Monday, February 15, 2016

Summer 2015 anime review

It's time for yet another seasonal anime review. This time, it's the season of blazing sun, scorching earth and swimsuits. It's summer season! (Natsu!). We have a lot of enjoyable and fun anime series this season, perhaps the best this year could offer. Adaptation from top manga definitely took the spotlight for this season, where anime like Prison School, Jitsu wa Watashi wa, Gakkou Gurashi, Monster Musume and many more dominate the list. Light novel adaptations also manages to deliver refreshing storyline from Shimoneta ero-terrorism to the coolest anti-villain of Overlord. Without wasting any time, let's go!

Spring 2015 anime continuation

  • Arslan Senki

My first impression of Arslan Senki is that it will be a great war epic anime, with amazing storyline, witty stratagem and intense political dispute. For some part it does achieve my expectation, but the pacing and the way they deliver the overall story (plus the lack of fluid animation) kinda put me off a little. It is by no mean a bad anime, in fact it is a considerably decent anime.

The synopsis of the story; In the prosperous kingdom of Pars lies the Royal Capital of Ecbatana, a city of splendor and wonder, ruled by the undefeated and fearsome King Andragoras. Arslan is the young and curious prince of Pars who, despite his best efforts, doesn't seem to have what it takes to be a proper king like his father. At the age of 14, Arslan goes to his first battle and loses everything as the blood-soaked mist of war gives way to scorching flames, bringing him to face the demise of his once glorious kingdom. However, it is Arslan's destiny to be a ruler, and despite the trials that face him, he must now embark on a journey to reclaim his fallen kingdom. (Source: Kodansha USA)

The story alone feels rather straightforward, an outcast young prince on his quest to reclaim back his kingdom. We already knows how the anime will eventually end, from the title itself and repeatedly same tag line; "And thus, the boy would become king". What matters most is how he will eventually become a king. The earlier part of the story is actually interesting. It begins with the downfall of a powerful empire, and how a prince got turned into an outcast. He eventually gathered trustworthy companions along the way, and slowly but surely recover their strength to reclaim his rightful throne. The second part of the story falls a little, where he eventually tries to intervene with another country inner conflict. The conflict in itself mirrors what Arslan is had, which is actually a great way to expand the story, but nevertheless it dragged too much. There is also a tinge of romance in the anime, which hopefully would be addressed much more later on. The final confrontation in the first season of the anime seems anti climatic, yet hopefully this is just a way to build up the foundation for the upcoming second season that hopefully will bring this journey to a beautiful end.

The most important aspect of the anime is how they portray the effects of war as well as social, political and religious issues. They manages to capture this perfectly; from the death of innocent peoples, public display of fallen warriors and burning of valuables texts of knowledge. Slavery was a big deal in the past, portrayed in the setting of the anime and our protagonist repeatedly brings this subject in important scenes. Likewise, religious matters was brought up, on how it is used as a tool of war itself in the early part of the anime. It does however got lost in the middle before eventually resurfaced in the latter part.

The characters design are great, but the development for the supporting characters are done poorly. The story centre around Arslan, the main protagonist. He is a gentle, kind prince with a bishonen features that earlier reflects his naivety and pure nature, but as the story goes on he becomes a lot more mature and realise his important responsibilities and duty as a ruler. His strength however does not come from his skills, brain or physical feats, but rather from his ability to depend and gain trust of his subordinates. His sword are Daryun, a man with superior fighting skills in the battlefield that follows him with unbroken loyalty. His brain is Narsus, a brilliant man that specialise in cunning and 'out of the box' strategies to outsmart his opponent. There are several  other companions that aid him, and each of them plays a role however minor to aid the young prince. The only problems that was addressed earlier is the lack of side character development. Daryun and Narsus for example, eventhough played a huge role, shows little to no character background. Daryun loyally follows the prince but there is of course not much reason of why he does so. It could be said the same with the other characters. The main antagonist however is one of the most interesting character in the anime itself. He is scarily powerful, maniacal even and his pursuit of revenge is done with a somehow understandable justification. He is relentless in his goal, yet he is not totally infallible as he is still haunted by his past trauma. He heavily contrast the protagonist and is indeed a worthy opponent for the young prince.

Animation wise, it was below average. It suffers from quality issue time to time, and the action heavy scene like the fight scene was done poorly. The most annoying thing about the animation however, is the heavy use of CG for war scenes. Though it is understandable that they had to use it to simulate large scale battle, it is really unsettling to look at the same faced soldiers over and over again, each with quirky animation and out of the place shaders. The music however was above average, with great orchestral piece during important scene and decent OP/ED songs.

Overall, it is still an enjoyable anime if you prefer an anime with rather heavy and serious theme. This is an anime that would be perfect for people who like to think and tackle important social, political and religious issues. It does feel rather lacking however, since the whole first season focuses solely on explaining the setting and building the foundation for the latter part of the series itself.

  • Shokugeki no Souma

It is not a first time an anime central around cooking, but this anime captures it perfectly. Shokugeki no Souma is not just foodporn. It is food with light porn. And let me tell you: It is amazing. 

The story is about Yukihira Souma, whose dream is to become a full-time chef in his father's restaurant and surpass his father's culinary skill. But just as Yukihira graduates from middle schools his father, Yukihira Jouichirou, closes down the restaurant to cook in Europe. Although downtrodden, Souma's fighting spirit is rekindled by a challenge from Jouichirou which is to survive in an elite culinary school where only 10% of the students graduate.  The institution is famous for its "Shokugeki" or "food wars," where students face off in intense, high-stakes cooking showdowns.
As Souma and his new schoolmates struggle to survive the extreme lifestyle of Tootsuki, more and greater challenges await him, putting his years of learning under his father to the test. (Source: MAL Rewrite)

One quality of the anime itself is that it is full of hype. Each arc follows the same basic rule; the crisis, the cooking and the reactions afterward. It starts with a slow suspense feeling, with tension and pressure (and hype) building up as they start to cook and finally end with over the top reaction during the judging session. The formula is used repeatedly but creatively, with different situation mixed up for every single arc, from the intense shokugeki to a toned down smaller scale cooking brawl. It is ridiculous, but that is why it is so good. It manages to make food, a seemingly mundane object that we just take for granted in our every day life to sustain ourself, into an object of pleasure and self-satisfaction. The way they describe the food is impeccable, from the general view down to the tiniest little non-important details. It is relatively different from the manga version where the manga just shown a static, greyscale picture while the anime showcase a fluid, colorful workflow where you can just listen to the characters rambling enthusiastically about the ingredients and how the food was made instead of just reading/ skimming through it. The anime does end up in a cliffhanger, but it is done so that the hype would still continue for the upcoming second season.

The cast for this anime is huge. There would be at least 20 important characters, and it is not fair to broadly expand their character development given the time and episode constraint. However, each character design are unique in their own way. Each and every one of them had their own cooking styles, that mostly matches up with their personalities and appearance. For example, we have the lovely country bumpkin Megumi, where her cooking style focuses on trying the best to take care of the person enjoying her food, to a more aggressive meat master Nikumi, coincide perfectly with her appearance that exposes as much skin (and meat) as possible. The list could go on and on. For the main character, Yukihira Souma himself seems to be a fun and carefree guy, but can get serious if he had to. He is not totally infallible, shown from his defeat to his father yet one can expect that he would win every single important match with confidence. He is by no mean a bland character, but his development is rather static as the story goes on. The same problem happens to other (supposedly) important character like Erina, which most of the time used as a comedic relief or convenient plot device.

The art and animation are above average. It is satisfactory, with brilliant and bright color palette and fluid animation. Some of the intense scenes were dramatically portrayed with high energy transition and special effects to elevate the mood. The foods however, is the main attraction for this anime. It is exquisitely displayed, down to the very last grain of rice. It looks so beautiful to the point that it is downright mouth-watering. As for the sound, it is well-done. From the memorable high paced OP songs to a merrier ED, it is pleasant to the ear. The soundtrack for each scene was highly diverse. The orchestral+opera music that envision how heavenly the food would taste like for example perfectly captures the mood.

Do I enjoy the anime? Heck yeah I do. Watching how each food is prepared the reactions followed after the first bite was taken was very, very satisfying. I would definitely nominate this anime as the anime of the season for its brilliant presentation and engrossing story, with memorable and fun to watch casts. It is an extremely fun anime, with a lot more to offer in the second season. A must watch anime for this season for sure.

  •  Ore Monogatari!!

"When you fall for someones, everything about them becomes beautiful." This is an anime about loves. It shows that loves come in many different forms, regardless on how you look or personalities. And believe me, you will love it.

The anime  features Takeo Gouda,  not exactly your average high school freshman with his muscular build and tall stature. However, behind his intimidating appearance hides a heart of gold, and he is considered a hero by the boys for his courage and chivalry. Unfortunately, these traits do not help much with his love life. As if his looks are not enough to scare the opposite sex away, Takeo's cool and handsome best friend and constant companion Makoto Sunakawa easily steals the hearts of the female students—including every girl Takeo has ever liked. When Takeo gallantly saves cute and angelic Rinko Yamato from being molested, he falls in love with her instantly, but suspects that she might be interested in Sunakawa. With his own love for Yamato continuing to bloom, Takeo unselfishly decides to act as her cupid, even as he yearns for his own love story. (Source: MAL Rewrite)

The story explore the aspect of love in many different way. The most notable one is how loves can even bloom with two people with contrasting features shown between the huge gentle giant Takeo and small, fragile looking girl Rinko. The anime overall does not shown a clear, straightforward plot, but tackle the story in a slice of life feature most of the time. Each of the arc however addresses the issues of loves; from how hard it is to confess your love to a person, how sometime your feeling would not get returned but you must move on nevertheless, how loves is maintained between a mutual trust for each other, to a simpler form of loves between family. The overall pace is somewhat slow, but brilliant comedic act and hilarious scenes makes up for it.

The anime centres around three main characters; Takeo Gouda, Rinko Yamato and Makoto Sunakawa. Each of them are vastly different for each other, yet they share unbreakable bond. Takeo is a huge guy with giant heart. He is very nice to people around him, yet he does not speak his mind and always misunderstood what others feels. He tried his best on what he could do best, by working hard and using his muscle all whilst accepting his weaknesses. He is deeply in love with Rinko, and kept repeating "Suki da!" over and over again to a point it looks more like a punchline. Rinko meanwhile is a complete opposite is appearance. She is small, petite yet had a great smile that warms up everyone around her. She tries her very best to be a dedicated and hardworking girlfriend, baking food and provide support to his lovable boyfriend. Unlike Takeo who could be dense most of the time, Rinko is the one who takes the initiative in their relationship to propel it even further. Finally, we have Sunakawa, a handsome and cool looking guy with a lot of wisdom to share with his friend. He is not a third wheel, but rather a gear that connect both Takeo and Rinko together, supporting him as much as he could. Everytime Takeo or Rinko had troubles regarding their relationship, Sunakawa is there to help, and do it not because he feels obligated to, but to show how much he treasures the bond between his friends. The other side characters are also fun to watch, each with their own mini loves story that expand the overall narrative.

The art for Ore Monogatari is bright and cheerful, perfect for this light-hearted anime. Animation is fluid and pleasant, with little to no quality issue. The usage of variety of different sceneries are definitely a plus, each accompanied with vibrant colouring. The way they exaggerate characters expression are very enjoyable, and it never fails to amuse me to see how silly Takeo can look each time. The OP and ED music are cheerful and complement the overall theme. The soundtrack used are mostly violin and other classical feels that fit perfectly with the mood if needed.

Overall, this is a surprisingly great anime that manages to capture the theme of romance and loves perfectly. It is an enjoyable anime that surely warms up your heart even if you are still single (me) and captures the beauty of love in many different way. Ore Monogatari is a highly recommended anime for the season if you enjoy romance anime or just a person who kept wondering "what is love?".

  • Ninja Slayer From Animation


Ninja Slayer works just because it's straight up ridiculous. Ninja Slayer isn't just anime. It's art.

In the future where the universalization of cybernetic technology and electronic networks are God, suddenly, sinister ninja souls, resurrected from thousands of years past are unleashed on the dark shadows of Neo-Saitama. Fujikido Kenji, is a salaryman whose wife and child were killed in a ninja turf war. In a brush with his own death, Fujikido is possessed by an enigmatic ninja soul. Fujikido cheats death and becomes Ninja Slayer. A Grim Reaper destined to kill evil ninja, committed to a personal war of vengeance. Set in the dystopian underworld of Neo-Saitama, Ninja Slayer takes on Soukai Syndicate ninjas in mortal combat. (Source: Animanga wikia)

Plot? What plot? Just kidding. There is a plot, but a very non-linear plot, jumping randomly to different perspective from time to time. What matter most is not the overall story however, rather than the satirical view that the anime itself try to convey to the viewer. One important note that has to be taken about this anime itself: It is a parody of a parody. This is not an anime that could be understand by comprehensible logic alone. It is an acquired taste. It's like a mysterious piece of art. Some people may find it unsettling, while other may regard it as a masterpiece. 

The is TONS of characters/ ninjas in this anime. They introduced about 2-5 ninjas each episode. The ninjas design are outstanding. They possess unique superhuman power, from super strength to the ability to control explosions and many more.  Most of them however, along with thousands of clones yakuza thugs got killed in one episode. The main character is Fujikido aka Ninja Slayer, a plain looking ninja with super speed and strength, along with the ability to spam unlimited shurikens. You know the bad guys will get their butt kicked the moment he showed up, no matter how though they might be. Other important side character include a loli ninja with origami controlling power that is just there to add in the plot, a useless amnesiac girl who is the granddaughter of Ninja Slayer master, and Nancy; useful but most of the time just there for fanservice purpose. 

One most striking feature about this anime is the ART. It's beautiful. The shading, high contrast colour and visual effects are just outright perfection. The visual representation of Neo-Saitama is just spot on, littered with neon light, dirty urban feels and tall dark skyscrapers. The animation however, is something else. Before you complain that the animation is awful, let me remind you that this is a parody anime. It is done on purpose. The fake looking explosion, the paper cut and paste character and repetitive fight scene are there because it is ridiculous, and fun. The soundtrack consist of techno and eastern music mash up, which is just perfect for the setting. The OP is good and they include different ED music for every single episode (which is impressive considering this is a very short anime). The voice acting consists of shouting and punch line, which I find really amusing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime. It is hard to actually watch it if you don't understand that it is a parody. This whole show is basically a piece of art. It just works because it is honest and plain ridiculous. Absurdity kills reason. This is this anime power.

Until then....






Summer anime 2015

  • THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls 2nd Season

There are some charm of an idol anime. Perhaps because of the interesting cast, or maybe because the songs, or the straightforward story, or all of them altogether. iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls is no exception. It is fun to watch, listen and sing along to. It's not too great, but it is enjoyable.

The story is told when talent agency 346 Production started a new program, the Cinderella Project.They took girls leading normal lives and transform them to be aspiring idols and see another world for the first time in this Cinderella story. Can they all climb the stairs that lead to the palace? The magic begins now... (Source: Daisuki)

The first season is more like an introduction, telling a slice of life story for each idols as they get comfortable with their units. The second season however, started with all thing suddenly crumbles down. A bit of depressing start, but the each idols find their own light in the hardship they faced and keep going on as the story continue to progress. They had the right formula; there’s the evil step-mother, the prince and the multiple Cinderellas. The tales for each Cinderella is done decently, but feels rushed and bland at time. It does suddenly get depressing somehow near the end, which does feels kind of forced. And the way the end is executed are rather bland after all the tension built up previously. The story overall has a much darker tone compared to the first season, yet it fails to capture each idols development, making this whole anime more like an advertisement to the game rather a complete set of anime.

There are about 15 main idols, as well as some extra senior and junior idols from the same agency featured. Their character design are hit and miss. Some more notable idols like Ranko, Anzu and Anastasia are really fun to watch, looks better than the whole cast in design and personalities yet their appearance in the anime itself are minimal. The three idols in the New Generation units, who supposed to be the main cast by no mean are bad but rather generic, and took the spotlight too much at time. Some of the other idols just feel insignificant, and just there to fill in the spot. The main problem like stated previously is the lack of character development which could be justified because of the abundance of idols in the series. Some of the characters are memorable, while other feels left out.

The art and animation are above average. The usage of bright and vibrant colour keeps the anime overall tone to be on a lighter side. The animation are smooth, with no apparent problems. The usage of 2D drawing instead of using CG during the concert are much appreciated, keeping the quality constant throughout. As for the music, there is not much to complain since most of the time it is really good. I do enjoy the different music used for each idols units, but I wish it could be extended more.

The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls 2nd Season is a decent anime, with so much potential yet feels rather inferior compared to its predecessor. It does have its own enjoyable moment, and it is fun to watch each idols doing their best to climb the stairways leading to the promised palace, a stage where their job is to make people (including the viewers) smile. Do pick it up if you enjoy idol anime, but you won't miss much by not watching.

  • Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai

At first I was really skeptical when I take a glimpse at this anime. It's probably just another ecchi trash that is just there to satisfy a certain target group carnal desire. But oh boy, I was wrong, very wrong indeed. Shimoneta is not your usual ecchi anime. It's taken ecchi comedy to a whole new level.

The story follows sixteen years after the "Law for Public Order and Morals in Healthy Child-Raising" banned coarse language in the country. Tanukichi Okuma enrolls in the country's leading elite public morals school and is soon invited into the Anti-Societal Organization (SOX) by its founder, Ayame Kajou. As a member blackmailed into joining by Ayame, Tanukichi ends up taking part in obscene acts of terrorism against the talented student council president Anna, for whom Tanukichi has a crush on. (Source: ANN)

The story itself seem overly ridiculous. There is so much nonsense that your brain just give up on logical thinking and just go on watching for the pure comedic factor. But after a while, you realise that it was actually a really clever anime. Behind the overly sexual theme, there was a hidden message  about fighting against the government's violation of freedom of speech and getting rid of all forms of censorship throughout society. It feels a lot like an author who had gotten fed up with the current system and who decided to write this story out of spite. The plot was really straightforward, but towards the end it feels like it doesn't really accomplish anything much. Nevertheless, it is a witty comedy full of satire and endless fun.

The characters in the anime is really enjoyable to watch. Other than the plain looking protagonist, the characters design fits the anime really well, to a point that one character does resemble to a male genitalia for some reason. Tanukichi, the main character is plain looking, but it is enjoyable to get him pushed around and transformed into some kind of hentai kamen. The main attraction of the show however is Ayame Kajou, or Blue Snow. Her personalities change are really drastic, and she is super crazy in the way she talks and act. She kept spouting suggestive words and cleverly makes random pun out of it here and there. There is also other character like Anna, who is just plain crazy when her switch is on, a gloomy mad scientist that help organization in secret, an artist that goes hyper when inspiration kicks in as well as many other crazy casts. 

The animation and art are pretty much average, just like what you would expect for the standards of anime nowadays. The OP and ED music are a joy to sing along to, giving a hint on how absurd the anime would be. The soundtrack and sound effect are spot on and just there when you would expect them to be.

Overall, Shimoneta is just a rollercoaster of pure crazy fun. If you want to find an anime for the hilariously absurd comedy with underlying satirical messages, this is the anime for you. It is refreshing, a totally fresh breath of air that takes comedy to another level. Not many anime is as 'innovative' yet Shimoneta does it jobs perfectly.

  • Bikini Warriors

What happens when you gather up a bunch of hentai doujin artist and let them do the character design for a short anime with straight up random stuff and purely for fanservice? The result would be Bikini Warrior. I must admit, I do enjoy ecchi stuff sometimes. But if it's too much, I might as well go for sadpanda instead. Just like sweet stuff. It's good, but too much of it gives you diabetes.

Bikini Warriors tell a tale of a team of four brave women -- Fighter (also the daughter of a legendary warrior who saved the country in the past), Paladin, Mage, and Darkelf -- accept the quest of saving the world from destruction. In order to achieve the goal they have to barter with villagers and fight against numerous monsters in their sexy and scantily-clad bikinis. (Source: ANN)

True to their title, it's just a story of bikini clad females going about random adventure each episodes and making funs of video games tropes. It is clever since it's not just a pure fanservice anime, but a mix of fanservice and satire elements. People who enjoy playing RPG and understand most of the reference they make fun of will totally relate; the same type of bikini armor but the only difference is the higher Magic Defense rating, being able to take townspeople stuff without no consequences, starting your journey piss poor without any money, buying a rare stuff only to get it inside a dungeon later on, and many more. There is no connection whatsoever between each episodes; it's purely episodic. Most of the time they just focus on doing fanservices; tentacles, groping, nudity, you name it. It's excessive, since it doesn't really serve any function at all, other for you to ogle on them. Thankfully each episodes is only 3 minutes long, so it doesn't get into your nerve that much.

The characters design are really good, given that each of them are designed by different artists. Each of them looks really distinct from each other, from the energetic warrior, matured dark elf, beautiful paladin and cute mage. I don't really have any issue with their clothing whatsoever, since it's the whole point of the story itself. There is no character development, since the whole story is just random occurrence in between episodes. As such, the characters are rather forgettable.

The art and animation are surprisingly superb. The colour palette are vibrant, and the animation are decent. Each characters are drawn beautifully, and mostly suggestively. The only problem with this anime is the lack of music. There is no OP since it's a very short anime, and the ED/ credit music sounds like a random national anthem. The soundtrack are non-existent, probably because they focused too much on the art instead.

Bikini Warrior is a rather trashy fanservice anime, but it is fun to watch if you get the satire message they try to convey in every episodes. For people who frequently plays RPG, or just love boobs in general, it's a perfect way to waste your free time since it's a very short anime. Otherwise, avoid it at all cost.

  • Non Non Biyori Repeat

Non Non Biyori is a very special anime. It's a simple anime, about children growing up in the countryside. Yet, it is one of the best slice of life ever; the one anime that envelop you with a special feeling the other couldn't.

The story take place at Asahigaoka, that might look like typical, boring countryside to most; however, no day in this village can ever be considered colorless thanks to five students of varying ages occupying the only class in the only school in town. The youngest student is first grader Renge Miyauchi, the perfect example of a typical, innocent child. Then there are the Koshigaya siblings consisting of the quiet ninth grader and elder brother Suguru, diminutive eighth grader Komari, and the mischievous seventh grader Natsumi, whose appearance may fool you at first thanks to her constantly emulating her more mature older sister. The recent arrival of Tokyo-raised fifth grader Hotaru Ichijou, who appears overdeveloped for her age and thus naturally holds an air of maturity, rounds out this lively and vibrant group of five classmates. Based on the manga penned and illustrated by Atto, Non Non Biyori chronicles the not-so-normal daily lives of this group of friends as they engage in their own brand of fun and frolic, and playfully struggle with the realities of living in a rural area. (Source: MAL Rewrite)

Non Non Biyori is a very light-hearted anime, with slow, relaxed pace. The second season itself doesn't feel like an actual continuity to the first season, but rather an extension that enriches the whole series. It does not follow an actual, linear plot; it's mainly episodic. However, it manages to do most other slice of life anime couldn't, to put enough content in the story. Each scene is very fulfilling to watch, from the simple act of walking to school to playing country games and so on. The simplistic nature of the anime itself is what makes it so charming. For someone who actually grows up in a village myself, I could easily relate to the anime. It brings back the sense of nostalgia, like having a secret fort, helping your family gathering foods in the orchard/ mountains, and resting at the small candy shop after going back from the school. Non Non Biyori has a new adventure waiting around every corner for the audience to join in on, bringing in new experiences as well as reliving special moments for each one.

The shows features four main characters. Renge, the youngest of them are the perfect example of a child. She is innocent, surprised even at the moat trivial thing, and can be rather spontaneous at time trying new things. She is in fact the most lovable character of the bunch; looking at her doing her thing is a very enjoyable sight. Next we have Komari, a child who tried her best looking mature despite her rather small stature. She is short despite being the oldest of the bunch, but as the story goes on, she can be dependable at time (and still looks childish). Her little sister, Natsumi is taller than Komari herself. She had a tomboyish personality, always eager to set sail for a new adventure and have a lots of fun. Finally we have Hotaru, a city-girl hanging out with the rest to learn something new about the life of the countryside. She looks very mature despite being the second youngest in the group and doesn't really 'drive' the story, but makes everything around her more enjoyable nevertheless. There is also a bunch of side characters that add more spices to the mix, completing the cast and adds more variation to the story making each scene be really refreshing.

The anime features a very good looking art and scenery. Each of them are shown in intricate details, from the flora and fauna to the country architecture; with photo-realistic image and vibrant colour. It is set to make you feel like you are in the countryside itself; beautiful and calming. Even during season changes, the color scheme subtly adapts to fit the tone and atmosphere of the cool welcome of autumn, and the bright appearance of the new year. The animation is smooth and above average, looks simplistic mostly but perfect for the relaxing pace of the anime. As for the music, the OP and ED deserve a praise for its happy and easygoing nature. The background sound used gives a country-like feels, perfect for the setting of the anime.

Overall this is probably the best slice of life anime the year had to offer. It has all the formulas this type of anime should have: fun, relaxing and refreshing. It is a step up from the previous season, and definitely worthy of another season (just in case). I highly recommend this anime. The story is simple but charming: 4 girls living in the countryside where nothing ever happens, yet it is a bliss.

  • Gakkou Gurashi

The most accurate description I could come out with this anime: It's a 'moe-horror' anime.At first glance, and perhaps first few episodes, the story looks really light hearted considering what the setting is. But as you go on, stuff gets really grim later on. It's not your average high school adventure featuring cute girls doing cute thing. It's more than that.

Megurigaoka Private High School is a unique and lively place where Yuki Takeya enjoys her carefree life as a third-year high school student and member of the School Living Club. The club, consisting of the president Yuuri Wakasa, the athletic Kurumi Ebisuzawa, the mature junior Miki Naoki, the supervising teacher Megumi Sakura, and the club dog Taroumaru, prides itself on making the most of life at school. In reality, all is not as it seems—the real purpose of the School Living Club is to escape from the shocking and disturbing truth: the girls are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and have barricaded themselves inside the school as the sole survivors. (Source: MAL Rewrite)

The plot features a light-hearted exposition to introduce the characters in a cute and fun way. They does what you expect a normal high school student would do: studying, having field trip, going to pool, etc. But there's a catch. It's all a way to cope with the unsettling post-apocalyptic zombie infested world pretending it actually never happened, which actually makes the anime itself a psychological roller coaster ride. There’s a sense of self-awareness maintained in the writing throughout, whether it’s literally pointing to other works that it has drawn inspiration from such as the movie ‘I am Legend’ and the novels of Stephen King. It doesn't actually shy itself from giving hints here and there about important plot device, which unfortunately makes the story rather predictable. It does however raise a lot of questions, regarding how these girl actually did survive for god how long in the conveniently built school, which thankfully explained a little bit at the end. Speaking of the ending, it goes with an anime original ending; maybe a little bit unsettling for the manga readers but the bitter-sweet alternative end actually gives hope as to what will happen to the girl afterward.

There aren't that many characters in the anime itself so to speak; four members of the school living club, their supervisor teacher, and a pet dog. Oh, and a bunch of zombies. At first glance, each of them looks like a generic slice of life anime characters; the cheerful Yuki, the matured Yuuri, the energetic Kurumi, the cool yet stoic girl Miki and the clumsy but adorable Megu-nee. But as the story progress further, you could see that each of them had to dealt with some kind of inner mental conflict from being disillusioned, traumatic event from the past and the feeling of regret haunting them. It's more than what it meets the eyes. At one point, it is refreshing to see cutely animated girls facing unspeakable horrors. Your perspective really change after seeing the change in their facial expression, and how they actually react afterward. Since there are not that many cast, there are plenty of room for interactions between each character, albeit the character development only picked up later on.

The art and animation for this anime is really wonderful so to speak. It manages to balance out between a happy, vibrant tone and a much grim darker setting the story takes place in. The usage of beautiful colour pallete earlier in the story give you a really warm start, tricking your mind into believing that perhaps maybe it's fun to live in a school in a world like that. It all gets much darker slowly yet steadily with each episode. The animation is fluid with no issue at all. As for the music, I really enjoy how ironic the OP music is. The OP features a really happy and cheerful music, with equally happy animation sequences. But the OP song itself subtly changes to remind you the harsh reality that the girls actually faced (trust me, you don't want to skip the OP and note carefully at the subtle changes for each episode). The ED music are much slower, and melancholic at time. The first ED was really calming, representing a happier time for the girls and the second ED are much more melancholic fitting in well with how the story goes. The OST used are not bad, and mostly fits with the overall setting.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime so much. The ride is really wild, from a happy fun start, to a gloomier tone halfway and finally a full-fledged crisis at the end. It really blows your expectation, from the first episode itself. It manages to deliver, and gives the viewer something really refreshing once in a while. Gakkou Gurashi really define what 'moe-horror' anime is.

  • Gangsta

Gangsta, a show that hold so much potential but poorly executed, ultimately end with the studio demise. An anime featuring life of gangsters are not something you seen often, and most of the time worked really well given the setting and characters done in the right. This should be the case for Gangsta but unfortunately the clusterfuck of story and confusing plot makes this anime an utter disappointment.

In the city of Ergastulum, a shady ville filled with made men and petty thieves, whores on the make and cops on the take, there are some deeds too dirty for even its jaded inhabitants to touch. Follow the "Handymen," Nic and Worick, who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. A new group attempts to muscle in on their block and the cops enlist them to weed out the upstarts no questions asked. The only thing is, there's a witness to the slaughter that they absolutely refuse to silence, so they decide to take her in instead. (Source: MAL)

The story actually start off really good with the introduction of the dirty slum, infested with gangster, criminals, drugs dealer and so on. The setting relies heavily on the life of an outlaw; sex, money, drugs, guns. With such a unique setting of a decrepit city and a setup that promises something heavy hitting you would think the show would just run with it. However just after first few episodes, the story start to goes downhill. One thing that I kept asking when I watch this anime: what is the main objective that they try to accomplish? The characters seems to do random stuff one after another, because of poor transition between each arc. Big events are undergoing in the backdrop but never get revealed. Plot points are brought up to only come to a dead end with no resolution. The ending was so terrible, with cliff-hanger that made me think if they were really done with doing anime. Which they did.

In all honesty, I really do like the protagonists. Worick is a cool guy. He is apparently the level-headed member of the group and the one that keep an eye for the other. His quick wit and chill demeanor made him instantly likable. As the story goes on, we learn some of his complicated backstory along with Nicolas. Alex meanwhile, is not your usual damsel in distress. She is an emotionally damaged character that spends a majority of the show opening up to her new lifestyle with her two new companions. It's not that common to find someone within her profession to actually play a role in the story line. But the main star of the story is definitely Nicholas himself. What makes him unique is that he's deaf; something not many anime manages to do. The way they did the speech pattern and how he actually interact with other people really takes me aback. His personality changed from a cool, silent type to a battle maniac once he switch his mindset to battle mode. Overall, he's a really fascinating guy. The other character aren't really worth mentioning, mostly because of the lack of character development coupled with sloppy story writing.

The art and animation are average at best. Sometimes it looks really brilliant uyet sometimes it looked downright bad. The one thing they get it right is the tone and atmosphere of the anime. The dark, gloomy and dirty atmosphere is spot on. The OP and ED music are actually pretty good. The OP gives a psychedelic feel; like taking drugs, and the ED had a melancholic feeling in it to conclude each episode. The OST used are mostly alright and fits in most of the time.

I don't really recommend watching this show. The setting and theme are laid out nicely, but poorly executed and the story are just a complete mess. With plot points that go nowhere and characters that are never given any reason to be, Gangsta have squandered its runtime with too many issues to get a pass. RIP Manglobe.

  • Overlord

At first glance, Overlord looks just like another anime featuring the protagonist trapped in a video game world. But there's a catch; the protagonist is an evil looking skeleton mage whose goal is to conquer the world.

The story begins with Yggdrasil, a popular online game which is quietly shut down one day. However, when the protagonist Momonga decides to log out as the server shuts down, he found himself trapped in the world of Yggdrasil as his in game character, a powerful skeletal wizard. The world continues to change, with non-player characters (NPCs) beginning to feel emotion and becoming life-like. Momonga becomes cold and calculating, while having his emotions suppressed, as if he was not an actual human. Having no parents, friends, or place in society, this ordinary young man Momonga then strives to take over the new world the game has become. (Source: ANN, edited)

The story is simple enough to follow, with your usual stuck in a game setting. But unlike any other anime of the same type, the protagonist already given up on the real world and instead his goal is not to escape, but to take over the world instead. This is a rather fresh breath since you are given the chance to view the world in the villain eye. Being a dungeon master, he is accompanied with eccentric followers, or NPC, all with their own unique personalities. The way each of them are unquestionably loyal and awestruck with their great all-powerful leader is really a sight to behold. The story starts with Momonga and companies trying to get used to the new world, by gathering informations and testing out stuff like spells and items.  Then we get to see the him showing off his overwhelming power. At this point one may start to ponder if a story with a group of overpowered characters as the main focus would be a good idea. Thankfully, the middle part of the story toned a little bit to hide the fact the protagonist is really powerful by giving him a slight handicap; a job change if I would like to call it. And this is where the story diverge a little bit, to a more adventurer style plot line. It by no mean bad, in fact the closing of the adventurer arc was really satisfying, even if it feels a little dragged. And finally the last arc, which is a little rushed, and serve mostly as a plot device to end the anime with a huge fight.  The anime itself end with a cliffhanger, forcing the viewer to read the light novel or wait if there is a slight chance another season will come out. Overall, the story is very straightforward, with a simple enough plot to understand and smooth transition from one scene to another. It does feels rushed at time, and sometime one event just poping out one after another without much explanation.

The anime feature some of the best villain looking characters. Momonga, the protagonist and the Overlord of the Tomb of Nazarick is a menacing lich with huge figure and creepy aura. But he's not that bad of a guy to begin with, since he's basically still human on the inside (inside the bone? huh?), but occasionally his passive kicks in when he try to do thing out of character that makes some scene really hilarious. Because of that, his view is not totally a righteous one, and his action is based on what he believe the best for his group. All his subordinates are unique. We have Albedo; a sexy succubus that is literally written to be mad in love with him, Shalltear; gothic lolita vampire that is also in love with our lovable overlord and can have this high-class yet sinister aura in her, twin siblings that looks the least menacing among the group, Demiurge, Cocytus, Sebas, Pandora Actor; all elite yet loyal to Momonga and group of elite maids as well as many, many fellow Tomb of Nazarick inhabitant. The problem with so many cast is usually the lack of character development and progression and this is most evident with this anime. The only character that had be given any real, proper character development is Momonga himself since he is the main character of the story, while the other are mostly there to follow him and being used as a convenient plot device. For example, while I love to see more of Albedo perhaps, she's mostly there as a gag to show how obsessive she is with our skeletal ruler. It is a tad disappointing, but understandable since the whole point of the anime is to focus on the Overlord; Momonga or "Ainz Ooal Gown".

The art and animation is above average and really satisfying, not really surprising by the fact that it is done by Madhouse which presented consistent animation from time to time. Taking place in such a fantasy world, the colors are focused on the characters rather than the background. Characters are diverse and decorated distinctively that makes them look unique. This anime did not shy away from putting elements of gore and violence in it, which makes the setting a lot darker, perfect for the theme of this anime. The OP and ED are one of the best this season had to offer; both of them featuring heavy rock music that are just perfect for this anime. OP theme song is an intense beat to the ears while the ED theme always decorates itself with unorthodox imagery. The OST are perfect, with epic orchestral music played at the right moment and displaying a familiar fantasy feel in terms of content.

Overall I think Overlord is a very enjoyable anime despite the lack of depth and lacked progression, mostly because the cast of entertaining characters and a familiar yet fresh setting. It might not be the best anime out there, but it is a fun anime which I would definitely recommend it.

  • Wakaba*Girl

Wakaba*Girl is basically a show where cute girls are doing cute stuff. The show are short; 7 minutes per episode, but it is a fun ride. 

The story centers around the activities of Wakaba Kohashi, "a slightly out-of-tune super" daughter of a well-to-do family, and her friends. Wakaba (literally, "young leaves") looks like an elegant rich daughter, but she admires the trendy gyaru fashion subculture. There is also the pure, innocent, fairy-tale-like Moeko. Mao is capricious and behaves in her own way. Nao used to be an athletic type of girl, but now loves the boys-love genre. (Source: ANN)

The show itself has no particular plot or significant story, other than Wakaba journey to become a 'gyaru'. It has a simple and straightforward story. Given that the essence of the anime itself is slice of life, they manages to make mundane daily activity to be humorous and entertaining. There are also some recurring theme that could be found, mainly about friendships and how people could become close togetehr despite differences in status. The overall story are both enjoyable and relaxing. So in the very least it's fun.

There are only 6 significant characters overall in the story; the protagonist of the show Wakaba, her friends and her family. They all are cliche archetypes but they worked wonderfully. Each character has their own personality that's different from one another to the point where they stand out in their own way and the interactions with one another makes things pretty fun overall. Wakaba for example, who lived the life of a rich girl lacks a bit of knowledge and experience of what your average person knows and goes through so her friends help her on that part, by just doing things as ordinary as possible. Her awkwardness in dealing with something ordinary makes it looks really enjoyable.

The overall art and animation are colourful and cute to watch. For a short anime, they managed to make the quality constant. There is nothing special about the overall art and animation itself but it doesn't really need it. Music-wise, the show has an opening of which is really catchy, it really sets the mood of the show and shows you what to expect which is a happy, easygoing show that you can relax and laugh to. There's no ending sequence but each episode wraps itself up on a more relaxing note so you can feel at ease when an episode ends.

Overall Wakaba*Girl is a really fun and enjoyable short anime to watch. It doesn't take to much time since it's only 7 minutes long, and definitely worth a short if you have the time to spare for it.

  • Himouto! Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan is a light hearted slice of life anime with some unique elements that makes the show rather interesting to watch. The characters, or the star of the show, Umaru, is the mascot of the season. She is what most of us apire to be, perfect on the outside, yet living a carefree and frivolous life when no one is watching. 

Umaru is a renowned beautiful 16-year-old girl in town, living with her elder brother Taihei. She acts a perfect sister with a kind heart, intelligence and popularity, who everybody admires. So who would believe how true Umaru is at home? Sleeping, gaming, watching TV, eating junk food, drinking cola… that's almost all she does at home, leaving all the housework to her brother. Her camouflage is so perfect that when one of her classmates visits her home by surprise and witnesses “true Umaru," she pretends as if she is Umaru's younger sister. Taihei is always swayed by Umaru's gap between ostensible face and spoiled life, but he cannot hate his comical and somehow lovable cute little sister!
(Source: Crunchyroll)

Being a slice of life anime in its core, there are no specific or linear plot line to follow. The show basically center around Umaru as she lives her double personalities life, literally. Elements that are being put into the show include friendship, family, having a good time together and satire towards the otaku culture at time. In retrospect, the show delivers what I would call a cultural comedy. You can spot a lot of references here and there, which can be really amusing at time. Most of the show however focuses the relationship between Umaru and the other characters, mainly her brother and her friends. She kept a neutral relationship with her brother at home, showing her true himouto side. As such, only her brother knew her true side, and both of them shows familial affection towards each other despite Umaru unreasonable demand and quirky personalities. Her personalities with her friends however, varies depend on how Umaru interact with them. She went from a perfect high school girl mode, rival gamer mode and even self-proclaimed little sister mode. It does give variation on how the story and pacing change with each different Umaru personalities. The only problem however is that like most slice of life show, most of the interaction can be rather dull sometime with nothing in between some scenes. It is not so much of a problem however if you enjoy a slow anime with hilarious comedy.

The character in this story are a mixture or basic archetype with their own taste of uniqueness. Umaru is great. When in her perfect, role model high-school form she is basically flawless, with beautiful appearance and elegant personalities. Her main selling point however is in her deformed form at home, where she basically looks like a chibi version of herself with hamster hoodies and spoiled brat personalities. A complete opposite. Yet for some reason however she manages to hide this from most people excluding her own brother. She is what most of people could relate too; people who really loves their hobby but can't really show it to other people outside. As such, people had to build facade just to fit in with the society, ultimately hiding their own hobby out of public eyes. Her brother however, plays a major role as a moral and physical support for Umaru. Taihei understand his sister hobbies and mostly let her be in her own world, while taking care of Umaru at the same time. He is indeed a role model for what an understanding older brother could be. The series also consists of other characters ranging from Umaru’s shy childhood friend Ebina, self-proclaimed rival Sylphynford, and the bizarre and frightening girl, Kirie Motoba. Each of them has a different personality that makes them stand out on their own. 

The art and animation are above average at most. The bright colour palette and cheerful art style fit in with the slice of life+comedy theme. In essence, the artwork is simplistic yet effective. The animation are mostly fluid and acceptable. The music stand out on its own, most notably the OP scene, showing Umaru double personalities with notable references and catchy, fun music. The ED scene is decent, while the OST mostly fit in with the scene pretty well.

Although Himouto! Umaru-chan is not a particular distinctive anime in term of comedy, it does has its own fun moment and convincingly gets the audience to laugh. There’s enough jokes in the series that makes it look like satire and in general makes fun of the otaku culture thanks to Umaru. It also has enough time to not forget about the other characters given its steady pace. It is a decent anime to watch overall; it is not a masterpiece or a great piece of work, but it is fun nevertheless. Or watch it just for Umaru.

  • Charlotte

Charlotte is one of the most hyped anime of this season, mostly because it is written by Jun Maeda himself who made brilliant anime in the past. While at the surface it looks good, the anime itself had visible flaws that ultimately shatter my expectation for it. It does not feel original, full of plotholes, rushed to the core and lacks of interesting characters end up in what I think one of the most disappointing anime this season.

The story follows Yuu Otosaka, who appears to be just another charming and intelligent teenager, yet he has a secret—he has the ability to slip into people's minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time. Yuu has been using this skill for years to gain the highest grades, which allowed him to enter a prestigious high school. When the enigmatic Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power, she coerces him and his sister Ayumi into transferring to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. The student council of the school, led by Nao, is tasked with secretly tracking down adolescents who abuse their powers. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they face formidable challenges that bring him closer to the shocking truth that his own, seemingly incomplete ability, might be more powerful than he could have ever imagined. An original story from Jun Maeda, creator of Angel Beats and Clannad, Charlotte explores the supernatural lives of these teenagers and the price they must pay for being special. (Source: MAL Rewrite)

The first few episodes of the anime show promising start, an over eccentric guy get thrown into a school where he is forced to use his power instead. Afterward, half of the story went on with his usual routine with his peers and capturing people misusing their powers, repeating the same pattern over and over again. At this point onward, the show start to crumble. While it is understandable that it merely serve as a build up for the latter part of the story, it drags too long with no purpose and unclear goals. And then at the middle, the shows start to drastically change into a darker and serious tone, with a major plot device that unfortunately feels very forced. The shows get worse after that with more convenient plot device introduced one after another, along with plot holes here and there. They even throws some nameless bad guy at some point in an effort to make it look more dramatic, which to be fair does not seem to be necessary at all.  Finally, as the last straw, they go turbo boost the last episodes and clumped a single arc in it, forcing a happy end and lead the viewer in complete disappointment. It has it own good point at time, like how they manages to show how it feels like to lose someone, and some hilariously fun comedy scene. Some recurring themes include family values, magical realism, and his intention to draw tears from the viewers with emotional scenarios. Yet for the most part, the show are just full of massive plot holes and random ass pulls that makes the overall viewing experience to be ruined. The romance part of this anime are just outright terrible. The hero and heroine of the story does not show any connection toward each other,  and the feeling they show feels really superficial. Overall, for a story who supposedly written by a great writers, it fails to delivers.

The characters in this anime are another major problem this show have. Yuu Otosaka start off as an interesting character, using his power to benefit himself and pretending to be a nice guys while inside he is really cunning. I mean, who would think that hitting a girl by literally (almost) hitting her with a truck is a good idea right? But after the first episodes, his personality are reduced into your generic main character that follows the story instead of shaping the story itself. Nao Tomori in the other hand, while looks interesting at first glance with her smug personalities at time, have a complex personality that devoid of emotions at time, mostly makes some emotional scenes to feel empty and uninteresting. The other character are mostly to fill in the archetype, with predictable personalities and insignificant role in the main storyline. Heck, some character refuses to stay dead making all the emotional build up invested in previous scene to go down the drain. It is evident that this anime fails to bring memorable characters into the fray and just recycled familiar character archetype form similar show.

The great thing about this anime however, are the beautiful art and animation, saving this anime from being horrible beyond saving. The level of details are astounding, with vibrant colours pleasing to the eye. The animation are very smooth and fluid with no major quality issue could be detected. The music are also really amazing. From the beautiful OP and ED, to the good usage of OST, the quality of sound are just impressive.

On a whole, so much of Charlotte goes unexplained that you just sort of have to fill in all the holes yourself, or watch purely for entertainment purposes without connection to the characters. As a show that tries far too hard to induce drama or tear-jerking moments, it really didn’t succeed in such a way. Thankfully, Charlotte’s comedy can make the fans laugh a bit and the premise can seem to be interesting. Should you watch it? Sure, if you could blatantly enjoy an anime without thinking too much about it. It is a beautiful anime and enjoyable to a certain extent, but fails to live up the hype.

  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Gate: jieitai kanochi nite kaku tatakaeri or also known as Gate is personally one of my favourite anime this season. It is what you would've imagine when the modern world meet an older, fantasy world setting. It is like when you play Sid Meier's Civilization, only in anime form. Fantasy enters reality and reality enters fantasy. Both worlds are separated by a gate and at the center of it, there’s a man named Youji Itami.

In August of 20XX, a portal to a parallel world, known as the "Gate," suddenly appeared in Ginza, Tokyo. Monsters and troops poured out of the portal, turning the shopping district into a bloody inferno. The Japan Ground-Self Defence Force immediately took action and pushed the fantasy creatures back to the "Gate." To facilitate negotiations and prepare for future fights, the JGSDF dispatched the Third Reconnaissance Team to the "Special Region" at the other side of the Gate. Youji Itami, a JSDF officer as well as a 33-year-old otaku, was appointed as the leader of the Team. Amid attacks from enemy troops the team visited a variety of places and learnt a lot about the local culture and geography. Thanks to their efforts in humanitarian relief, although with some difficulties they were gradually able to reach out to the locals. They even had a cute elf, a sorceress and a demigoddess in their circle of new friends. On the other hand, the major powers outside the Gate such as the United States, China, and Russia were extremely interested in the abundant resources available in the Special Region. They began to exert diplomatic pressure over Japan. A suddenly appearing portal to an unknown world—to the major powers it may be no more than a mere asset for toppling the international order. But to our protagonists it is an invaluable opportunity to broaden knowledge, friendship, and ultimately their perspective towards the world. (Source: Baka-Tsuki)

The story does not shy itself from starting with a bang. The Ginza massacre gives the audience the feeling that this would not be your usual fantasy themed anime but instead more serious fantasy anime. This incident lead to the opening of a gate to the new world, and a clash between the modern and fantasy world. While it is not an all out war, mostly ended up with one side get massacred effortlessly, the main focus of the anime is in the small militia band lead by Itami himself. He and his platoon are the bridge between these two world, eventually the story changed it courses from a war-like start to an effort for peace between the two nations. The technical aspects of the show are really good. Though Gate never loses its character focus, the idea of spending a lot of time exploring political, economics, philosophical and a wide variety of subjects about the fantasy world can be very boring but important for us to understand the motivations of certain characters. As well it is necessary to understand the series better. In terms, the series try it’s best to describe the best path for humanity against this fictional world. It has its merits and its flaws, but above all it is not simple. This issue is rather complex to be discussing or used in most anime series and yet Gate does a nicely job showing the themes. While the overall story feels short and incomplete, it serves as a great foundation for the upcoming second cour of the anime.

GATE’s characters are highly diverse not just because in term of personalities but also by races; as in non-human races. Itami is an older male (as opposed to the high school teenagers you’d commonly see these days and also an avid otaku. While at first he may look like your usual main character, he's actually really refreshing to watch. It s more than meets the eye despite his easygoing and lazy personalities. He can be really calm and collected, and his leadership skills in his platoon are something to admire for. Overall, he is a casual guy who is kind at heart and easily able to make friends with others. The three main heroines who joined Itami consists of three girls – Tuka Luna Mareau which is a 165 year old elf, Lelei La Rellena who is a 15 year old human from the fantasy world, and Rory Mercury, a demi-goddess don in gothic lolita outfit who is apparently over 900 years old. These characters have different personalities but also creates fascination as they enter the real world. What we witness throughout the story is how they adapt with real world concepts such as modern life technology and politics. As for now, the story have not advanced far enough to actually dwelve deeper into the past and to further develop their character, but perhaps later on in the series we will get deeper understanding on their motvation for joining Itami's cause.

The art and animation are amazing. The attention to detail from the entire scenery of the world down to military equipment are perfect. The character design keeps the story tone balanced from being too dark and grim, while maintaining a casual style. The military design reveals a strong degree of realism with its arsenal of weapons throughout the show, perfect for huge military geeks; from tanks, to airplanes, to individual equipments. The animation are smooth and consistent for the rest of the show. The high-end action is carefully placed and definitely top notch. Soundtrack is powerful but not the type of mind-blowing you may expect. The OP and ED theme song has a catchy tone to it with a modest style of storytelling. On most parts, the OST works well enough to match the intense atmosphere of the action and lighthearted moments. One great example is the usage of Flight of  theValkyries which makes one of the scene to be really epic.

Overall I would reinforce my statement that gate is one of my top pick this season. It is a show that opens a gate with wealth of interests. It blurs between the lines of fiction and reality, and does quite well on most parts with its creativity. Certain audiences such as those interested in political or military affairs may find this more enjoyable than others. For those who loves action, Gate can be appealing although it’s not a main focus of the story. A definite watch for this season.

  • Rokka no Yuusha

At first glance, I was convinced that this would be another adventure themed anime featuring heroes defeating the bad guys and ultimately saving the world. But to my surprise, it's not. It does shows a lot of promises when the theme suddenly changed halfway. However, this anime is too ambitious for its own good and fail to execute the story properly. Ultimately, this anime serve nothing more than a way to promote the source material.

When the Demon God awakens from the depths of darkness, the Goddess of Fate selects six heroes and bequeaths them with the power to save the world. Adlet, a boy who proclaims himself the strongest man in the world, has been selected among "The Heroes of the Six Flowers." However, as the heroes gather, they soon begin to suspect that someone among them is an impostor, as this time, there are seven of them. (Source: ANN, edited)

Throughout the first episode, the anime tell us about the world setting, and how the protagonist are later chosen to be one of the six heroes. He then venture to find the other remaining heroes, which in a sense should be a very straightforward plot. Surprisingly, this show suddenly turned into a detective-mystery anime halfway through, which in paper seems like a wonderful idea. As more and more heroes shows up, tension build up and the investigation part commence. Heroes start blaming each other, and try to find a way to escape from the situation. The thing about mystery anime is that you can feel the sense of realism in a way you could imagine someone replicating it in real life. In a fantasy anime however, the challenges is to keep realism from mixing up too much with magic. This anime somehow manages to keep it simple in the beginning, but as more and more stuff comes out, the magical elements get out of hand and fails to keep the balance intact. This inevitably takes away the element that makes up detective anime great; the sense of trying to figure out yourself what happened and who is the culprit behind the said incident. There is no room for characters development to make way for the story, which dragged way too long with useless banter and forced emotional train wreck.Towards the end, the story fails to satisfy with predictable cliche, leading towards an incomplete, half-baked finale. Heck, the story would be even better if most part in the end is being cut down.

The anime feature seven main casts; six heroes and one fake. For an adventure anime that features a moderate amount of characters , you would expect that the character development go on with not much problem. However, this anime focuses too much on the mystery part, and fails to tell the backstory of almost all of the characters. Aside from two or three cast, the rest serve mostly as a plot device, which is a real shame considering they have interesting personalities. The main character, Adlet, is your average happy go lucky guy with an interesting way to fight, calling himself the strongest man in the world. He is cunning at time, yet aside for that he is average at most. His relationship with other characters play a huge role in the story progression, yet this sort of development couldn’t be spared for all six other members of the group and actually go some distance towards making the mystery more engaging. The other characters are also interesting in their design and personalities, but to avoid it from becoming a spoiler I'll avoid discussing about them. It's enough to say that each of them have different personalities that bring dynamic to the story, but given the lack of development there is little connection between each of them.

The art and animation are decent, but average to say the least. The anime features a promising setting with potentially beautiful fantasy background, but got butchered halfway by making all the characters stuck in one place. Viewers are forced to see the same place over and over again as the variety in environment get lost. The characters design are nice in their own way as mentioned previously, and the animation are mostly limited to the character facial expression and gestures as they try to interact with each other. The music are nice, with decent OP and spectacular ED; showing several different ED songs to fit in with the mood of the story. The OST are alright for the most part.

Rokka no Yuusha threads this bizarre line between being an action and a mystery show and fails at succeeding in either genre. Tension in fights does not exist because the show does not give the viewer to understand the development for majority of the cast. It makes the show very difficult to recommend. If you’re after a satisfying mystery, forget it. If you’re after little action, perhaps. Otherwise, there are better alternative for both mystery and fantasy anime elsewhere.

  • Joukamachi no Dandelion

This is a what I think one of the hidden gem of this season. The style makes you think that this is probably your average ecchi slice of life anime at first glance, yet by no mean it's not. While the show itself is not a masterpiece, it is actually a really decent and enjoyable anime to watch.

The Sakurada family is a pretty ordinary family of eleven people living in a solitary house. Except that their father is the king, and each of the children has special powers. Also, to ensure their safety and to help citizens decide the next king, the town is observed by more than 2000 security cameras. (Source: Wikipedia) 

The main theme in this anime are actually about family. Royal family. With superpowers. Despite having a rather complex setting, the story itself was rather simple and straightforward, with plentiful character development. It is generally a slice of life anime, with each episodes focusing the life of each of the family members of Sakurada family as they follow the path of living like a normal citizen would. The anime consists of many smaller parts and most of the episodes are divided into two, sometimes even three short stories instead of a single one spanning the entire episode. At time, the whole story itself feels like a celebrity reality program. The concept of having a voting, democracy system to determine the next ruler is really amusing, as each sibling regardless of their ages try their hardest to win the heart of citizen. As such, there are lots of hidden messages that can be learned from the characters, from familial loves, finding one true purpose to taking good care of other people regardless of your status. The comedy are very nice and not overly exaggerated, making each scene really enjoyable to watch. The plot are well written, for an anime that features  the ending are very, very satisfying. 

The main highlight of the show is the cast of colourful characters. They have their own personality each with Strength and Weaknesses. The characters are relatable as they have shown their inner strength, not their obvious supernatural powers as a main focus. They've shown their weaknesses when they are in troubled with life,yet they've always helped each other to overcome it. Even though their archetypes might be common as seen in most anime, further sense of duty and responsibility further shines upon their character keeping them refreshing to watch. This anime have one of the most siblings in an anime, 9 of them in total; the oldest being Aoi, followed by Shuu, Kanade, Akane, Misaki, Haruka, Hikari, Teru and the youngest Shiori. Each character are different from the rest, there is never a character who are boring to watch for. There are lack of antagonist, but it is understandable since its a mainly slice of life anime, with a tinge of superpowers. The best thing about the characters however, is their development. Each episodes showed several different scene that focuses on each of the characters, as they progress and left none unchecked of. As such, the characters grows, overcoming their troubles, and their relationship between family members and people around them grows. For a 12 episodes anime with variety of different characters, I would say this is a great success.

Art and animation are above average, as expected of most anime nowadays. The character design are simple but lovely in their own way. The art is consistent and bright fit with the theme of the anime and it is pleasant to look at. The animation is smooth and clean. It is not overly exaggerated, keeping it mostly simple. The sound fits really well with the anime. The OP and ED are really cheerul and catchy, pleasant to the ears. As for the OST, it fits the mood; they can be fun yet calming at time. While the overall art and music direction does not stand too much, the story makes up for them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime and consider it a hidden gem that not much people talk about. The story is well written, with great character development and satisfying ending. Although it is not an outstanding anime with masterfully crafted story, it is simple and fun in its own way. It manages to stand out a bit from your typical slice of life comedy. If nothing else, there is nothing straight-up bad to say about it, which is more than I can say for most anime. Do watch it if you had the time to do so.

  • Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou

I have one weird fetish. And it includes monster girls. Yup, you hear that right. Before I continue, let me give a small warning about this show; it is really ecchi, and maybe not suitable for most people to enjoy. As for me, this is the type of anime that I really enjoyed, for biased reason.

Monsters—they're real, and they want to date us! Three years ago, the world learned that harpies, centaurs, catgirls, and all manners of fabulous creatures are not merely fiction; they are flesh and blood—not to mention scale, feather, horn, and fang. Thanks to the "Cultural Exchange Between Species Act," these once-mythical creatures have assimilated into society, or at least, they're trying. When a hapless human named Kurusu Kimihito is inducted as a "volunteer" into the government exchange program, his world is turned upside down. A snake-like lamia named Miia comes to live with him, and it is Kurusu's job to take care of her and make sure she integrates into his everyday life. Unfortunately for Kurusu, Miia is undeniably sexy, and the law against interspecies breeding is very strict. Even worse, when a ravishing centaur girl and a flirtatious harpy move in, what's a full-blooded young man with raging hormones to do? (Source: Seven Seas Entertainment)

The plot of this anime is fairly simple, but mixed in with creative usage of unique characters to make all the differences. While being a different kind of slice of life genre, it never had a dull moment. Each episode focused on different heroines, and each of them brings out new experiences in a rather bizarre way. We have a lamia, a harpy, a centaur, a mermaid, a slime and tons of other species making up the female cast of this show. While this is unusual in and of itself, it also provides an almost infinite possibility for creative fanservice. Since different characters have completely different body parts, physical abilities, reproductive functions, and views on common sense, we end up with a show which has sexual content that I can guarantee that you've never seen before in an ecchi anime. Heck, new kind of fetishes may arises just from learning all the possibilities that could be achieved by bypassing the limited human physical capabilities. The overall story is not really that great, but the amount of hilarious comedy and enticing fanservice are more than enough to make up for it. To sum in all, it is just plain and simple lewdness in a comedic setting. That's all it is, and that's all it needs to be.

The highlight and main selling point of this anime is definitely all the monster girls; from the main heroines to the side characters. The prospect of learning all kind of monster girls are both entertaining and informative. Given that the girls' relentless sexual assaults on the protagonist is one of the core elements of the entire story, the ecchi segments are most certainly justified and believable for what they are.We have Mia the lamia who is attractive and sweet, but at the same time rather clingy. And imagine what would happen if a huge snake clings to a normal human body too much. Centorea the centaur is more stoic, but have a huge 'asset' and easily embarrassed. Papi the harpy is your loli bird-brain, cute and childish at the same time. Then we have Suu the slime, one of my favourite. She is a quite and innocent type, having a body that can changes depending on the situation. Next is Mero the mermaid who appears ladylike but have obsession on tragic love story. Finally, my another favourite is Rachnera, a spidergirl who appears to be the most sensible and martured of them all, but have tendency to do bondages play using her thread. We also have the MONster special force squad, each with their own eccentric members; a zombie, ogre, cyclop and doppleganger. The protagonist himself is rather plain and simple (except for the round circly thing for his eye), but he is really nice and not the spineless coward type, nor the annoying perverted type.

The art and animation are something to applaud for in this show. While it looked good in the manga, it looks even better in the anime due to the crisp and vibrant colors. Everything looks incredibly clean and detailed, and consequently all the girls also look amazing. The animation are consistently smooth and good. The best way to enjoy this experience is to watch the blue-ray version where everything is bare uncensored, bringing out each and every small important details. The music are also lovely in their on way. The OP are both sweet and cheerful, while the ED use rock music which is more intense. The OST used fit mostly with the scenes and not too excessive.

Overall I really enjoyed this anime to the core. Call me biased, or a pervert, but this is exactly the type of anime I would watch. While the story is plain and does not stand out in its own, the comedy, fanservices and cast of unique characters will definitely cater the need of certain type of audience. It is so much fun, and totally recommended for harem & ecchi lovers.

Will be continued on Autumn 2015
Short review.
  • Miss Monochrome - The Animation 

This season Miss Monochrome - The Animation continues the story of Miss Monochrome, Maneo manager and Ruu-chan. Each episode focuses on one of the aspects of super idol life, like touring, fanbases, merchandise and so forth, much like the first season. More Miss Monochrome could never go wrong. The story this season has a much more relaxed pace with longer length of each episode means that each story has more time to be setup and carried through. It's also clear even before the announcement of season 3 that season two really shouldn't be viewed as a complete story in itself, which explains why its climatic episode feels like a mid-season finale rather than an actual ending. While it is very short and simple, it's worth 7 mins of your life each week.

  • God Eater

God Eater is a show about a group of hunters called God Eaters who hunt monsters called Aragami. The concept is fairly simple and quite frankly generic by today’s standards. It’s the classic theme of mankind bringing it’s own ruin via technology. While the art and animation were really gorgeous and the music is really good, the pacing of the story is really terrible. It is still to early to actually judge this anime since it is getting nearer to the good part. I wish I could do a full review on this anime since it's already 9 episodes by the time I finished writing this. And even now, I still think that delaying the last 4 episodes was a stupid move by the studio. My suggestion is that to hold on from watching this anime for now until the full series is released, hopefully soon.

That's it. See ya next season!

By Otaku, for everyone.

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