Why I Dropped Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-

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13/25 episodes

Before we get to the obvious reason of why I’m dropping this show, I want to give a little attention to the flaws aside from Re:Zero’s completely unlikeable, loudmouth, brain-dead moron of a protagonist. The basic idea for this show’s plot is interesting, albeit unoriginal. Just like a video game, Subaru can respawn back to a certain place and time. There’s a lot of potential in this narrative structure, Continue reading

All Bite, No Bark?- A Bungo Stray Dogs Review

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Bungo Stray Dogs is about a detective agency made up of “gifted” and eccentric individuals. Most members of the Agency wield their own unique, supernatural ability, and together they make a mighty force to combat the mafia. Also, only one of them is an actual detective.

Now that I’ve filled you in on the basic plot of the show, let’s get right to the heart of the matter. Bungo Stray Dogs is, at times, a mess. Through a series of awful setups that only lead to decent and sometimes good payoffs, Bungo Stray Dogs shows its inability to make a plausible plot with understandable or compelling villains. Its tone is completely unbalanced, the motivations of its protagonists are often over-explained while still remaining nonsensical, and to top it off, its main character is a total Mary Sue. Whatever there is to like about this show melts away by the time the season reaches its halfway point, and only somewhat returns to form for its finale.

Continue reading

Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 12

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Let’s start this final episode review with a trend that I’ve been noticing for quite a while now: Terrible cold opens. They’re not funny, cute, or interesting in anyway shape or form. There’s nothing of value in it from an entertainment standpoint. So why do some shows insist on having them? Using this show as an example: Atsushi wakes up, smells food and notices Kyouka. Then he says “Huh?”…and that’s it. What purpose did that serve? After the opening theme plays we learn that Kyouka is staying with Atsushi, a fact that was completely meaningless to the episode as a whole. Even if it was something important to acknowledge for next season, which I can almost guarantee it’s not, they could’ve made that point with one sentence. Instead, Bungo Stray Dogs decides to waste our time with the most innocuous shit, like a sharing a room with a cute girl.

And from there we move on to the American business deal thingy, or whatever you want to call it. These guys want the Agency’s permit for gifted people or something, then the dude outright explains what it is to the person he’s trying to buy it from. The exposition could be important to the audience, but it makes no sense as to why a character in his position would say that.

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Luckily, aside from the unneeded cold open and stupid business transaction, I can’t say I had too many gripes with this episode. For the first time all season I found a villain who actually seems cool. Starting from that great elevator scene, she immediately comes off as the most mysterious and menacing character this show has ever seen. We find out her power has something to do with making people disappear, and we don’t learn anything else about it until Atsushi and the others find themselves the victim. So I guess I’d call that a very good way to keep me intrigued throughout the episode.

Moving on to the dimension that this villain created, I must say I’m quite pleased with the subtlety of the approach here. From a busy intersection to an isolated nightmare world in less than a second, there is no obnoxious plotting or exposition to get to this point. Now, there are a few lapse in logic here, like why would she decide to give them a fighting chance? And how did that whole door mirage thing work if he still got sucked into it? But if you just ignore that, it’s a pretty good time. There’s a cool fight, and they mentioned orphans without bringing up the flashback! And the villain herself seems like an interesting character with just the right amount of depth to keep me interested and not sick of her.

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There’s also that twist at the end…and it’s fine, I guess. It showed that this episode was not an end to the season whatsoever, and seems to make this season feel like it just existed to set up the next. And I think I’ll save what I have left to say for my final, overall review. So stay tuned for that. And thanks for reading.

+ Cool villain

+ Great elevator moment

– Useless Cold Open

– Blunt exposition for no apparent reason

Character’s So Good It Hurts – A Kiznaiver Characters Analysis

Tenga

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I’ve talked about Tenga at least twice already from previous posts, and now with the season coming to an end I can say with utmost certainty: Tenga is a moody, teenage Kamina from Gurren Lagann. This isn’t a bad thing, and if anything, this is the only thing that makes him likeable as a character. Tenga-kun feels like he has a soul, which is something Kamina totally lacked. In Kiznaiver, Tenga is introduced as the brash, violent schoolyard ass-kicker with a heart of gold. He could’ve easily been the token bully in this story, but instead he goes and defends Katsuhira from thuggish brutes from the very beginning. Aside from not being a total jerk, Tenga’s other enjoyable/relatable qualities include but are not limited to: His style, his less-than-pushy attitude, his capacity for fear, and his emotional insecurities. Starting with style, I mean, just look at him! That chain, that watch, oh, and those shoes! I don’t know, I think he looks cool. Onto his pushiness, or lack thereof, Tenga never really forces himself into the spot light. He doesn’t interject very often, and when he does it isn’t to make himself the center of attention. No one likes the asshole that keeps interrupting others, and so I’m glad Tenga isn’t that kind of person. I’m also glad that Tenga fear, which was the crux of my argument for why Kamina isn’t a good character or human being. Fearlessness is overrated. Human beings have fear, and they should embrace that because it’s a crucial part of survival. And although what Tenga fears turns out to be kinda silly, and least he fears something, which makes him a person. Finally, his emotional insecurities wrap this character up in a neat little bow. He likes someone, and I totally called it in a previous post.

Nico

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Nico has to be my favorite of the group. Besides just the overall adorability that this character personifies, I think she has an incredibly entertaining personality. Nico is weird, but it turns out she’s been actively trying to appear weird, which in and of itself is weird. She also refers to herself in the third-person, and I just happen to really like that in a character. Alongside Tenga, Nico seems to be the only other character with style. The rest just wear their uniforms (except for Yoshiharu, but I don’t really know what’s up with him). Nico on the other hand, looks and acts delightful. Her sweet and charming personality matches perfectly with her outward appearance, and it all blends well with what she really wants deep down: friends. It’s hard to believe she could ever have trouble finding some, but needless to say I would gladly jump through my screen and into her world to try and fill that void. Anyway, Nico is utterly fantastic and a much needed joyful spirit to even out the much more somber cast overall. And her voice actress is, in a word, exquisite.

Katsuhira

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Katsuhira is an interesting outlier of the typical romance protagonist. Yes, he is the middle of a love triangle and yes, he seems to be blatantly uncompassionate to one side of that triangle, but there’s a difference here, damn it! Katsuhira is like those blissfully unaware harem protagonist that we all know and envy/hate, with the exception that Katsuhira isn’t an oblivious fool. He’s actually a little more observant than one might think, although most of his observations are on Noriko. But he has an idea of how Chidori feels about him too, thanks to that episode 2 confession. He just doesn’t know how to deal with it, due to his mysterious lack of compassion/feeling. He knows how she feels, but how could he possible understand those feelings? His main character trait is not having any, and that’s what makes him so interesting and unpredictable. All he really has is his search for the truth, and it’s a bit sad for Chidori, but this will obviously lead him to Noriko.

Chidori

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Chidori is a pretty basic childhood friend archetype at her core, and what makes her unique isn’t any specific personality traits of her own. What makes her special is what’s happening around her. The plot and the other characters force her to move onward, keeping her from staying the friend with a secret crush she could never admit. No, fuck that, said studio Trigger as they forcefully yanked that love confession right out of her chest. And then they just kept going when it came to making sure she’s staying true to herself. As the pain she feels piles up, and as all the embarrassing admissions start to weigh her down, she’s soon to be the first one to collapse, and through her ties from Tenga through to Nico, is sure to cause a domino effect for the Kiznaivers as a whole. Heheheh…a whole.

The Others

Now, because I don’t feel the other Kiznaivers hold as much weight as the others in the story, I’m going run through them real fast. Honoka had her time in the spotlight but then quickly faded back to being the cynical and somewhat snide character on the sidelines. Yuta likes her, and kinda drops his cool guy act for what seems to be the first group of real friends he’s ever had. His backstory, while simple, is pretty relatable and makes him more endearing/understandable as a person. Then there’s Yoshiharu, who just plain doesn’t add much to the group. That being said, he has an interesting, sort of symbiotic relationship with Katsuhira that justifies his existence. A person who can’t feel pain paired with a person who loves to feel pain, what’s not to like? Plus they seem to have interesting conversations with each other because they’re the only two with nothing to hide. Here are the rest of their pictures:

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I like the way Honoka slides.

So that’s what I think about Kiznaiver’s cast of characters. I’ve been hearing a lot of mixed reactions toward them, some saying they’re too archetypal, but I’d beg to differ. I think Kiznaiver takes flawed archetypes and makes the best of them, making them not terrible like Kamina from Gurren Lagann :3. But what do you think? Do you like these characters? And how have you been feeling about the show as a whole? Heheh, I said “a whole” again. Thanks for reading, everybody.

Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 11

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Let’s start with the intro for a bit before jumping into the main two parts. It was…odd? I know Bungo Stray Dogs is no stranger to getting weird and comedic, but it’s starting to feel like it’s not on purpose any more. Early in the season this show would usually start with a joke that leads to the next part in the plot. The intro scene we saw this week serves only one purpose, which is to confirm that Kyouka is now part of the team. While that’s totally fine and a point that needed to be made, Bungo Stray Dogs had to turn a simple gesture into a poorly delivered dramatical punch to the crouch. The boss shows up and Kyouka asks to join them and brings up that Ryuunosuke said she was only useful for killing so she wanted to prove him wrong but oh no she’s killed 35 people, an arbitrary number that’s supposed to define just how much of a killer she is, but they were using her and it wasn’t her fault and now Atsushi is asking on her behalf as well because his word means something to the boss or whatever and then we get back and forth close-ups on the boss and Kyouka’s face and he says yes and that’s it. Quite an unnecessary mouthful, but there you have it.

The Mafia Part

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Okay, this could be an interesting plot development. The Mafia is divided or something. I’m actually not entirely sure what was going on here but the blonde evil chick and her lackeys are back, character’s we’ve spent literally one episode with. I don’t know them and I certainly don’t care what happens to them, and actually I was hoping the story was going in a different direction when it was revealed there was unrest in the ranks. Honestly, I was hoping for a reset, for the higher ups we haven’t met yet to just kill the enemies we’ve already come to sort of know. The only one even worth keeping is Ryuunosuke, because he’s has the most screen time, plus some sort of relationship to Dazai. But instead of a clean wipe, we get this: Blonde chick whose name I’m not going to bother looking up fights to save Ryuunosuke but fails in her attempt to run straight at a group of armed men and somehow defeat them, but it’s okay because just as we hear a gunshot and assume she’s dead it turns out to be the other dudes coming to save the day, hip-hip-hooray, and she gets to Ryuunosuke and cries all over him. Where they go from here is completely beyond me, but I hope they drop the melodrama and go right for the action.

The Farm Boy Part

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So Atsushi and Kenji go out to investigate what’s up with some weird exploding car accident or something. As to why they aren’t using all their resources to take down the mafia that’s been tearing this city apart, who the fuck knows? Let’s focus on this piddling little crime even though it’s the second to last episode of the season. Starting with the character just introduced, even though it’s the second to last episode of the season (I know I said it twice), Kenji is an honest and gullible farm boy with a heart of gold to match his glowing exterior. His power is super strength, but only when he’s hungry. And that’s all you really need to know about him. They eventually find themselves surrounded by a gang who thinks they’re onto them when in reality Kenji wasn’t suspecting a thing. I guess that part was a little funny. Then Kenji goes all Shizuo from Durarara!! on their asses and that’s it.

And then after the credits we get a nice Dazai gag which I also thought was a little funny.

Come back next week for the final review, and then the overall review probably a few days later. Thanks for reading.

+ Kyouka is cute

– ^The only nice thing I can say about this episode

From Bad Anime Comes Good Inspiration

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As a creative writer, I sometimes find that poorly written work is more inspirational than something exceptional. Now, I’m not talking about watching straight garbage in hopes of it being some sort of learning experience. It’s more helpful to watch shows that try something and fail. Maybe the dialogue isn’t great or the plot moves along a little slowly, or perhaps the show just went in a direction that you yourself would’ve rather steered clear from. And so what I like to do is take the things you like and cut out the bullshit. What helps even more is when the show in question is overrated. So many people love this thing even though you can clearly see its flaws, and you think to yourself I could write that a thousand times better. And then you do, because who doesn’t love a good story born from spite and envy? Anyway, here are some anime that I think I could improve with my ultimate creative writing prowess. I’ll also limit myself to only shows airing this season, plus I could always return to this topic with other shows sometime in the future. Continue reading

Bungo Stray Dogs, Episode 10

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Okay, I’m going split this episode into two parts: “The Dazai Part” and “The Explosion-y Fight Part”. And before I start getting into it, I must say that this show has really not been doing it for me. A lot of the characters are pretty stale and one dimensional, and Atsushi is becoming (or already is) a Mary Sue. The comedy is tired, consisting of mostly characters acting silly or shocked with cartoon-chibi face bubbles to express the absurdity. We haven’t gotten a good Dazai suicide joke in a while either. The action is mediocre and the plotting has been a series of awful setups with only decent payoffs. I’m having a hard time enjoying this show, and the logical leaps I have to take only hinder my experience further. And I know I’ve given a lot of claims without much evidence, but that’s because I’m saving my final thoughts for the full season review. This was just a sort of glimpse into how I’m feeling about the show right now. But I digress.

The Dazai Part

So this was hard to follow. Dazai planned to be caught and sent a letter to the executives of the mafia to ensure his safety. The reasoning here is that he has dirt on them and if he were to die it would all be released. Now, I’m a little skeptical about this part, because the way it was put made it seem like the mafia actually does have to hide from the law. The information leaked would be enough to prosecute them. But the thing is, up until now it didn’t seem like the mafia was hiding from anyone. They cause bombings and shootouts in broad daylight, sometimes directly in front of a police station. Also, they have super powers. So my question is: Who would prosecute them? The Agency can’t seem to squelch them, so what could the government do? And even before all that, why hasn’t Dazai just leaked the information already? Isn’t he supposed to be a good guy? It could be because Dazai holds that information to cover his own ass, or has some other plan in mind. I don’t know where this is going, and although that may be on purpose, at this point it just seems nonsensical and annoying. The one good thing that comes from this part is that we get a glimpse at what seems to be a greater villain and scheme in the overarching plot of the show. That’s good, because Port Mafia seems like a bunch of ineloquent pricks. Just because they’re bad guys doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to relate to them on some fucking level. I don’t even know what their motives are. It’s assumed to be greed, like most evil groups, but I’ve never seen them steal anything besides Atsushi.

The Explosion-y Fight Part

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Speaking of Atsushi, he’s apparently an excellent fighter now. Could’ve at least used a training montage beforehand, but I guess he’s just a natural when in a pinch. The major plot hole before this fight is ridiculous. We just pick up where Kyouka breaks him out and she apparently rigged bombs on the ship at some point in time too. Then Kunikida comes in when Atsushi gets away from Ryuunosuke and there’s this really phoned moment where Atsushi has to make a choice between saving himself and saving the girl. And then he says “she said the crepe she had with me tasted great”. Okay. *looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong sigh*…You know what? No. It’s not okay. What a stupid line.

On to the actual fight, it’s also full of lame one-liners. There’s a lot of lackluster dialogue going on during this, because you can’t just have a cool fight with no words being spoken, right? (sarcasm) There needs to be some sort of theme to drive home. And that theme is self-worth. I guess it’s one of the major themes of the entire show, which I probably should’ve seen coming. I mean, that same orphan flashback played like 20 times so far. But yeah, the bad guy tells the good guy that the cute girl was worthless and that made the good guy think about how people once called him worthless and that gave him even more strength to push on and win this fight even though he was impaled like twice. It’s a decent looking fight, but the writing coated it with some very mediocre paint. The one thing I did like about it was the tie-in to Ryuunosuke and Dazai. They have a history and Ryuunosuke apparently loves him or something so it kills him when Dazai says that his new subordinate is better. It’s a tad more interesting than anything else going on here.

And that’s all I really have to say about this episode. I really hope it gets better because I don’t like having to write a negative review week after week. But what do you think? Do you still like this show? Or are you kinda falling off like I am? I’d love to hear other opinions, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. Other than that, thanks for reading and be sure to come back next week!

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Ooooh, a loli! Maybe this show will get better!