they will face.

Another thing I like is the backstory of the characters. You get a lot of tragic characters that you root for and then there are those where in your mind you believe they are worthy of their fate on the island (what does that say about us the watcher… ­čÖé ). There is also a lovely crazy who gets to enjoy all the killing. Hey, there’s gotta be one in every anime right?

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Yes, this is a very graphic anime, but if you enjoy SAO and Future diary it is like a mixture between the two.

We can always hold out hope for a season 2 but from the looks of it the game didn’t sell well so we may be stuck with the unsatisfying ending of season 1. Happy watching!

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Bakuman

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There are certain animes that have characters you root for and you hold your breath with them in their success and failures. I was fortunate to find the anime “Bakuman” on hulu last year and it only took me a couple days to watch this anime and it was an all around enjoyable experience.

One of my favorite things about this anime is that it is really relatable to those who are trying to make a career out of their art or passion. I think among the masses it is assumed that success is “overnight” they don’t see the hours of work put in and the rejection to get to that success. Then when you reach the point of people wanting to buy what you create it is still an uphill battle to keep their interest. When you go after your dream it takes more than an hour and I’m a believer that the difference is those who give up and those who keep working despite their disappointment. It is so hard to “make it” but also some battles you never see coming.

Just like in “Bakuman” the characters have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy when it comes to what/how they create. The characters Mashiro and Takagi want to create a manga. Mashiro is the artist and Takagi creates the story line for them. They are both in high school when they start this dream which is amazing and I think it does a good job showing the audience that you are never to young to start on your dreams. Does that sound corny? Well, if you just look you can see teenagers and young kids accomplishing amazing things! There are those who want to hold them back because they are in high school and don’t believe that they can handle the pressure. They are given a chance and they have those who believe in them.

As the anime progresses the viewer is just as anxious about every phone call as the main characters. Will they get rejected? Will their one shot make it into a series? You cry with them in their disappointments and you rejoice with them when they are successful.

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These two are some of my favorite characters and their relationship and trust with each other make this anime great.

One thing this anime does is really open your eyes to the world of how manga is created and what goes into the manga you read. They work grueling hours and often sacrificing their health to create a great manga. This anime goes into the health of these characters and how they push their bodies to the limits. Have you ever read a manga and then the artist went on hiatus for their health? Watch this anime and then maybe you will understand the strain they put on their bodies. I think sometimes as consumers we demand constant creations from writers and artist but we fail to understand the time it takes them to make these things and that they have a right relax and enjoy their life too.

There is a bit of romance in this anime, but for me it wasn’t that great. I understand the reason why Mashiro and Miho want to wait see/talk to each other since relationships do take time away from work, but I think it was a bit silly and I found myself not caring that much about their relationship and not really liking Miho. She does come through for him at crucial moments but in the end the support that Kaya gives Takagi is more of what a partner needs to┬á be for their loved one that has a mistress called manga. Kaya does annoy me but in the end if it wasn’t for her Takagi would have fallen into the hole of a manga that he didn’t love.

The story-lines that the main characters create in this manga are very interesting and I almost want to see some of them actually be created. One of them actually reminded me of the “King’s Game” plot and after writing my post on that anime it made me recall this sweet anime about those who create manga. You also get to see bits of the different manga genres and that is interesting to see the process and the formula behind them.

I liked the story arch where they end up creating a manga that they don’t love and it starts to destroy their spirit. I saw this theme before in “This is Us” where the actor quits because he wants to be taken seriously. They continue to make this manga but it isn’t something they love however, the readers love it and there is no end in site. So they do something that could basically kill their career as manga artists. They ask to quit drawing the manga.

That is a moment where you see that to them it is never just about the money or success. They want to make something that they are passionate about and that gives them joy as well. It is a risk they are willing to take for their art and their goal to get an anime based on their manga.

As someone who wants to write, that story arch seems so crazy to me. Why would they give that up? But the one who creates needs to be happy with what they make. Sometimes you can be amazing at making something and people love it, but if it doesn’t bring you joy why do you keep doing it? Probably money.

Give this anime a chance. I was happy that I found it on my hulu feed and it has some amazing side characters with fun personalities. There is a message about helping other artists who need you and they use each other as motivation to be better themselves. You root for them all and seeing them be successful give you hope! This show has a lot of heart and humor. Hope you enjoy!

King’s Game

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There are a couple of darker anime this fall and King’s Game is a brutal blood bath. I have to admit I was excited about this anime and I’m finding myself to be a bit disappointed in its execution (pun intended).

In this anime a group of students get texts at midnight giving them orders from the king to follow and if they don’t they die in horrible ways. Sometimes the orders are to kill others or do various things with other students. There is that period at first where everyone thinks it is a sick joke then people start dying and then they all freak out and go after each other instead of trying to work together.

I love the idea and I may have to find the manga and see if it is done better than the anime. One thing I don’t like is that so far the first episodes are flashbacks to when the main character Nobuaki went through the King’s Game already at his old school and survived (obviously). I really wish that season one would have just been about his first time in the King’s game then maybe season 2 would be about his new school. The flashbacks are annoying and I don’t care about any of the characters since there are so dang many of them. The only reason to watch is to see how many horrible ways that people die. There is a hint of backstory about some of the characters, but it is rushed and you still don’t care about them.

In episode 6 last week it finally came together with the plot and maybe a hint of what the King’s Game actually is, but once again why the flashbacks? I’ll say it again, I really wish that season one would have been about Nobuaki’s first school since it basically is doing that, but we know Nobuaki survives and we can assume that his girlfriend dies although we technically don’t know that yet.

And can I say random yandere warning? That part was weird and didn’t even make sense, if we would have gotten to know the character more it would have been a cool surprise but whoa right out of the gate just seemed odd.

The concept of this anime is so interesting and rushing it just makes it hard to get into the psychological aspects of “All these people are dying around me and I’m powerless to stop it.” This would have been so good! However, the audience needs to care about these characters, at this point their deaths aren’t don’t carry an impact.

Yes, I will continue to watch it. My anime life this fall seems to be just watching these new anime and hoping that they get better. Here’s hoping!

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Re: ZERO – Starting Life in Another World

There are many reasons to return to an anime. Sometimes you watch a first episode and you like it but you aren’t in the mood for it, so you wander, find something new, and then come back later. I watch the first episode of Re: ZERO last year and I wasn’t drawn into it. I usually give new anime a good 3-4 episode try (heck, I’m still give Black Clover a chance) but I never went back to Re: ZERO until I saw that my Akibento box’s theme this month included Re: ZERO. That put the nail in the coffin, I didn’t want to have Re:┬á ZERO merchandise if I hadn’t watch it or at least tried it, and whoa was I surprised.

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When I watched the first episode last year I was expecting more of a light hearted comedy about an idiot in a new world something like “Konosuba” that came out last spring. Subaru the main character does give off the idiot vibe but when you witness the first blood bath you kind of sit in front of your TV in shock and the phrase, “Well, that got real dark” crosses your lips.

From my other reviews/opinions so far it is evident that I am attracted to darker anime this one was almost a bit much for me towards the end. Mostly from the shock factor, I think in my mind I was still expecting a cute little anime about someone being transported to a different world. Even though again and again the body count rose and people died in horrible ways.

The frustrating thing about this anime is that none of the major plot points are resolved and this desperately needs a season two or at least I need to go find the light novel to read. We don’t know why he is in the world which strikes me as strange since that seems like something we would have found out at the end of season one. We do know some of what the witch wants but it seems that she needs Subaru to accomplish it and we don’t know why. Which I’m fine with not knowing that yet since from reading various articles there does seem to be news of a season two.

Some of the times when he came back I didn’t understand certain side plots, like the whole whale side plot but I guess they explained how it was necessary but to me it wasn’t that believable. Just when you think things are going well for Subaru they escalate quickly and everything goes wrong real fast. It is hard as the watcher to take a breath and believe that things are actually going to progress and move on for him. Thankfully that they have new restart points because if he went allllll the way back, it would get real old.

I noticed in all my research that people think Subaru should be with Rem. She does get more time in season one to be awesome, but from the start you could tell that he was into Emilia so it wasn’t really a shock to me that he “chose” her. In love triangles like this there never really seems to be a choice to me since it was evident that Emilia is the heroine and that he was always more into her. Rem is the more interesting character in season one and gets waaaay more backstory. Maybe if there is a season two it will give the watcher a chance to connect to Emilia since honestly I don’t think her character was very interesting in the first season. However, there is a whole episode of Rem and Subaru talking and that episode drags on and on and on. It is painful to watch how long it is dragged out and I think I lost focus with all the “Oh I like you but” nonsense going on. Seriously it was like the whole episode of them talking on a roof.

I do want to know if in the future if they are going to be facing different archbishops with different “sins” we meet sloth in this one and I didn’t understand *spoiler* how he survived the knights attack but died when Subaru wrote in his “Bible” with blood. Maybe I just missed something.

In the end I did enjoy the action, the concept, and the character growth of┬á Subaru and Rem. There are a lot of unanswered questions and plots that don’t make sense so I do hope there is a season two. This was a surprising anime to me and I’m happy that I finished it.

 

Recovery of An MMO Junkie

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One thing that is great about anime is that there are so many different types. There seem to be quite a few gaming anime’s but this one is only 5 episodes in and it has stolen my heart.

The main character is a NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) I first learned that term when I watch ReLife (which is also amazing and I see that season 2 will be coming in the spring). She is proud of her NEET life and protects it. There is a little bit of backstory that shows the viewer that┬áMoriko Morioka did have a job at one point but we don’t know yet why she left that job. She is a socially awkward character which I think many people will relate too. Although I still have to go to my day job, but yeah it is tempting to stay at home all day and watch anime and read books.

She starts a new MMO at the start of the anime and she likes to play hot guy characters. I like this twist since sometimes the focus is on men who like to play woman characters in MMO’s and they forget that it does go both ways.

There is some alluding to an old game that she used to play which is basically cut scenes of the two characters laughing. As of episode five we don’t know the history of the last MMO she played or what led her to her elite NEET life.

Over all the main character is relate-able and there are a lot of funny moments. The interaction with the male characters makes you smile and yearn for the next episode. It is a very sweet anime so far and I look forward to the next episode. This looks like one of the better anime this fall so give it a try!

Black Clover First Reactions

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Every year there is that anime with all the hype surrounding it. “Attack on Titan” gets this claim to fame whenever the creators deem that they will grace us peons and make a new season. Sometimes the waiting can be brutal and then in the end the anime is just not worth it (Don’t get me wrong I love AoT).

This fall “Black Clover” has been getting all the ads and the hype. The trailers looked promising and the manga readers, “Read the manga or you’re not a real fan” (I don’t care if you read the manga or watch the anime do what makes you happy. Seriously) came out of the woodwork and then rejoiced at their beloved manga getting a show.

Maybe I will have to check out the manga because the first episodes were disappointing. It is the curse of the hype. We expect such amazing things and then it isn’t delivered. I am sticking with it and I was very pleased with the ending of the 4th episode and I’m hoping that it will get into a nice grove.

The first few episodes are very rushed and you can tell they want to get the plot moving. Things seemed jammed and are disjointed. Okay here’s a random villain, Okay there are special clover grimoires, okay he likes a nun, no magic, super magic, wizard kings, magic knights, orphans, discrimination, tatoes, and yelling oh my! It is a lot to take in and with the annoying yelling voice of the main character and the bland personality of the rival, one just wants to give up.

I like to give anime a 3 episode try and I gave this one 4 and I think I will keep watching it. I do hope that the yelling tones down because that is annoying and I really hope the pace slows down and they stop adding in info dumps to the exposition. I get it that some don’t like anime with slow starts, but if you dunk us under a waterfall and tell us to drink, the world won’t make sense and we won’t like it.

In the end there are other fall animes that are first on my list this year. I’ve enjoyed them more than “Black Clover” however, I will continue to watch and hope that it will live up to its hype. “Not giving up is my superpower!” (when it comes to anime haha)

 

Bungo Stray Dogs

 

BungouI saw a lot of hype about “Bungo Stray Dogs” in my news feed and I put off watching it for a long time. I regret that. This anime has turned into one of my favorites. As mentioned in the last post I love strong characters and “Bungo Stray Dogs” delivers on vastly unique characters with really awesome magical powers.

When you watch the first episode it doesn’t seem unordinary then a few minutes the character Dazai floats in, hopefully you will begin to love him as much as I did. He in fact is my favorite character and as you watch there is an era of mystery about him. No one knows what he did in his previous job and there is such a slow build to this plot point and then when you hit season 2 there are 3 backstory episode just for him. They even have a special intro just for those episodes which are amazing and stand on their own.

I’m an English Lit major and their abilities, character traits, and names all have to do with classic authors in Japan and eventually other countries including the United States. How cool is that? I found myself pausing the anime so I could get a full description of their power and catch the authors name that they were referencing. It was a really cool use of mixing old authors with anime. Their powers were clever and the way their were drawn also references the authors work.

There are plenty of characters to love but it also has a rich world and the mystery behind why everyone is chasing after the main character, Nakajima. We won’t realize why until later in the season.

Nakajima at the start of season one has just been kicked out of the orphanage that had been plagued by a mystical white tiger. He doesn’t understand why he was singled out and throughout the anime he deals with the mental abuse he faced while he grew up. Nakajima tries to find worth in himself and then joins a motley crew that investigates cases that the police are not equipped for or can handle.

This is where you get to meet a rich assortment of characters that have different personalities and are lovable in their own way.

The art work is beautiful and the story is rich! I hope you enjoy “Bungo Stray Dogs” as much as I did!