2017
05.30

ashirip

The smoke is still billowing from the Samurai Jack finale, and it will take a while for some opinions on the season to solidify. But one major part of these last episodes will surely be a subject of debate, and by part, I mean Ashi. Ever since she was first introduced, fans were polarized at the thought of a new character taking some of the spotlight from Jack. Some were happy and pretended she was the new Ilana. Many were worried she would become Jack’s love interest, with such fears realized. Others pondered just how much of the plot was spent on her when it could have been used to further Jack’s struggle. Sure, she was a great factor in Jack’s character development, giving him someone to talk to in a major change from his loner demeanor from previous seasons, but how much of a unique flavor did she offer the show?

Ashi’s initial position in the show was that of an audience surrogate of sorts, for the people who didn’t watch the past seasons and tuned in to see what older fans are making a fuss about. She was the newcomer to the world of Samurai Jack, and when she learned new information, so did those new viewers. Jack was too muddled with fatalism and anger at himself, so it made a little sense to introduce someone younger and less miserable for the show’s grand return. It’s not a movie after all, and the Adult Swim execs and Genndy probably thought spending ten episodes on Jack alone would be too much of a risk. Meaning that while Jack was still the title character, it could be suggested that Ashi was indeed the focal point of season five. After all, she’s the one who relieves Jack of his depression, helps him bring back his sword, and creates the time portal that leads to Aku’s defeat. She was important, perhaps too much if you ask certain fans.

Instead of defeating Aku through the efforts of himself and his long-time allies, Jack’s major trials are also taken by this new character in his life. And in a way, it could be distracting. This was Jack’s final round against Aku, so seeing it all lead up to Ashi discovering she has Aku’s powers and sending Jack back to quickly kill her father was underwhelming. But to be charitable, perhaps Ashi’s meant to symbolize all the friends Jack acquired in his journey. She was freed from tyranny like the Woolies, able to fight on par with Jack like the Scotsman, purified from evil like the Archers, and had a nature similar to whatever good parts of Ikra that Jack might still remember. She was a symbol of all the good Jack did in Aku’s future, as she attested when she fought the Omen.

And as I said about her replacing Jack as the audience’s eye and ears, she follows a darker, yet similar path that Jack did when he first found himself in the future back in season one. She was a child soldier trained to kill a sworn enemy. When facing said sworn enemy, she falls victim to traps and can only flail helplessly. And this setback leads her to adapt her ways, going outside of her comfort zone and seeing all the quirks and entities in Aku’s society. Sort of like what Jack’s character is in the pilot movie. So spiritually, Ashi was like the season one Jack telling season five Jack to get back on his feet and fight for the future. Something that has odd implications when you factor in their romance, unless people were actually into Jack selfcest all along.

So was her romance with Jack a good idea? Or would the father-daughter aspect been an improvement? I’ve previously praised and criticized Genndy for using other works as reference for his own, and for all the action and suspense, Samurai Jack is not a cartoon that goes out of the way to subvert story cliches. Which means we would have either went full Gurren Lagann, or the sad, old warrior dad route explored by Nier/Logan/Berserk/Angel/Grant Morrison Batman/Unforgiven/Countless other Clint Eastwood movies/etc. Or a compromise between the two and just rip off Venom Snake’s relationship with Quiet. Whatever the case, it definitely could have been explored better. Instead, it felt like another story where a hero slowly converts a female villain to the side of good while making out with her after. More episodes wouldn’t have alleviated that, because some movies can tell perfectly good relationships in under ninety minutes. And it felt like Genndy wasn’t properly using his run time after the third episode. I mean, I’m not exactly expecting Tarkovsky from Tartakovsky, but sometimes you just have to jump through the rings instead of taking the shortcut.

Then we have to wonder if Ashi’s death should have been. It works if you wanted Jack to have this one extra gut punch before he think he can relax from Aku’s tyranny. Not so much if you were invested in Ashi’s personality and didn’t want her to just become another female lead killed to give the male hero more drama in his life. Just as she’s the one who breathes new life into Jack’s mission, she’s also the one who puts up the chairs and turns off the lights. I’m sure another writer will have an essay all about how Ashi’s fate is emblematic of Genndy’s casual misogyny or some other controversial statement, but Ashi as a character was often spent playing hopscotch on Jack and Aku’s shadows. Her own wants beyond freedom from her parents’ bonds weren’t illustrated well enough, and you get the sense that her in-universe existence is simply a means to an end rather than a natural character arc. Shamefully ironic for someone introduced as the inquisitive one out of her sisters.

2017
05.21

samuraijack1011

It’s finally the end, and I can finally stop doing these. This final ride for Jack’s been an intriguing one ever since it was first announced. That first teaser of the new season, where Jack’s silhouette made him look like Galactus, felt like ages ago. But now, it’s over. The sword’s sheathed for good. And we can finally relax until Cartoon Network makes a final season to something else. I don’t know. Maybe Squirrel Boy? Or perhaps the Class of 3000? Something that will make CN audiences blurt out a flat what and a blank stare.

As for the episode itself, it puts many cards on the table but doesn’t do much with them. Having an Aku versus everybody fight should be epic. They brought the Scots, the Jumpers, the Woolies, the Archers, the Ravers, the Dogs, and that giant robot samurai back to fight Aku, but they mostly amount to fodder to distract him until Ashi comes to her senses. And they just fight smaller Akus, instead of Beetle Drones or robots, leading to little variety in the action. I did like the cavalry doing some damage to Aku by focusing on his eyes, to show they were at least doing something to challenge him. Whereas on Aku’s part, he didn’t display his full array of powers here. Okay, some of the tiny Akus grow bat wings. But other than that, chocolate rain, and turning his hands into blades, Genndy doesn’t show off anything we haven’t seen before. And a character known for imaginative fight scenes and imagery feels by-the-numbers in his swan song.

Something that’s only slightly rectified when Jack and Ashi fight him. Jack doesn’t even fight him in the future time, that’s mostly reserved for Ashi going on a mirror match with Aku. It’s not even a particularlyl long or visually exciting one. As soon as Ashi figures out she has all of Aku’s powers, she goes for the time portal move. Maybe they should’ve killed this Aku before going to the past in case time travel worked under multiverse theory. It apparently didn’t, so they guessed right, but it all happens so quickly without emotion or thrill to it. There are no scenes of Ashi learning how to use Aku’s powers more effectively when fighting him, and the ages-long rivalry between Jack and this Aku never pays off. Instead, we get Jack slashing the shit out of past Aku without so much as a struggle. Yeah, Aku’s weakened at this point in time, but the episode almost seems fatigued at this point. Like Genndy just wanted to get to these scenes as fast as possible and finish this show already. So I agree with what everybody’s been saying: That the last episode was just too short to cover everything so far. Maybe they should’ve made some earlier episodes quicker paced so they could have made this battle take stage in the ninth and tenth episodes.

But yeah, Jack goes back to the past, kills Aku, then copies the ending to another show that aired on Toonami and made viewers go wet in the pantaloons. Because Genndy didn’t rip off enough by getting a half-demon girl played by Tara Strong who was conceived by a cult and only recently learned how to emote while rebelling against her antlered anti-Christ father, he has to make her ignorant of the outside world, rise the character back from his depression, have an evil costume that’s skintight and based on the villain’s aesthetic, help slay the villain even though she needs their existence to continue living, and fade away during the main character’s wedding. I know I praised Genndy before for taking heavy influence from other shows and movies, but because he used them to branch out and create new ideas and renditions with these influences. But here, it turns out that all those influences ultimately led up to a callback to other shows rather than something the series could invent or define as its own. If you want a positive evaluation, I could say Samurai Jack’s ending was a collection of thousands of experiences coalescing into one. But it could’ve been better than that.

For this season as a whole, it was an interesting experiment that slowly lost its steam with each episode. The first three entries were superb, and the rest except for the eighth have some thing enjoyable to them. I guess it’s nice we finally get an ending to the show, and maybe I would be more forgiving if this season aired shortly after the others, or if this was a movie instead of ten episodes, but I can’t help but think there was a missed opportunity here. It’s a little like how Gravity Falls and Korra had some cool things going on, but there were too many flaws and unlikable characters that kept me from wanting to revisit those shows.

2017
05.14

SamuraiJack9

Oh hey, it turns out Ashi’s mom did meet up with Aku at least once. And Jack and Ashi didn’t copulate after that kiss. Well, Genndy. I admit to being rused, and I’ll salute you for that.

What I also salute are some of the moments between Jack and Ashi this week. The episode improved far more in those interactions compared to last week, with Jack telling Ashi about his childhood and how the cherry blossoms flew in the spring. Both character slowly get to know each other not just as warriors, but as friends. Others might think these scenes to be slow, especially for the episode right before the finale. And while I kind of agree, seeing Jack and Ashi unwind before the storm is a little nice. There are still some cutesy scenes like Ashi blushing at the sight of Jack bathing, and her search to find new clothes took a little longer than it should have, but at least it doesn’t reach the nadir of last week.

We get some clues as to why Jack has been alone for all this time, because he has issues with falling in love with people. And in trying times like this, he doesn’t want Ashi to become nothing more than a memory. He doesn’t want any of his old friends to become mere fragments in his mind, and perhaps that’s the reason why he’s been apart from friends like the Scotsman for so long. But with Ashi, someone he can finally see as more than a friend, he’s watching his steps. Deep in his subconscious, he fears another Ikra situation. He’s afraid of getting tricked by the false hope of bliss yet again.

And sadly for Jack, that happens. Ashi’s now Aku’s slave, and his ultimatum is to kill the woman who finally pulled him out of an ages long depression. He has to watch as another innocent is claimed by his enemy. But he can’t stand the bloodshed anymore, and in a moment of weakness, lets Aku take his sword from him. It’s dramatic. It’s suspenseful. But, it seems a tad predictable. People on Samurai Jack threads were speculating that Aku would possess Ashi as one final fuck you to Jack, and while I didn’t believe in it until the episode aired, everyone was predicting that Jack and Ashi’s relationship would end badly in some way. So while it’s a twist, it wasn’t a horrifying, out of nowhere twist that would get me talking for an entire week. More of a “Huh, that sucks” feel for Jack. Personally, I was more concerned by evil Ashi resembling one of the characters from Antz, and how that will cause some bug fetishists to come out of the corners and draw crossover fanart.

Oh yeah, Scaramouche’s subplot finally ends. He tells Aku about the sword. Then they dance. And Aku kills him for giving out outdated information. Yeah.

But one scene that stood among many was the Guardian’s broken glasses. But there isn’t a body around. So he might be dead, or maybe he’s just missing in action. I know we only have twenty or so minutes left of Samurai Jack, but I’m still not sure if he’s finished. Definitely no time for a fight between him and Jack, but maybe he’ll show up and let him into his portal. Unless Genndy decides to spend time about a secret time portal that no one had known about until now, where else is Jack going to find his way back home? Unless they decide to have Jack stay in the future and accept his life, teaching us that his real victory was the journey and friends he had along the way. Or some shit like that.

2017
05.07

Atom: The Beginning

Behold the secret handshake of the Big-Nosed Brotherhood.

Behold the secret handshake of the Big-Nosed Brotherhood.

Spin-offs and prequels not done by the creator themselves have been hit and miss for me, as they can get a little indulgent in referencing the source material and sanitizing popular characters. Episode of Bardock, for example, was written by a huge fan of Bardock, but consequently she wrote the character as too perfect, a grumpy guy with a heart of gold rather than the callous cold-blooded killer he is, fundamentally misunderstanding his characterization and the themes of the original special. Similarly, when the Young Black Jack anime came out, I remarked on how that seriously tried so hard to make Black Jack a bad-ass that they made him more philanthropic than the money-grubbing misanthrope he really is. As a result of such mischaracterizations, these series feel more like glorified fan-fics, rather than stories you can believe happened in the worlds of the originals.

So I tempered my expectations going into Atom: The Beginning, another Tezuka prequel series not done by the man himself, this time detailing Ochanomizu and Tenma creating Astro Boy’s prototype. And yeah, there are some incongruities in how the personalities of Ochanomizu and Tenma are presented. Yet, rather than making out their characters as overly noble or glorifying them, they’re presented as goofy college kids with illusions of grandeur, which I can totally believe. Tenma, in particular, is exactly the kind of lazy, self-absorbed narcissist I’d imagine he’d be as a college kid, and he’s a lot of fun to watch as a result. So while this show’s versions of Tenma and Ochanomizu might not totally line up if you were to watch this series and then read the original Astro Boy manga, they’re more flawed and interesting and stay a lot truer to their original characterizations than most spin-offs and even other incarnations of the franchise.

But I don’t think you need to know much about Astro Boy to appreciate this series. It’s not overly reliant on references and lore and you pretty much understand Ochanomizu and Tenma’s characterizations from the opening scene. That said, this premiere is rather slow, and I’m not sure if there’s anything terribly interesting about it. I mean, Six’s sentience as an AI robot has potential, especially in a story set before Astro Boy when robots didn’t have human rights (speaking of, read the Once Upon A Time Astro Boy Tales arc to see if you want to see the series at it’s darkest). But it’s not presented in a more interesting light than what you’d usual get out of these stories, and for me the best parts of this premiere were Tenma and Ochanomizu’s dicking around, gloating about how awesome they are, and sharing their weird nose kink. The show has a really fun training montage-style opening done by Bahi JD and in general looks boast great visuals and animation. I think this is one of the best-looking shows of the season without a doubt. I’d love to give as wide a recommendation I can for this show, but truthfully I’m not sure yet if the story will have much to offer outside of fanservice for Astro Boy fans like myself. But I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t enough for me. – LumRanmaYasha

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

Boruto, buddy, you've been saying that for one and a half years. When's it going to happen?

Boruto, buddy, you’ve been saying that for one and a half years. When’s it going to happen?

This may surprise you – heck, it still surprises me – but I’ve been able to rekindle an affection for Naruto since it ended two years ago. The concluding arc of the manga was abysmal, and I had long soured on the manga during it’s ten-year downward decline that corresponds to the material covered by Shippuden. When it ended I was feed of the obligation to keep up with the insufferable, agonizing mess it had become, and vowed not to bother with the franchise ever again. Yet, when The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring mini-series began running in Shonen Jump, I couldn’t help but read it out of morbid curiosity. To my surprise…I really enjoyed it! Sarada was a compelling character and I appreciated that Naruto and Sasuke had matured in believable ways, and the themes Kishimoto tackled about father figures were honest and heartfelt.

That left me curious about how well the Boruto movie would turn out, and I went and saw it in theatres that fall. I loved it. The Boruto film was a well-made excellent passing of the torch moment for the franchise, humanizing Naruto as he struggles to balance his role as a father to both his village and his family, contrasting it with Boruto’s desire for his father’s approval while wanting to be recognized for his own merits, rather than his status as the Hokage’s son, by those around him. Once again, the exploration of their father-son dynamic was well-done and cemented my belief that Kishimoto’s strength lies in writing stories about the emotional connection between fathers and their children. Moreover, the film presented Boruto as a strong contrast to Naruto in motivations and goals while still possessing the spirited resolve of his father – to quote the film, “the times may change, but the spirit of the shinobi stays the same.” It set Boruto up as a solid protagonist to take the torch from his father and trailblaze a new path forward for the franchise, one that seemed to lead in a promising direction.

Sadly, it’s been about a year and a half since the Boruto film came out, and we’re still not moving forward. In fact, this anime seems set on moving back, taking place before Boruto has even joined the ninja academy when in the movie he’s always formed a squad and been going on missions for some time. The movie already showed us Boruto’s coming of age moment and the resolution of the tensions between him and Naruto and the compromises each made to their ninja way for the sake of their family and comrades. Having to wait for Boruto to re-learn that again, over an elongated period of time, seems redundant to me. While seeing Boruto’s academy days might potentially help flesh out more of the supporting cast, including Boruto’s newly introduced stooge Denki, most of them like Shikadai and Cho-cho feel like re-treads of their parents, and based on their role in the Boruto movie and Sarada’s mini-series it doesn’t seem like they’ll become much more distinctive. I’m really concerned that nothing that happens before the Boruto movie will matter in the long run. Which is why the flash-forward at the beginning of the episode frustrates me so much, since I know it’ll take ages before we even get past the movie, and much more to get to what’s beyond.

But the show itself is really well made. The new character designs are rounder and more lively, and the show has some choice cuts of animation that was really fun to watch. Production-wise, this seems like a real step up from much of Shippuden, though how that’ll fare in the long run remains to be seen. It looks good though, with eye-popping colors and a vibrant palette. It stands in stark contrast to the darker, temperate tones of the original series, especially if you were to go back and compare their first episodes.

On that note, I think Naruto has one of the best first chapters/episodes for a shonen series, and Boruto’s first episode definitely feels more derivative and standard fare in comparison. At the same time, it does a fine job of introducing Boruto and what makes him a likable protagonist, as well as establishing how important his family is to him and his resentment for his dad never being around for them. The biggest problem with how his character is handled is not giving him a clearly defined goal other than showing up his dad, and I guess we’ll have to wait until they adapt the Boruto movie for him to get one. I’ve come to believe in the potential for great stories in the Naruto franchise and the potential of Boruto as a protagonist, and because I like the world and characters I enjoyed this premiere even though its taking its sweet time to get moving. With the manga now finally entering new material after spending a year adapting the Boruto movie, I can only hope for the tv series to follow suit as soon as possible, and I hope seeing Boruto’s adventures in the academy will have a point rather than another disguise for filler to stall for time. – LumRanmaYasha

Eromanga-sensei

Please help

I’d quote Chin-chin, but everyone else has already done it.

Let’s just admit this to ourselves right off the bat: if you’re reading this, then you’ve already crafted an opinion of Eromanga-sensei. An hardened opinion that, no matter what I say in the next 400 words, will remain unchanged. It’s an animated adaptation of what has become the dime-a-dozen “sibling romantic comedy” light novel, so the lines have already been drawn in the sand. You either enjoy this show’s comedic exploits (and the female MC’s cute, underaged ass) and are about to be vaguely annoyed that I dislike this show. Or you’re happy to know that I hate this show too, scrolling on down to the next review in this “Clusterfuck” now that confirmation bias has been reached. Either way, you’re going to leave the same way you came in: the only difference is that you will have wasted two minutes of your life on Earth while I will have wasted an hour and a half watching the show and writing these two paragraphs. Either way, I have little else to do tonight (a blatant lie, actually), so I might as well explain why I dislike Eromanga-sensei.

To be completely truthful, half my dislike of Eromanga-sensei comes from the fact that there are so few anime that looks at incestual relationships in a serious light. Yes, I understand that this should be seen as a fetish and nothing more, but would it hurt to have pieces of animation outside Koi Kaze take a serious look at this sort of romance? No? Just fanservice it up and make the characters step-siblings so it isn’t too controversial? Okay, fine. I’ll begrudgingly accept this pandering otaku bullshit. Look at Sagiri’s adorable flat ass. Chuckle and d’aww at her silly dance in the ED. At this point, I don’t care. Because once I accept that the premise of step-sibling comedy love is something seen at least twice an anime season, Eromanga-sensei is just boring. Yes, boring. There was only one joke in the entire first episode that made me laugh, and that’s only because I can relate to taking pictures of myself in ridiculous poses to get a drawing just right. In all other aspects, I just saw a teenage boy who is forced to take care of a hikikomori little sister that refuses to acknowledge his existence. How cute. The aspect of them having unknowingly be a popular author/artist team, but now having that knowledge due to a mistake made in a livestream could be interesting, but I know in my heart that nothing will be done with it. I know in my heart that this show will just meander through every cliche in the book. The second episode has the class rep visiting their house for Christ’s sake. Who wrote this? Tsukasa Fushimi? The dude behind Oreimo? Okay, yeah, I’m done here. Just writing about this shit makes me feel jaded about the future of anime. When’s Little Witch Academia showing up on US Netflix, again?

I know it barely counts as a review, but just writing that annoyed me. – RacattackForce

Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

One episode in and already contender for the saddest anime death this season

One episode in and already contender for the saddest anime death this season.

Remember Danmachi? You may know it as that one show with that annoying useless boob-string girl that dressed like a retard, and everyone obsessed over her for some reason? And the main characters were so mentally challenged that they couldn’t even perform functions as basic as giving someone a powered up knife? Well, it’s not getting a second season, but it is getting a spin-off, and this time, all the fat has been removed.

Return to this weird tabletop RPG-style world despite the world itself not being an actual MMO or tabletop setting in any meaningful way, filled with deity-led guilds going on adventures in dungeons, but instead of focusing on the bottom of the barrel adventurer with a high-pitched voice, we focus on a group of experienced adventurers that actually do dungeon crawling and fight monsters and all that other fun adventurer stuff. In other words, the cast that the main series should’ve focused on in the first place. That fact alone should draw you in to this spinoff if you hated the original series like I did.

I did have a surprising amount of fun watching Sword Oratoria, in spite of the presence of some problematic elements typical of an LN (particularly one of the Amazons having a crush on her much younger guild captain), but otherwise its a serviceable action show. The characters bounce off each other well and likable, giving the feeling of a true close-knit group. Lefiya, our POV character, is a much more effective audience surrogate character since her insecurities and lack of experience makes for a nice contrast with her more hardened and fearless companions, I could honestly relate to her plight a little bit. The main cast of the parent series do make cameo’s, the only important one being Bell’s, whose introduction is his near death experience with a minotaur seen in the anime but elaborated on here, his limited screentime actually made me feel honest sympathy for the guy than I ever did in Danmachi.

While Sword Oratoria isn’t a standout show by any means, it does improve upon its parent series in every way, and while that does speak more to Danmachi’s quality than Sword Oratoria’s, if you felt like Danmachi had a good concept but bad execution, it won’t hurt to give its spinoff a try. – CrimsonRynnec

Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys-

If this were an X-Men comic, that wouldn't be DEATH next to her head.

If this were an X-Men comic, that wouldn’t be DEATH next to her head.

Series about girls crossdressing to attend boys’ schools are old hat. Those where they attend a school for delinquents and have to fight their way to the top? Less common, and more interesting. I was down for a delinquent school romance series with a female protagonist for once since there isn’t nearly enough Sukeban Deka to go around. Sadly, even though this show has a great innuendo of a title like “Girl Beats Boys” it doesn’t have an ounce of personality. Hikaru is a passive and unenthusiastic observer for most of the episode and doesn’t even seem to know what she’s doing or why she’s even here. The conceit of the series is that she’ll form her own reverse harem after beating up a bunch of the top guys, which is cool and all, but none of them are much more than pretty faces. The show is rather lazily made even for a short show. The background characters all rendered as shadows and silhouettes, the main character designs are appropriately and boringly typical of an otome game, and there’s not much in the way of animation, except for the five seconds where Hikaru actually fights. I’m into the concept of this show, but there’s not much of interest here worth recommending. Go watch the Sukeban Deka movies instead. – LunRanmaYasha

Love Rice

No more Mr. Rice guy.

No more Mr. Rice guy.

So after Rice proved that rice was the best grain in his popularity contest with Bobo-bread, the spiteful Bobobo crashed the rice market and has made bread more popular, and now Rice’s descendants must make rice popular again and defeat the evil Wheat Hunt Troops and Czar Crusty Yeast the Third. Okay, this show doesn’t have anything to do with Bobobo, but these four-minute shorts feel like sketches from right out of the Rice arc and the main character looks a lot like Rice too. I loved Rice, he got the shaft pretty early on but he was a fun character, so I think I’ll have fun watching this every week headcanoning that this show is about his son in a bizarre alternate spinoff of Bobobo. Wouldn’t be any weirder than that Don Patch spinoff manga. – LumRanmaYasha

Re:Creators

The embarrassment you feel when you realize you're just a shit-tier trash waifu from a crappy light novel anime.

The embarrassment you feel when you realize you’re just a shit-tier trash waifu from a crappy light novel anime.

As a creator of stories myself, the premise of Re:Creators deeply interests me. The idea of fictional protagonists confronting their creators or to force them to make their stories and worlds happier is a great meta concept. This series’ eclectic cast of anime archetypes, ranging from a light novel heroine to a magical girl to a Stand-wielding big bad, seem poised to comment on all sorts of clichés and genres in the anime landscape. It’s not only fun to see how each of these kinds of characters interact with the real world, but how they come to realize the flaws of their own worlds. Like in episode two, when the magical girl freaks out that her attacks are actually hurting her opponent, and is criticized for using violence to get her way without being prepared to follow through with the consequences. I’m especially looking forward to how each of the characters reacts with their own creators, and the hilariously awkward consequences. Selejia’s meeting with her creator was particularly funny because she’s hoping he’s not going to be some lame dumb-ass, but then she sees him and yeah, he’s a light novel author all right. When she talks to him there’s this delicious passive-aggressive disappointment shown on her face and when she’s talking to him that made me laugh. This show has some great meta humor and commentary on genre and media consumption, making it an absolute treat for someone like me who is fascinated with fictional stories and genre deconstruction.

We can thank Rei Hiroe for a great concept and fun cast of characters, but special props have to go to the team at Troyca bringing it to life as the most bad-ass and visually engaging action show of the season. I’m wary of Ei Aoki as a scriptwriter after Aldnoah Zero, but he can direct action well and the fight scenes presented so far have been riveting. I’m a little worried that the show might fall the way of Aldnoah Zero, but right now it’s like, everything I’ve ever wanted to see in anime in terms of concept, characters, humor, action, and the execution of it all. I can pretty much call the melodramatic plot twist will be that the girl who committed suicide by way of jumping in front of a train in the opening scene created the main antagonist and her story, and that the main character guy probably co-created it with her, probably contributing her character design, but we’ll see how that come across in execution. But man, I cannot stress just how much I’m enjoying this show so far. It’s like my fantasy dream anime recreated and now made real. Please stay good Re:Creators. – LumRanmaYasha

Room Mate

I want to come in his room and mate, if you know what I mean heh heh....god that was terrible.

I want to come in his room and mate, if you know what I mean heh heh….god that was terrible.

It’s rare to see a show directed in the first person, presented as if you were watching cutscenes in an otome game. It’s an interesting gimmick, to put the audience in the perspective of the main character, the camera shot as if you were interacting with the cast. I give it novelty points if nothing else. Too bad there’s not much of substance to make it actually interesting. All that happens is that you’re introduced to the main three guys welcoming you to the apartment, and they all fit into archetypes you should know if you’ve read enough shojo or played enough otome. If you really want to ogle hot guys you might as well just play an otome game since at least then you’d have an interactive experience. The first-person perspective gimmick isn’t even consistent, as in this head-scratching shot. How are you behind the guy looking straight-on at his ass in this shot, and then in front of him looking right at his chest all of a sudden in the next? If you’re going to do this gimmick, commit darn it! You could do a lot of interesting things with a show where the audience is the main character, but I doubt this series will make use of that potential. Only watch if you’re too lazy to play an actual otome game. – LumRanmaYasha

Seven Mortal Sins

This act of depriving of a shot of a woman's clit brought to you by Persona 5, now available wherever PS4 games are sold from Atlus!

This act of depriving the audience of a shot of a woman’s clit brought to you by Persona 5, now available wherever PS4 games are sold from Atlus!

When the first words of this series are literally “This sucks…” you know you’re already in a bad place already. Hell I knew I was in a bad place already when Crunchyroll actually gave me a NSFW warning upon clicking the first episode’s link. And that is something I have never seen before in the 2 1/2 years of me doing Clusterfucks straight from Crunchy streams. So yeah, I’m basically watching actual porn this season. Oh sure its censored but its still porn. In fact if this was a porn parody I coulda swore I was watching a shitty one on Gabriel Dropout, however at least Gabriel Dropout TRIED to be funny. Seven Metal Sins on the other hand is about as witty as that horrid Tanya bullshit from last season.

I’d tell ya about the plot but there really isn’t one besides “My little Urotsukidoji can’t Be This Cute!” Gore fetishing, skirt peeping, tit licking, bondage, demon rape, molestation and this is all in the first seven minutes. Or at least those are the parts I could actually make out from the parts that weren’t grossly over lit. Otherwise its just a rehash of Queens Blade  with angels and demons. Let us never speak of it again. — Lord Dalek

This guy actually finished the episode!

“What is a censor bar? A miserable little pile of cocktease!”

You know those “Bad Girl” comics back in the 90’s? When dark and edgy were the in things in comics at the time, so comic publishers made a bunch of titles starring  scantily clad female warriors with really edgy powers and personalities like Lady Death and Witchblade that were essentially just 20 pages of gore and fanservice (but mostly fanservice)? Well Sin: Seven Mortal Sins is basically that, but in anime form…and with more yuri!

And with that comparison, you can already tell if this show is for you or not and what it’s about. SIn does what it sets out to do and succeeds in doing so. I do wish the action was more over-the-top and easier to follow, but this show clearly isn’t interested in being a stylish action anime, so whatever, any complaint I have has nothing to do with what the show wants to be. Really complaining about shows like this is a waste of time and effort, so what’s really the point? It’s like watching and exploitation movie and complaining about the lack of nuance, or playing Doom and bitching about how violent it is. Granted, that won’t stop straight men from writing essays about how shows like this are the worst things in existence, but they’re a lost cause anyway.

Still a lot better than the other show named Seven Deadly Sins

(One important thing to note is that Crunchyroll’s stream of the show is censored, but there are uncensored versions of the episodes out there, if you want your cheesecake unfiltered, you know where to look.) — CrimsonRynnec

2017
05.07
Korrasami has a new rival.

Korrasami has a new rival.

You know what would convince people to hate Mad Max: Fury Road? If Max and Furiosa had a romance plot. Their connection to each other was based on comradeship and a shared goal at hand, fighting alongside like blood brothers. If you took that away and made them fall for each other without the simplest hint of set up, you get a mess. And that’s what this episode of Samurai Jack was, a mess. Jack and Ashi becoming an item is something I was fearing would happen, and now it’s confirmed despite all the reasons not to do it. Only a few episodes ago, Ashi couldn’t comprehend the sight of two deer nuzzling each others’ noses. I don’t think any relations with her would be emotionally healthy without enough proper time, and I doubt said time occurred unless one of the production staff adds a last-minute explanation that months or years occurred between some of the episodes.

I think about the idea of Jack as a celibate hero, seeking little in the way of romance and more focused in his goal to finally vanquish Aku. Jack’s seldom been portrayed as a romantic lead, and any chance of finding true love was instantly yanked away from him like Ikra. That’s not to say he should be written as a completely sexless being. To give him some slack, several decades without a relationship would probably grow irritating. But does it really fit to be introduced in the third to last episode, where the writers should be more busy establishing the rising stakes involved in the final battle? But maybe it’s Genndy experimenting with Jack’s character while also counting the show’s five to doomsday. It could be his way to further develop a character he’s had over sixteen years to work on. For instance, perhaps those sexual feelings come from Jack wanting to be more like his father, and wishing to start a family of his own. Maybe some part of Jack still sees a fragment of Aku in Ashi, and having sex with her is his Freudian way of finally dominating Aku. Or possibly, Jack’s so desperate for a fuck that he’ll make out with his emotionally traumatized and stunted partner in crime while in a broken down prison ship.

And the thing is, Jack/Ashi could have worked if there were slow, emotionally mature moments brewing. Cautious steps taken. But instead, there all these teases that come off as juvenile and something even cartoons aimed purely at little kids have long moved past. Like having Jack and Ashi get pushed together by a large crowd, and Jack’s sword hilt bumps into Ashi to make a boner joke. Or having their synchronized screams stop the monster of the week while they immediate make out after the battle’s done. Or having Ashi suffer from clothing damage and becoming completely nude while Jack’s there, causing him to react like a harem protagonist and blushing like he doesn’t know what a naked woman is. That annoys me the most, since Jack’s mentally 75 at this point. And rather than just giving her his gi without a second’s thought, he instantly regresses to that of a shy teenager who’s too sexually confused to handle such a sight. Imagine a later Clint Eastwood movie where he sees someone naked and starts palpitating. This is shit I expect from light novel adaptations, not Samurai Jack.

Because it’s the ante-penultimate episode, we all know how this will end up. Ashi will die to give Jack more reason to kill Aku. Never mind the dead parents, dead countrymen, or decades worth of dead civilians, they’ll have to kill Ashi to give Jack motivation to finally strike. Ashi can’t survive because Jack will have to go back to the past, and I don’t expect him to bring her with him to meet the Shogun. At most, Ashi might survive in the redeemed future that Jack creates after killing the past Aku. Or maybe Genndy will do something wild and have Ashi get pregnant, where Jack has to choose between going back to the past to save his old family or stay and raise his new one. After that Dean Martin song, I don’t know.

2017
04.30
FUCK YEAH PORRIDGE

FUCK YEAH PORRIDGE

In this episode, we finally figure out how and why Jack lost his sword: he killed some baby goats in self-defense. You know in the Lost Children arc of Berserk, where Guts kills a bunch of crazy elves who turn out to be children? It’s like that with Jack, except it’s treated like a bad thing instead of a necessary thing. And the sword leaves him because it can’t bear to be used to kill animals. I’m not sure about this explanation, because what else was Jack supposed to do? The baby goats turned into feral monsters who would’ve killed him and probably whoever else was there. Was he supposed to run away? Find a way to talk them into submission? If anything, it seemed more kind to put them out of their misery by that point. I know baby goats are cute, but that’s what broke Jack and put him into a 50-year slump? Something farmers do all the time?

Whatever, I guess Jack’s so pure that he can’t harm animals even when put into a corner. He’s so kind he won’t hurt a ladybug, but not so kind that he kills X9 and doesn’t rescue Lulu for him. Instead, let him pray and meditate to get his sword back. Pray in the middle of the deadlands while Ashi has to defend him. I like Ashi’s fight scene here. She finally get to show off her hellish training as a child instead of it used as fodder to show how much stronger Jack is. It also emphasizes how even though she’s firmly on the path of good, she’s still ferocious on the battlefield by murdering all of these soldiers in grisly ways. The kind of bloodshed that makes you wonder what Ashi would have done had she stayed evil and attacked Jack’s legions of friends.

But then Ashi’s mom, the High Priestess, finally shows up again. And while I like her fight with her daughter, full of dialogue on how Ashi differed from the rest of her sisters, it doesn’t answer quite a few questions. We never find out why she wants to kill Jack so badly, or why she worships Aku despite never sharing a single scene with him. For all we know, a random woman pregnant with sextuplets just decided to start a cult and kill the closest thing the show has to a savior. You could always chalk it up to insanity, but insanity only goes so far when you’re making long-term plans to kill Jack that take at least sixteen to eighteen years to develop. And considering she put up a tense fight with Ashi, why didn’t she try to kill Jack herself earlier? It’s like thinking of Darth Maul’s personality without getting into any of the expanded universe stuff. A cool looking character with fun action scenes, but so many gaps in their motivation that you wonder what’s the point.

That’s what the later episodes of this season have done, leave too many holes that I’m not sure Genndy will ever develop after the show’s over. I get why the Gods haven’t killed Aku by themselves. Because they want to see if humanity is worthy. Same thing with why they didn’t just retrieve Jack’s sword for him. Because he needed to prove himself. And I appreciate the tea ceremony scene, but why did it take this long for Jack to go down the chasm to find his sword, or meditate enough to perform the ceremony? If it was because he needed a friend to guard him like Ashi did, then why not ask the Scotsman? I know Jack was probably depressed, but not once in the past fifty years did he try this before?

2017
04.23
NSFW

NSFW

Oh boy, it’s a fanservice episode. All you folks who have been gorging on past Samurai Jack episodes to prepare for its return are now rewarded by a smorgasbord of return appearances and epilogues. Unless you were craving for the Spartans or the Guardian to come back, then fuck off. This episode has forsaken you. Instead, you find out the Woolies are now robed avengers, the Archers have kids, that girl from the rave is now an old woman, and Demongo’s alive. Somehow. It’s like finding old toys you haven’t played with or even looked at since you were a kid. While you make sure nobody’s looking, you hold one up and a glimmer shines in your eye. And who cares if one of your old toys sounds like Keegan-Michael Key instead of David Alan Grier for some reason, because you can pretend all those good times are back.

While it’s heartwarming to see these characters again, I am wondering why Jack never seemed to reunite with any of these people in the last 50 years. He’s spent the past six episodes moping about how he’s failed to change anything and has only been in the center of everlasting misery, yet all of these civilizations prosper and owe their lives to him. They’ve even built statues and wrote songs about him, yet he doesn’t appear to notice. Aku has seemingly caused no further misery to the ravers, the archers, or the Woolies. It’s almost as if Aku’s evil isn’t law for their realms. And yet, Jack still wallows in misery and stands on one thread between life and suicide. Yes, Aku hasn’t been defeated yet, but Jack has definitely made gains in this world. All of those flashbacks and hallucinations to rivers of dead children? Would they still happen if Jack actually went back to some of these places and checked up on them?

But that’s still an assumption, given how little we know of what Jack’s been through for the last half-century. Maybe when Genndy’s done, he’ll make his own version of The Phantom Pain that perfectly explains why Jack went from a calm samurai to a guy who’s always one minute away from gutting himself. And like Quiet, he also has a character to vent out all of his odd fetishes. Because it was very necessary to explain that Ashi and her sister were naked for the entire season up until this point. That’ll make quite a few sexually frustrated people happy to rewatch the past episodes with that in mind.

Speaking of sexual frustration, Scaramouche is still alive. But as just a head, and not even a head that can bite. He’s just an ineffectual head. I’m not sure what to think of him becoming a recurring character, because it would be hard to outdo his first appearance. Even though he’s comic relief, he was also a genuine threat then. Now, he’s lost that along with his body, so his ability to steal the show has greatly reduced. I guess hearing Tom Kenny make scat noises can be funny, but you can only do so much with this character. Like he rides the head of a penis man for a minute. He literally gives head to a talking penis. They even say it out loud in case you didn’t get the hint. Seems like he should have stayed dead if he’s going to be used for dick jokes.

Oh yeah, I guess Jack tries to kill himself this episode. The scene’s kind of a cool moment for both him and Ashi, but I was wondering how long it would take for Ashi to mention those kids last episode didn’t die. Seriously, that should’ve been the first thing she would mention instead of how Jack changed her as a person. I know she wanted to tug at his valor, but go for the direct facts first before you go for the sentimental route.

2017
04.16
Stands in 12 weeks. Maybe.

Stands in 12 weeks. Maybe.

Even though he had little to do with the main plot of the episode, I can’t not talk about the Scotsman. Every fan has been hyping him up since that grainy picture of his showed up on Twitter. We were all thinking that the Scotsman was going to die a hero’s death to save Jack. And while it would have been astounding to see him have a final duel with Aku that would go on for the entire episode, with fight scenes that would make the Grievous fight in Clone Wars look mediocre, I can live with the actual result. It showed that even though Aku is depressed and apathetic, he’s still enough of a threat to destroy armies with ease. And not even an army of Scots can even faze him. We get an establishing shot of these warriors riding giant rhinos and tanks to swarm Aku, and yet they all become so tiny and insignificant when he strikes them like a literal wrecking ball. It’s a simple fight, but a visually striking one. One that reminds you how screwed Jack is without his sword or his wits, and that maybe his dour mindset might be correct.

I am intrigued by what the Scotsman’s ghost has planning regarding his forces. Along with next episode’s promo showing the Woolies returning, I presume that many of Jack’s past friends may be reuniting to aid him in his final duel. If so, it would mean having to reintroduce many characters and having to reacquaint them after a decade-long absence. Unless Tartakovsky decides that his viewers should instantly know who the Lebidopterins or Exdor are without needing to check the wiki.

Onto Jack and Ashi, it’s nice to see their teacher-mentor relationship develop. Like with Jack telling Ashi how the sun and moon children made the stars, effectively teaching her a creation myth that doesn’t involve Aku, ending her view of him as a godly figure. He even sends her to a giant tree, because… it reminds the viewer of Yggdrasil? If all of Jack’s allies are coming back, Odin and his friends should be among them, so maybe that’s foreshadowing. So when they show up, Jack can point at them and go “Aku is not the true god, these three are!” To truly affirm where Ashi’s beliefs are.

When Ashi finally becomes good, she becomes what Jack used to be in his very first episode, a lonely warrior hoping to do some good for the world. Someone who can break out of impossible situation through sheer willpower while saving innocents that she barely knows. But that contrasts with the Jack she meets, who’s still too nihilistic to believe things can be improved in this universe. When he fights these blue alien children who have become feral and single-minded like Ashi once was, he instantly breaks down when he thinks they’ve died. He doesn’t even try to resuscitate them. He just instantly assumes they’re dead and goes off with the evil samurai seen in his visions. Only for Ashi to find them waking up a minute later. It’s annoying that Jack doesn’t wait a few minutes or check the children’s pulses before assuming they’re dead, but I can kind of understand because of how addled he is. And past traumas have probably led him to always assume the worst, but you would think Jack would be more savvy than that. He’s become too consumed by his agony to assess the situation, and might need to hand his sword to another for Aku to finally die.

Oh, no.

2017
04.12

Anonymous Noise

Translation: there's a party in my mouth and nobody is invited.

Translation: there’s a party in my mouth and nobody is invited.

Last season we had Fuuka, an appallingly bad adaptation of an appallingly bad manga made even more appallingly bad simply from the show chickening out and giving its title character a happy ending (as opposed to getting run over by Truck-Kun. Saaaaaaaaaaaalt!). This season we have Fukumenkei Noise, an attempt to do a darker edgier version of that kind of show while still sticking within the bounds of shoujo convention. And you know why this is so dark, edgy, and serious? Because everybody has bad hair cuts and looks deathly anorexic. And as we all know, the best shoujo angst always stars people made out of twigs who look like they just climbed out of a sewer. CLAMP taught us that.

For six long years, a girl named Nino has been singing (if you can call whatever the hell she’s doing singing) at a beach in the rain waiting for someone to follow the sound of her voice. Clearly its not working but anything to give her an opportunity to ACTUALLY SHOW HER MOUTH once in a while should be to her benefit. Well anyway its time for high school and who would you guess would be there but the chosen guy of fate. Unfortunately Yuzu, the chosen one, wants nothing to do with creepy sterilization mask girl (WHO WOULD?!?) but dat damn red string keeps bringing them together. Even if it means causing the schools resident K-On to break up for all of five minutes and Nino to get triggered by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And yes I wish I was making the last part up, but nope Nino literally gets triggered by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star……EDGY!

If there was ever case of serious false advertising this season Anonymous Noise might be it. Remember that early promotional art of our dark edgy band rehearsing in a crumbling building sometime after the apocalypse? Well that show ain’t this by the books shojou saga. OH NOES! LOVE TRIANGLES! Whelp, back to the same ol same ol! As for the production itself, well its not a looker. This is definitely a show dictated by the look of its manga, and the look here was nightmare fuel so its no better really. Not helping is the general low budget look of the animation which resorts to lots of CGI shortcuts to get through the band scenes. Not a waste ultimately by any means but still pretty eh. – Lord Dalek

Eromanga-sensei

THIRD VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST.

THIRD VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST.

From the creators of everyone’s favorite LN trainwreck Oreimo comes….Oreimo…again…except worse.

PLOT SOMETHING: Successful teenage LN writer hasn’t seen his sister in over a year. Successful teenage LN’s writer’s success has been derived from his books’ mysterious illustrator “Eromanga-Sensei.””Eromanga-Sensei” is actually his imouto who excells in dirty pictures. Awkward comedy. Rince repeat. Oh just fuck already. Also buy Kadokawa ASCII Mediaworks Dengeki Products because this is our anniversary commercial. What? You were expecting Kittytoe? Nope instead its Oreimo guy voiced by Kittytoe! Clearly a difference! Perfect anniversary celebration! CUT! Print it! — Lord Dalek

Grimoire of Zero

KaiserNeko while thinking up ideas for DBZ Abridged.

KaiserNeko while thinking up ideas for DBZ Abridged.

So a bara tiger man who hunts witches for a living has to become a witch’s bodyguard in exchange for the ability to resemble a human. And… honestly, I’m not sure why this show is playing all this straight, given the kind of fans who will be watching a show about a muscular furry guarding a barefoot little girl. Don’t even deny the reason why anybody is watching this show, unless they’re genuinely attracted to the magic systems and world building that’s been done in various other light novel anime. Like telling me you’re watching that Machiavellianism show because you’re interested in what it has to say about gender identity. The first part of this episode is strangely somber right after showing you what the main character looks like, but then they start teasing a relationship between the tiger and the little witch. It’s meant to be cute, but I just picture that one image of a tiny hamster shoving a banana in its mouth. Doesn’t help when Zero compares herself to a body pillow.

But yeah, what else can you expect from an anime about a bossy little girl with magical powers who is called Zero? Even her voice sounds like Rie Kugimiya. I was making jokes about this show being a Re:Zero spinoff, but now it’s ripping off a completely different light novel series. Not completely, since having the lead be a large anthropomorphic tiger is somewhat of a refreshing change. Something the first episode puts some effort into up until Zero appears. It could’ve been just his story and his struggle to be human instead of buddying up with her, because now I know what this show’s going into. Also, they introduce another character named Albus, just so this series can remind you of yet another magic book series that has influenced anime for the worse.  – BloodyMarquis

Love Rice -We Love Rice-

This wheat of mine is BURNING BREAD!

This wheat of mine is BURNING RED!

In the twenty-first century, rice is dooooooooooooooomed! Wheat and bread rule the world. All grain products are being hunted and crushed. Only the brave forces of the noble rice resistance can withstand the harsh assault of loaves and croissants. This, therefore, is the story of four ruthless young men, destined to become HarveStars and save your Tonkatsu from being served over corn flakes. Its amazing! Its colossal! Its…only four minutes long….dammit. — Lord Dalek

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Now that's what I call getting hot and bothered!

Now that’s what I call getting hot and bothered!

It’s been over two years since the first season of Rage of Bahamut came out, and we’ve been waiting for this second season all the while. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. And after a chaotic start featuring knights killing angels, the premiere runs pretty slow for a while. Favaro is nowhere to be seen, and our new protagonist is this genki, horny girl named Nina. There’s clearly something amiss in the world, and the new king Charoice seems suspicious as all hell, but it there’s a lot of exposition and reintroducing in the first half of the episode. But once Azazel reveals himself to be the “Rag Demon,” a masked vigilante freeing enslaved demons, some questions start to arise about how messed up the world’s become, and who’s really morally right or wrong in this current state of affairs. More importantly, Nina gets involved, and gets so hot and horny after gazing at Azazel’s handsome pale face, she turns into a MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON AND WRECKS GIANT MECHAS, I’m reminded why this show is pretty awesome.

So yeah, this looks like a pretty cool continuation to the Bahamut story. I miss Favaro but Nina pretty much has his personality and I want to know why she can turn into a fucking dragon. All the other supporting characters make at least cameos in the episode, with Kaiser and Azazel being the most prominent returning players. The show looks great and while there isn’t an action scene rivaling what the first episode of the first season offered there’s still a lot of fun animation and exciting camerawork and action choreography to go around, with fun small touches like blood splattering on screen when Nina massacres a bunch of people after first turning into a dragon. There are a lot of mysteries to explore in how the world of Bahamut has changed in 10 years, and an interesting role reversal in how the knights under Charoice seem to be presented as the villains while the demons from the first season are now being oppressed and victimized. This season looks to be expanding the lore and world of the series even further, which is what you’d want in a fantasy epic like this.

So is Bahamut worth getting Anime Strike for? Well, maybe not on it’s own, but there are other anime on the service including RE: Creators and Scum’s Wish and stuff. But you know what was worth getting Anime Strike for? Crayon Shin-chan: Aliens vs. Shinnosuke. Marathoned that after watching Bahamut and it was a lot of fun. Amazon should add more Shin-chan stuff. The movies would be great choices, and there was another recent Amazon Japan miniseries they should bring over. I need more Shin-chan in my life. What was I talking about again? Oh right, Bahamut. If you were a fan of the first season, this should be a good time. As for whether you should get Anime Strike to watch it, well, I’ll get back to you after checking out their other exclusives first. Definitely get a trial run if you want to watch that Shin-chan mini-series though. – LumRanmaYasha

Re:CREATORS

Not to be confused with Reek Realtors, where Theon Greyjoy sells houses to make up for his crippling debt.

Not to be confused with Reek Realtors, where Theon Greyjoy sells houses to make up for his crippling debt.

A story concept by the Black Lagoon author. A fascinating meta concept that would make Grant Morrison proud. For those long tired of isekai shows, the idea of these fantasy characters breaking into the real world instead should be a nice surprise. Even more so, how these fantasy characters all come from an anime within this anime, and have to grasp a world that is not their own while coming to terms with their very existence being the work of fiction, while meeting and serving alongside the creator of their world or fans of the anime they reside in. And yet, I was unimpressed. Maybe it was because I was somewhat hyped for the show because of its pedigree, and was disappointed I didn’t jump out of my seat the way Black Lagoon’s premiere did to me.

I like what the show wants to do, where all these extremely chuuni characters are fighting in ways that would make Nasu Kinoko blush. But it doesn’t seem self-aware about that, instead feeling too much like the shows it’s imitating. Maybe in the next few episodes, it’ll turn everything upside down, but right now, there’s no feeling that the creators are in on the joke. Doesn’t help this is directed by Ei Aoki of Aldnoah infamy, leading to fluid yet uninspired animation and derivative character designs. And many shots that look so stupid. The kind that you don’t want to notice at first, but once you do, your inner Digibro leaks out and you start thinking up critical anime reviews in your head. Maybe it’s just a non-indicative preview of what’s to come, and I’ll sing its praises by episode 15 like another show that started with Re:. Or maybe Rei Hiroe has as much creative input in this show as Urobuchi did with Aldnoah;Zero. I really hope it’s not the latter. – BloodyMarquis

Re:OPINION!

Fake/Snack Night

Fake/Snack Night

To say the least, a lot is riding on this show to save this moribund season. I mean its the product of everybody’s favorite permanent hiatus mangaka that isn’t Togashi or the now dead guy who wrote HOTD, Rei Hiroe! On the other hand, its also the product of the Sean Murray/Hello Games of anime: Ei Aoki and his Studio TROYCA, and that is a cause for alarm for some. Will Re:Creators be awesome and blow us away ala Black Lagoon? Or will it be another string of broken promises and failed potential akin to Aldnoah.Zero? Well I got nothin better to do and so far all bets have been off.

The plot of Re:Creators is pretty damn simple. Fictional video game, LN, and anime characters (based rather obviously off of real ones) begin to manifest themselves in the real world after some nerdy loser has the worst BSOD of all time. But our hero Sota quickly finds having to act in a Fate/Stay Night style plot is a lot less fun than it is for his suddenly now IRL Waifu Princess Salesia, especially since some nazi loli is now trying trying to kill them with Unlimited Blade Works. Add in a loli caster from this universe’s equivalent of every Nasu schlock ever, and you’ve got the potential for waaaacky hiiiijinx!(tm)

Whelp…after the for fans only boredom fest that was Bahamut 2, I can’t say I had any hope for Re:Creators managing to rekindle some of the hope that Spring might just be a little better than the hell that was Winter. But once Sota and Salesia are chased in a considerably better animated Mini Cooper (take notes Alice & Zoroku staffers for when you have to redo the whole damn thing for dvd), it had me. Want jokes about plot and logic holes? Here ya go! Want riffing on bad philosophical diatribes that make no sense? There’s your punchline! Want your epic action scene set to every fucking Sawano music track ever? Oh hey its Unicorn for the one trillionth ti-oh wait that’s just the soundtrack and Sawano’s a self-recycling hack, dammit!

Ultimately, for once I am actually satisfied with something this season in the form of Re:Creators. Naturally this probably means it will be a crushing disappointment for me as much as Aoki’s last venture was for a lot of people, but then I remember I NEVER liked Aldnoah.Zero and that’s a +1 in the right direction. – Lord Dalek

What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? Are you single? Have you eaten? Does anybody really really know what time it is? Where have all the flowers gone? What would you do for a Klondike bar? Where am I going with this? Who really thought a title this long was a good idea? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood???

Things got pretty bad for 'ol Pac-Man after Avi Arad had his way with him,

Things got pretty bad for good ‘ol Pac-Man after Avi Arad had his way with him,

Whelp its time for this season’s installment of Isekai-Hell! Seriously…why is this a genre? More to the point why does Japan refuse to adopt my more honest descriptor of “Assholes go to Fantasy-Land?” Wait, don’t answer that. I’ve been asking those goddamn questions for what seems like a better part of half of a decade since I started writing for these Clusterfucks on a a regular basis. Ocasionally we get good ones out of the pile, but Wdydateotw?Ayb?Wysu? (we’ll just call it “SukaSuka” since I am not typing that out again) is not one of them. But what do you expect from a show whose title is probably longer than the LN series it adapts.

Our episode begins with a series of probably unconnected events. In one corner, a red haired princess lady who looks like the chick from Re:CREATORS jumps out of an exploding plane just like everyone else is this season. Meanwhile, generic light novel guy wanders around town with some blue haired girl he just bumped into in a montage set to a lousy Celtic Woman knockoff cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair leading to…nothing. This is a world where all living beings live on a series of floating islands in the sky, the surface having been turned into an unsustainable wasteland years earlier, and our LN-dude Willem is part of its military asigned to the rather trivial task of running a top secret weapons bunker. What he gets instead are yandere maids, annoying orphans, and that blue haired lady again. So far this doesn’t seem too interesting. What’s worse is the maid, orphans, and blue haired lady are actually the weapons…and also fairies. Lame.

SukaSuka doesn’t do anything worthwhile or notable. It has no interesting characters like Grimgar, it has no funny/clever gimmick like Re:Zero, it doesn’t have even a hook to keep you coming back like NoGeNoRa. It is the quintessential drag-em-out what’s the point why am I still watiching this anime? It could be far worse, oh lord yes. Painfully average is far, far better than just being painful but at the end of the day its still not worth your time. But what do I know? I seem to keep missing the fact that these animes are being graded now on how long their titles are rather than how good they actually are. – Lord Dalek

2017
04.09
Jack has become so strong that he sprouted another hand from his abs.

Jack has become so strong that he sprouted another hand from his abs.

Please don’t let this become a romance. Please. I know this thing between Jack and Ashi is going somewhere, and I don’t like where I think it’s heading. I know some Samurai Jack fans would fall head under heels to a crazy, Tara Strong-voiced woman dressed in black who wants nothing more than to kill them, but don’t apply that to the show itself. Maybe it sounded like a good idea on paper. Maybe a writer wanted to throw Jack a bone so he could finally get laid. Or maybe they’re gonna pull his chain and kill off Ashi so they can give him another lost loved one. But creating a character who was raised until similar yet crueler circumstances to Jack and have her fall in love with him is something out of the realm of Archive of Our Own.

Or maybe Genndy’s letting his fetishes run wild, given Ashi being in chains and lying on the floor for much of this week’s episode. Tartakovsky does enjoy his booty. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see a fight of wits between Jack and Ashi here. Ashi’s long held beliefs can only be nudged so little by the reality of Jack’s cause, and it’s taking more than words, more than saving her life multiple times to hammer home the point. Maybe if she had a taste of life on the outside, but she has none of that. She was raised from birth as an assassin with nothing else in her life. To her, this world is like if we found out about aliens. It’s just too abstract a situation for her mind to handle, and only retreating back into the “Kill the Samurai!” mindset that she’s known for all her childhood can comfort her.

On the other side, it’s strange to see how Jack’s taken to quipping. The kind that people berate the Marvel movies for. It’s weird, if not unsettling to say the least. Not that Jack hasn’t bantered before, but seeing him snark at Ashi after the last few episodes showing his intense mental struggles is an interesting change. If not for being inside a giant monster, Jack talking to someone else seemed kind of nice. It’s his first time this season where he talked to another human instead of a ghost, himself, a cloud, or a robot, allowing him to finally unwind in a fashion. Or maybe, he’s finding something in common with Ashi. He doesn’t know about her tutelage yet, but he might be able to tell in the future. Surely he’ll peel back those layers firmly planted by Ashi’s mother, and show her that this world needs to freed from Aku’s hands. Instead of wanting to get inside Ashi’s ass.