Is the Order a Rabbit??
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??
Japesland – 7/10
I reviewed Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? (season one that is; one question mark!) back when it aired originally, and I noted how much I shamelessly enjoyed its moe comedy. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see a second season in the works, and I have not been disappointed! Just like the first season, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? (two question marks for two seasons!) earns a solid 7 for consistently entertaining every week, maintaining adequate visuals for its vision, and simply being adorable. If you’re feeling the moe itch, you can’t go wrong here!
Hot Springs Fairy Hakone-chan
Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
stardf29 – 5/10
Of the two shorts I’m reviewing in this post, Hakone-chan is one that I’m glad is just a short. While thankfully relatively devoid of heavy fanservice like you’d think a show about a hot springs spirit would be, there really is not much other substance to this show beyond the hijinks of the various spirits, and if it were any longer than 3 minutes an episode, it would get old really fast. Overall, this show is largely forgettable but still enjoyable enough for a quick watch. Probably what I liked most about it was all the different places in Hakone that were presented, many of which I went to myself during a trip to Japan (including Hakone) not long ago. Of course, that just means that this show is probably little more than an advertisement for Hakone…
Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
Annalyn – 7/10
Let’s start with what I like about The Perfect Insider: Visuals and music are both great. The philosophical elements of the first episode and last three episodes or so fascinate me—Saikawa, Nishinosono, and Dr. Magata’s musings about the meaning of life, love, freedom, etc. hold my attention much better than the rest of the show. Elements of the relationship between Nishinosono and Saikawa make me smile. The story surrounding Dr. Magata is intriguing—though occasionally disturbing. The characters are smart (which is great—I like smart characters. To prove it, they constantly talk out their insights on the mystery, the computer programs, and human existence. And that’s where my complaints begin. If you lose focus on what they’re saying for even a second, it’s hard to follow what happens next, because the dialogue carries most of the explanation and something resembling conflict. Only my intellectual side was ever excited, and then mostly by the philosophical parts, rather than by the mystery in between. Even the most disturbing or charming moments did little to pull on my emotions, and the conflict was completely mental. I was never convinced that the characters or their relationships were in any sort of danger. There wasn’t much humor either. It was just… a lot of musing, supplemented by nice visuals and interesting backstory. Obviously, not my kind of show. I should have known better from the start. But the way the past and present are woven together is rather clever, the story is intriguing despite the too-slow pacing, and it has a couple other good points. So I’m willing to give it a 7/10.
Chivalry of a Failed Knight
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry
Kaze – 5/10
Rakudai was my guilty pleasure of the season, perhaps of the year. For starters, it was an incredibly cliched show: students with magical powers check, MC is considered a failure check, MC is actually OP check, and girls fall in love with MC check and check. But Rakudai surprised me on two fronts (slight spoilers ahoy) – one is that the main heroine is actually a pretty good tsundere. Considering I just wrote about that archetype, I was pleasantly surprised by her character being much closer to the kind of tsundere I promote. Second is that Rakudai is in fact a romance, not a harem. The show pulls off an Oremonogatari, with the two officially dating and trying to figure out their relationship as the story progresses. And those two points I enjoyed very much. Unfortunately, the rest of the show is as cliched as it gets, giving the parts I liked very little time, and the final few episodes were just horribly executed.
Young Black Jack
Young Black Jack
Japesland – 5/10
I really wanted to like Young Black Jack. I really did. A derivative of the legendary Osamu Tezuka’s original work, a story attempting to tell meaningful stories in the medical field during the Vietnam War while using an art style not seen for decades sounds like the perfect recipe for something spectacularly original. Unfortunately, while some productions are greater than the some of their parts, Young Black Jack is quite the opposite, in fact suffering for not fully committing to any particular element of its storytelling, as well as being bogged down by mediocre animation. Young Black Jack really only serves as a nostalgia agent, as which I’m sure it succeeds tremendously, but as a standalone product it fails miserably and I simply cannot recommend it.
Komori-san Can’t Decline!
Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!
stardf29 – 6/10
This short series is one that I wish were longer. The main character, who finds herself helping almost anyone who asks her for a favor, is a character type that definitely is worth exploring, and the show does try to at least look a little into just what being the “helps everyone out” person means. However, 2 minutes an episode is just way too little time to explore this character type. What we get is definitely charming and cute and can at least get a conversation started on helping others, but this show desperately needs another season with longer episodes to truly capitalize on its potential.
One Punch Man
One Punch Man
Annalyn – 8/10
One Punch Man centers around a ridiculously overpowered superhero. In most anime, this would prompt complaints from the more critical anime fans. But this time, it’s okay, because the creators know Saitama is ridiculously overpowered, and they never pretend he’s anything less. The poor guy is so powerful, he’s bored. I’ve never been one to complain about overpowered heroes anyway, but the awareness of his power, combined with a costume that looks like some kid’s halloween outfit and an overall comical appearance… well, it works.
I do think this show is a little overrated, but I can’t quite pinpoint why. My complaints are limited: a little potty humor in the first episode annoyed me. The series ends with a lot of unanswered questions about Genos, so it feels incomplete… but then again, the manga is ongoing, so what else could I expect? This doesn’t feel like a show that should be so loved by so many. It’s kinda… goofy. I keep thinking, “Am I supposed to love this? Am I allowed to think highly of it, even though there’s no deep meaning?” The answer, of course, is that deep meaning isn’t the most important thing in anime. The story is entertaining, the humor put a smile on my face every week, and many of us have come to love the main characters. If an anime lacks those qualities, then “deep meaning” doesn’t matter, because few will stick around to understand it.
Thanks to everyone for reading our reviews as always! We probably missed some anime with our sparser than usual review, so feel free to add to our review in the comments below!
featured image by 鈴田 リキ | reprinted w/permission (pixiv illust: 53431419)