A Cut Above – A Severed (PS Vita) Review

I know I don’t write about video games anywhere near as much as I do with anime, but this week I came across a game that I thought deserved some attention. Severed, from Drinkbox Studios, came out this week on the PS Vita, and by golly did I like it a lot. Now, I know most of you reading this probably don’t even own a Vita, so if you were to indulge me for a few minutes it would be much appreciated. Heck, maybe this will convinced you to buy one, eh?

While I don’t consider myself a huge fan of first person, touch-based dungeon crawlers, Severed managed to sink its claws into me in a way not many games can. The gameplay alone is so frantic and fun, yet precise and nerve racking. It’s kinda like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a game I was also very fond of. It’s a simple mechanic, swiping in the right direction at the right time, but something about it is so darn enjoyable that I always looked forward to another encounter rather than be annoyed by yet another obstacle in my way. Perhaps it’s the sound and animation paired with each blow that makes it so utterly satisfying. It’s an especially rewarding feeling once you start severing off every limb without even a hitch.

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The puzzles are pretty clever, but never too obtuse or frustrating that I’d start considering giving up. This of course is just my completely subjective experience. That being said, I certainly don’t put myself on any sort of pedestal in terms of mental or puzzle solving capability, and I would expect a human of average intelligence to be able to complete these conundrums. Although I don’t really know how to measure intelligence either. So let’s just say there are puzzles. You’ve been warned.

Back-tracking’s a bit of a pain, made no less difficult by sun/moon doors and magic gateways. Getting everything in the game basically means you are going to waste about an hour to nothing but the act of movement. What’s worse is that you’ll probably forget to view the wonderful scenery when focusing on pure navigation and staring intently at the mini map in the upper right. Also adding to the rush and neglect of scenery is the fact that there’s still a boss battle awaiting you, and you really want to get there as fast as you can. It’s a shame, but if you have the mental fortitude to actually stop and smell the roses, I recommend you doing so. I had to remind myself of that a couple times, and it was worth it because the art style is just so gosh darn pretty.

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Before we move on from gameplay, I just want to take a moment and talk about the tutorial…I wish games would stop treating me like an idiot. I, as well as most likely every other owner of a PlayStation Vita, know how to play a fucking video game! Enough hand holding, enough explanations, enough slowing down so I can grasp the idea of swiping a screen to attack or pushing a button to jump or aiming down sights with a trigger. If you really need to include a handbook, put it someplace I don’t have to see it. There was one stroke of genius in Severed’s approach to teaching you the game. It was a pot. A cracked, purple pot, that if broken, deals you damage. An incredibly simple hazard, ones that I came across and broke, more than a few times before realizing I should avoid them. I learned, and I didn’t need a big flashing arrow and a writing prompt to figure that out. Unfortunately, this game needs to teach you how to use your weapons, and although these moments are few and far between, and truly a minor hiccup in the overall pace of the game, I can’t help but feel disappointed in it. Tutorials are not for everyone and should not be in the way of people who do not need them.

But other than that, Severed is a fantastic game!  The writing is pretty minimal, but can be funny, charming, interesting and dreadful, all at the same time. This feeling of dread and despair carries throughout the entire game, and feels incredibly separated from Drinkbox’s previous game Guacamelee, despite having such similar art styles. I can’t speak much toward the soundtrack, as I know very little about criticizing music, and my scale consists of two sides: “Sounds good” and “Doesn’t sound good”. So I’ll just leave you with “sounds good”. There is no New Game + mode, which is what it is. I think I probably would’ve liked having one, but I’m not particularly disappointed by the lack of it. The overall length of the game, again, is what it is. I don’t really measure a games worth by its length, but I clocked in at 6 hours -1 for back-tracking. Oh, and it has a pretty obtainable platinum, so that’s cool.

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Severed is a very unique game with a dreadful/beautiful aesthetic and thoroughly engaging gameplay. Although the tutorial is a small bump in an otherwise smooth road, there’s really nothing too unlikeable about this game. The back-tracking, while a tad tedious, was necessary in experiencing every secret Severed had to offer. I don’t really do recommendations here, but if you have a Vita…I mean, wink and a nudge yo.

And seriously, how cool is it that the PS Vita actually got an exclusive in 2016?! Thank you Drinkbox! And of course, thank you (reader) for reading.

Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 4

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The sense of guilt that Atsushi has is cliché, misplaced, and utterly annoying. I hate it when a good guy blames himself/herself for something a bad guy did. If it wasn’t for me existing, this terrible thing wouldn’t have happened. Fuck that shit to hell and back, because it’s tired and stupid. It makes the character appear tired and stupid. Now, I understand that feelings aren’t logical and it makes sense to think that way in certain situations. That can’t be helped. What can be helped is the stupid shit they try to do afterward to solve the problem. Kill themselves, quit the team, negotiate with the enemy, etcetera, etcetera: All the dumb crap protagonists trick themselves into thinking is the right thing to do.

In the end, nothing good comes from it and the main character ends up looking like a total asshat. I try to avoid this at all costs, but Bungo Stray Dogs…well, it takes a different approach. Atsushi feels bad because it turns out the mafia is after him and that makes him feel like he’s more trouble than he’s worth to the agency. This point is hammered in even harder by the reoccurring orphanage flashback that still hasn’t been fully explained. An orphanage hates him for some reason, and that’s all we really know. Go die in a ditch, yadda, yadda, yadda-we get it, alright? Atsushi feels like a burden to everyone around him, and this time Dazai’s not around to out “suicidal-thought” him.

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Then we have another blunt showing of how menacing and evil the mafia is. There’s nothing very interesting going on for the antagonistic side of things so far, which is a shame because I often like having the villains be the more intriguing of the two in a good vs evil narrative. So far I’m not seeing a plan from this group. It’s more like they’re doing bad things for the hell of it. They massacred a warehouse full of workers. Why? Who knows! All we can really take away from this is that the mafia is big and scary and not to be fucked with. Oh, and of course Atsushi happens to be there to see the carnage, only adding to his head full of fear and self-doubt.

But now we get to the good part. Atsushi’s stupid antics aside, the mafia decides to take the detective agency head on, now with three times the force they had in the warehouse. Things are looking very bad as Atsushi see gun shots and broken glass from down the street. He rushes back, carrying all his guilt and fear and dread with him, only to find the mafia utterly crushed. Turns out these raids are nothing new to the agency, thus smacking down all the stupid thoughts in Atsushi’s little mind. He’s not a burden, these two sides would still be at each other’s throats whether he was in the picture or not. Hopefully this will be the last we see of Atsushi blaming himself for everything.

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Onto other things, I liked how the deaths were handled from last episode. Well, almost deaths, I should say. One of the agency members has the power to heal anyone that’s nearly dead, although I don’t think that’s actually explained in the episode. All we really know is that the procedure is painful, and kinky, and I kinda want to know more about what’s going on there, for…reasons.

And as I alluded to earlier, there’s not much Dazai in this episode. In fact, he gets one scene, and it’s only for a suicide joke. Odd, but I guess it lightens the tension in some way? I don’t know, I felt like the show could’ve just done without it this week. Anyway, that’s my write up for episode four! I seemed to be in a swear-y mood today. Huh. So what did you think of the episode? Tell me in the comments or tweet at me without any context whatsoever, even if you’re reading this years after the show aired. As always, thanks for reading! Hope to see you come back next week for more thoughts about kinky medical procedures.

+ Akiko Yosano’s gift

+ Atsushi’s doubts are finally squelched (hopefully)

– (Probably not though)

– Blunt showcasing of menace

First Impressions of Spring Anime 2016

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Ah, nothing like a spring anime season after a cold, harsh winter anime season to warm one’s frigid heart. Can’t say I loved anything from last season, but I’m feeling a lot better now. In fact, I haven’t liked a line up this much since last spring. I wonder why that is…anyway, here are my impressions of a bunch of shows, all conveniently airing on Crunchyroll right now.

Kiznaiver

Let’s start off with the big one. I love everything about Kiznaiver. I love the characters, the plot, the art style, the humor, the characters, etc. Oops, I said “characters” twice. I guess that’s just because I find them so utterly enjoyable. Even though some are reminiscent of archetypes I usually dislike, they remove themselves enough from the standard and cut all the crap, leaving nothing but the good. Hajime Tenga is Kamina from Gurren Lagann, except I don’t hate him. Tenga doesn’t run his mouth quite as often, doesn’t force himself to be the leader, doesn’t do incredibly stupid things out of some misplaced sense of pride and determination. Sure, he’ll bust in to smack some bullies around, but he doesn’t hop into a fight he knows he can’t win. Hajime knows he’s not invincible, and most importantly, he has fear which makes him much more down to earth and relatable. The others are great too, and I feel like I should save that for another post. But aside from characters, I love the experimental plot Kiznaiver has, by which I mean literally throwing a group into an experiment. I love these kinds of plots because it allows you to throw whatever crazy shit you want at the characters and see what happens. And it adds an extra layer of mystery. Why are they being tested like this? Hopefully the payoff is as good as the setup, because Kiznaiver absolutely nailed it. Plus the art style is bloody gorgeous. Oh, and the OP and ED are 6/5 okay hand emojis.

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Joker Game

Every episodes seems like a slow burn to me. The set up leaves a lot to be desired as I often find myself fairly uninterested. But over time, usually to around the halfway point, I finally find myself entertained and I’m suddenly engaged in the espionage the show totes itself on. The show has a way of turning itself around near the end, but it doesn’t leave me wanting for more, so much as it has me satisfied with what I received. The characters however, are less than satisfying, due to the fact that I don’t know who any of them are. They all look incredibly similar (business suit, black short hair, sometimes glasses?) and besides the main character, they are all spies that relinquish as little information about themselves as possible. It’s very had to distinguish them, I certainly don’t remember any of their names, or faces, or any sort of defining characteristics whatsoever. The stories are interesting though, so it has that going for it. Joker Game is also set in WWII, which is…fun, I guess? I mean, WWII wasn’t fun, but it might be an interesting place to tell a story. Lastly, the OP and ED are not very memorable at all, to the degree that I can’t recall the tune in my head. I remember the OP had some cool visuals though, so there’s that.

Re:Zero –Starting Life in Another World-

I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again. Re:Zero –Starting Life in Another World had generic fantasy RPG crap written all over it. So it came as quite the surprise when I found myself actually liking it. Sure, it’s not brimming with personality to the level of Kiznaiver, but it feels like it has something that’s strictly its own. And I’m not talking about the aspect of restarting. That’s already been done by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. What makes Re:Zero its unique is typically what makes any story unique: the characters. Subaru is, for some reason, likable. Sure, right now he feels a tad thinly written, but he lacks the things that could make him a totally annoying dominator protagonist. Instead, he has no powers, isn’t incredibly smart, and gets beaten a lot. And when I say he isn’t incredibly smart, I mean he’s actually a little dumb, by which I mean he doesn’t get a grip on what’s happening as quickly as I would’ve liked. It’s not a problem though, it’s actually quite believable and in no way a turn off to his character. He actually reminds me of Juugo from Nanana’s Buried Treasure, who was also a good protagonist despite the lack of any powerful abilities. The more subtle action sequences in the show are quite enjoyable, but when Super Knight shows up, things get a little boring as he stomps everything in his way without even a sweat. I hope that doesn’t keep happening, as there’s rarely anything interesting about a flawless character. Also, the Ending theme is fantastic and I can’t stop listening to it.

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Mayoiga

Campy horror at its finest…okay, maybe not its finest, but I’m still having a good time. I do find it odd how a lot of it takes place in the daylight, as monsters usually thrives in the darkest of nights. But we don’t really know if there’s a monster yet. The group suspects it’s a bear, but a lot of creepy things keep going down and everyone’s on edge, so who knows what’s really going on? Perhaps the paranoia will reveal that they themselves were the monsters all along. Or whatever. Quite frankly, this entire motley crue seems SUPER killable from the very beginning, but perhaps that’s what the show wants us to believe. The foreshadowing in the first episode was almost blunt to be true. A bunch of people who are basically dead to society going off to hidden village that the outside world can’t seem to reach without a guide. Other than the lack of Wi-Fi, what could possibly go wrong? As for the characters, there’s only one in particular that I absolutely hate. Never in my life have I ever wanted a protagonist to die so much, but god, Mitsumune sucks so much, it’s borderline offensive. Hyperbole aside, he is such a little weeny that no character should find themselves liking, and yet of course he’s going to get at least two if not more girls blushing at just the mention of him. He’s young and dumb and weird around girls, and has no redeeming qualities outside of being the token nice guy that I’ve grown to despise over the years. Again, hyperbole aside, I hate him. But I love the Opening theme. The animation has its moments, but what really drives it home is the sick guitar. Gotta love it.

Tanaka-Kun is Always Listless

Gotta love it when shows use uncommon words like “Listless” or “Myriad” in their titles. Also gotta love it when a show is like Kawai Complex but sleepier. I like this show quite a bit, and what really makes the show great isn’t the main character. It’s the supporting cast. Tanaka-kun really only serves as the center of the show, around which the colorful and cute cast can shine around. Miyano is adorable, admirable, energetic and adorable. She’s everything I’d want my apprentice to be. But she’s not JUST cute. I don’t really like cute for the sake of cute, and so if Miyano was JUST cute I probably wouldn’t find myself liking her so much. You see, she can actually convey human thought and emotion, and has a motivation that makes sense, that doesn’t just exist to create exceedingly moe moments down the road. I mean, those happen anyway, but at least she has the drive to make it there. She’s more than just kawaii, I swear. And Oota is solid husband material. Away from the characters, the overall humor of the show is one that I enjoy. It’s lofty, some might even say tired (pun of the day), and worth a nice, soft laugh. I like the color palette, the overall style, and OP and ED. The ED is especially cheeky, I like where the two Miyanos run into each other and explode as the song ramps up a bit. Gotta love it.

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Flying Witch

Okay, I clearly got to stop saying “gotta love it” so much. I’m forcing it, and I know that, and I should tone it down before I beat my new catchphrase to death. As for Flying Witch, I would offer the opposite advice. Tone it up a bit, please, because right now I am very bored and sadly you do not have the humor that Tananka-kun has going for it. The characters are dull, the writing is bland, and I’m losing the will to keep watching. If this show is trying to be funny, I’m not laughing. If it’s trying to be cute, I don’t care. I hate being so harsh on a show like this, but there’s just nothing interesting going on. It’s come to the point where I’d actually pray for some fanservice, because then there might be something actually entertaining about this show. Right now Flying Witch is just a show about a witch that can fly. That’s it. We’ll see where this goes, but so far I’m not impressed.

Big Order

A weird show, with a weird plot, weird world, weird powers and weird mouth animations. I don’t understand what the main character’s power even is. He can dominate everything? Shouldn’t he be sitting atop a throne as ruler of the world? I don’t know about this, but the CG is pretty bad and the characters aren’t very likable. Not much else to say, really.

Space Patrol Luluco

I was hoping this wasn’t Inferno Cop again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Inferno Cop, but it’s an old joke that doesn’t need repeating. Thankfully, Space Patrol Luluco isn’t Inferno Cop. It’s kinda like Inferno Cop, but with some actual effort put into the writing. The jokes are funny, the characters are cute, the OP and ED are nice, and the plot seems to actually go somewhere.

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And that’s it folks! Sorry if you were looking forward to a list feature of anime characters that wear classes (as my last week post may have hinted at). Perhaps another time. So what do you think about the anime airing now? Do you love Kiznaiver as much as I do? What do you mean you haven’t watched it? Go watch it, it’s good, I swear. Feel free to leave your comments down below and come back next week for another feature. Thanks for reading!

Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 3

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A nice, simple start laced with great gags and an amazing potential running mystery; is how Bungo Stray Dogs decided to begin this episode. The suicide gag that Dazai runs is especially on point this time around, causing me to audibly express my amusement, amplified greatly in the reality of which I exist. I LOL’d. You’d think jokes about ending one’s own life might be a put off, but I actually find it quite morbidly refreshing, and the way the jokes are delivered is so expertly written and timed that even though I know it’s a running gag, I still don’t see it coming. It’s fantastic, and never too similar to a joke previously made, so I would ever grow tired of it. Hopefully that continues, as well as all the other eccentric antics that this group seems to go through on a daily basis.

Before we move on from the opening scene, an intriguing mystery arises as the agency decides to let Atsushi in on their little game. It’s a guessing game, one where the members of the agency try to infer what every other member did for living before joining the team. The enigma that emerges from this is one that I thought they would run in the long haul, although I could see them revealing it at the end of the current episode as well. No one can figure out what Dazai was before the agency, and so now there’s a huge cash prize for anyone who can come up with the answer. And the answer is good, but more on that later.

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From there the group gets a call alerting them of a new client. What comes from this scene is a mission, an antagonist, and another Dazai suicide joke. The client has a problem with smugglers and needs the help of the agency to scope it out/take it down. Meanwhile, it is explained to Atsushi-kun (and the audience) that there is a big bad mafia, and special people within it that you should avoid at all cost. This of course leads to Atsushi meeting said person. But before that we get a scene of that evildoer doing heinously evil things to a police station in an attempt to hammer in the sense that you should not fuck with this person. Other than that, I felt the moment was a little unneeded, but cool all the same.

Probably the worst part of this episode was how bluntly the trap was produced. The client leads them to an alley and reveals she’s with the mafia. Okay. She pulls out an Uzi and guns down the sister. Not okay. Then Junichirou reveals his special ability which is kinda cool, I guess. Ryuunosuke shows up and takes him down, slaps his partner in her face because she failed, and reveals that they wanted the weretiger all along. Then they fight and Dazai shows up just to save the day. Turns out he planted a wire on the chick, which was pretty smart. Although, he did wait until two of his comrades were down, which wasn’t pretty smart. But this whole situation where the group gets trapped fairly easily wasn’t very smart either.

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What was smart, however, was Dazai’s previous occupation being revealed. If you were expecting that answer then maybe you felt differently, but I sure as hell didn’t see it coming and therefore thought it was awesome. And I still think this show is very awesome, despite its lackluster trap this episode. Hopefully they move away from the straight forward action setups to something a little more unexpected and cerebral, as I felt that these characters aren’t so dense as to fall for a simple alley way ambush.

+ Suicide jokes on point

+ Great ending ties with deceivingly simple beginning

– Reliance on crappy action tropes

– Completely un-clever ruse

My Anime List and Me

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As I sat there, in my chair, in my house, on a Saturday afternoon, home after going out for lunch and buying some new guitar strings, I pondered about what I would write for my weekend feature. It’s too early for a First Impressions Spring 2016 feature, as I feel the need to watch at least three episodes of every show before having a somewhat firm opinion. I wasn’t prepared for any of my feature ideas in the backlog, like my Bioshock review. That would require me finishing Bioshock, and I just didn’t feel like being incredibly annoyed at the time. A list feature would be my last resort, had it come to that. “Top ten anime characters with glasses”, I thought. There’s just something so endearing about vision defects, and I’m sure there are people out there who feel the same way and would appreciate such a magnificent list feature of my favorite heroes and heroines that don the spectacles and then we could all bask in the glory of near sightedness. So I went onto MyAnimeList.net to look back on all the wonderful shows I had enjoyed over the years, all while trying to recall which ones had featured bespectacled beauties. And then I realized: MyAnimeList.net is awesome, I should write about that.

And so here we are now. MyAnimeList.net is awesome. It’s more than just awesome. It’s a fantastic utility, one that provides its users with a litany of resources, customization, social networking tools and etcetera to fulfil more needs than I could possibly have, all while being one (if not) the best database in the world for our most cherished form of entertainment: anime. Oh, and they have manga too. Most importantly, you can make a list of everything you watch/have watched/will watch/stopped watching, which is all it really needed to do.

Just in terms of sheer usefulness, MyAnimeList cannot be beaten. Never has it been so easy to find the anime I’m looking for, original and English title, with the character list, their voice actors, in any dubbing language, with the directors, and studios, and publishers, and PVs, and news, and discussions, and adaptations, and clubs relating to the show, and list goes on. What’s even better is that you can see what’s simulcasting right now in what regions (legally). Plus you can have friends and a profile and a list and stuff.

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And that profile and a list and stuff? You can customize the shit out of it. You can also share the shit out of it. Check out my sick list, special thanks to user SylakentH. I sure as hell couldn’t have made that, but you might be able to with some knowledge of web design and a decent sense of style, something I also don’t have. You can also deck out your profile page with sweet gifs like this. Look at that. Isn’t that just adorable? Plus you have your comments, favorites list, progression bar and more!

Progression feels good. Real good. That’s why I like trophies and achievements in my games. Sure, it might be a shallow sense of accomplishment, but it’s still a sense of accomplishment, and when I see my trophy level go up it makes me just want to play more. And so when I see my number of hours spent watching anime go up, I want to keep increasing it, resulting in me watching more anime. And that’s a good thing, right? I mean, there’s certainly nothing better I should be doing with my life. Because anime is life. And love. And everything good in this world.

Moving on, let’s talk about clubs and discussions! They’re cool, and often helpful, like the custom list groups that share sweet looking list designs for everyone to enjoy. They even have tutorials. What a nice group of individuals, banded together for a fun and noble cause. There are also fan groups, like for those of us who really like anime characters with glasses. And of course, you can also make your own. Then there are discussions and a forum ripe for browsing. Spoiler threads for the episode you just watched conveniently on the page of the anime itself, for all to take part in. Plus other threads, for other things. I personally don’t visit forums very often, but when I do they seem nice enough.

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Then there’s user reviews, which are a nice thing if you like hearing what other people have to say and can handle someone not having the same opinion as you. If you find a review you really agree with, you can friend that reviewer, or at least give their profile a visit. If you don’t agree with them, write your own review and then move on with your life. At least, that’s what I do.

I could go on for days about how fantastic MyAnimeList is, but what’s truly important is this: They don’t stop. MyAnimeList is always improving and adding new features to its beloved user base like news, streaming, private messaging, notifications, and etc. And hopefully it’ll keep doing so in the future.

This post has been sponsored by MyAnimeList. Go there, for all your anime listing needs. Just kidding. No one would ever pay me for anything I do. I just like giving credit where credit is due. MyAnimeList makes my life better. It didn’t save my life or pull me out of a crippling depression or anything. But it makes my day to day a little more enjoyable. Sometimes you just got to acknowledge the everyday things in life that you take for granted. Oh, and I forgot to mention that it’s a site where I’m comfortable turning my adblock off. I try to support whoever I can on the internet, but with ads these days being so gosh darn intrusive (and sometimes malicious) one’s gotta look out for oneself, ya know? Thankfully, MyAnimeList does not have intrusive or harmful ads (at least in my experience), so that’s another plus.

Thanks for reading this week’s feature, sorry for being a little late in the day. That part about me going out to lunch and buying guitar strings was true. As for that part about me having a glasses fetish, well, who knows? Find out next weekend here on There Goes My Kokoro.

And comment below if a list feature of characters with glasses is something you would totally want to read. Ciao.

Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 2

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This episode starts with another Dazai suicide joke. While quirky and expected, I can’t help but feel it’s alluding to something. If Dazai keeps trying, one day he’s bound to succeed, which would be sad considering he’s such a cool and playful character.

But this is what I love about this show. It keeps a balance between serious and humorful that’s hard to pull off. This makes the show unpredictable, as I can’t tell if a running gag will turn out to be more meaningful down the road. Bungo Stray Dogs even likes to squeeze its comedy into the tensest of situations, while not taking away from the dire reality at hand. Like roshambo to decide who has to talk down the mad bomber, there is no moment too grievous for Dazai to lose his eccentric charm.

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Although this did just turn out to be a test, which may have been the reason for his calm demeanor, I would like to think he’d be just as languid if it were the real thing. In hindsight, the test was kinda obvious, but in the moment it was just so compelling and fun that I didn’t care. The bomber is in the Opening credits and clearly a main cast member, but I just assumed this might be his induction into the agency as well. Dazai definitely seems like the type to welcome someone who threatened to blow up a building full of innocent people.

Still, the plan worked out great, having Atsushi prove his worth in the noblest way possible, retelling the age old lesson that it’s not the power that makes the man; it’s his actions.

+ Pretty colors and scenery

+ Tension + comedy = happy

+ Cool outfits

Meme Oshino – My Favorite Type

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Despite not being a cute anime girl, Meme Oshino is one of my absolute favorite characters in anime, and fiction in general. He is someone the piques my interest every time he’s on screen, someone who knows all the answers and gleefully decides to hold that information until the time is right. Although seemingly lackadaisical, he’ll jump in when, and only when, he is needed. And for those of you who don’t know who I’m talking about:

“Meme Oshino (忍野 メメ, Oshino Meme) is a middle-aged man. An expert in the supernatural. He becomes Koyomi’s informant when it comes to oddities for some time.” –Wikia

I cut some parts of that description out, in case you wanted to watch/read Kizumonogatari first in the series (which would be the chronologically correct way).

Meme Oshino is what some might call “eccentric”, and his sense of fashion is no exception. As if to exemplify his languid nature, he wears just the simple getup of a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sandals. His face has a little scruff and his hair is in an eternal state of “bed-head”. Plus he has few strange little accessories, like the single earing of an inverted cross. With just a tiny bit of flare, Meme Oshino is the embodiment of “care-free”.

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Which is of course, is a huge part of his personality. Meme is aloof, laid-back, mysterious and detached until ultimately needed. He is a neutral party, one that’s neither for our protagonist nor against him. Oshino’s primary objective is balance. We as the audience do not know why, and do not need to know why, but gladly accept his presence (I may be speaking only for myself) as he tilts the scales until the odds he sees are fifty/fifty. It’s almost as if he’s purposefully lax and strange to counteract the serious and straight forward nature of the people around him. Outside of that struggle for balance, there is no need for Oshino to do anything, and so he doesn’t.

And contrary to his goofy, indifferent nature, Meme always manages to be the smartest in the room. He offers sage but often vague advice to balance the tides without blunt instructions for the main character to carry out and save the day. That would be boring, and so Meme tries to have a little more fun with the characters. And there’s a sense of amusement to everything he does, from the way he acts to the cheeky references and jokes he makes.

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Meme Oshino is truly a delightful arbiter of balance with such an entertaining ambiguity to his very state of being that we (mainly I) can’t help but love, trust and admire him.

But what are your thoughts on Meme Oshino, or just aloof characters in general? Do you like him as much as I do? Have you even seen Bakemonogatari? Comment down below and then come back next week for another feature! Thanks for reading!

And seriously, if you haven’t yet, go watch Bakemonogatari.