Not Drawn to “Scale”

February 11th, 2021 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

“Sword Art Online” has been one of the more interesting series (and now franchises) of the past half-dozen years. As with any movie that comes from a successful series, I am leery that it might be just might be a recap of the series, put in movie form, for those folks who are too lazy to plunk themselves down and watch the whole thing, from a company that wants to make some quick money. Yes, they did do that in 2013, calling it the “Extra Edition”, so I was a little more assured that this one would be a real movie and not just a Season Two Recap. This brings us to “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”. Now, it would help to understand what an ‘ordinal scale’ is. (more…)

Where the “Battle” Rages

February 4th, 2021 in Anime, General Reviews by

Well, well, lookie here. Another “Girls Who Save the World” show. I. Did. Not. See. That. Coming.

Although one can compare it to the “Symphogear” series or even “Yuuni Yuki”, it is still a bunch of high school girls taking on implacable foes.

It is the year 2045 (Still no hoverboards. Are those things ever going to show up?) The world has been contaminated by Irōsu, a strange and mysterious group of invaders who suddenly appeared. Well, they do the usual junk: lay waste to the population, kill everyone they can and leave the seat up on the toilet. Really nasty types. Humans find themselves restricted and contained, unable to do much of anything. However, standing boldly against these invaders are ordinary girls everywhere, girls who can give the what-for to these who-dats. The Shinjugamine Girls Academy is a school for these “Hoshimori” (Star Guardians), destined to fight the Irōsu. Welcome one and all to “Battle Girl High School “(“Batorugāru Haisukūru”). Cue the jets flying overhead with the colored contrails. (more…)

Too “Smart” By Half

October 29th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

A harem comedy. Wow, I haven’t seen one of those in about 20….minutes. Still, this one brings along a great deal of charm and heart…despite the rather capacious title of Isekai wa Sumātofon to Tomo ni” (“In Another World with My Smartphone”).

While returning from school, 15-year-old Touya Mochizuki (that 70s disco king) is accidentally struck by lightning and killed by God. Hey, I thought God didn’t make mistakes like that! As an apology, God allows him to be resurrected, but since He cannot send him back to his old world or his old body, He instead reincarnates him into a fantasy world along with a single special request.

Touya uses his request in order to bring his smartphone into the new world with him, which God modifies so that the phone will function in the new world. God also amplifies Touya’s physical, magical, and cognitive abilities to a certain degree as a further apology for the inconvenience of killing him. Taking full advantage of his second chance at life, Touya befriends many different people in the new world, especially amazing them with his smartphone, so he comes off as close to being a …dare I say it…a god himself!

He begins to travel from country to country, solving political disputes, minor quests, and nonchalantly enjoying himself with his newfound allies. Some of the friends he makes along the way include: (left to right)

Leen, head of the Fairy Tribe of Mismede. She helps Touya on his quests.
Elze and Linze Silhoueska, twins who are adventurers. He rescues them from street thugs.
Yumina Urnea Belfast. Crown Princess of Belfast, he saved her father, the king.
Yae Kokonoe. She comes from a samurai family in Eashen.
Sushie Urnea Ortlinde. Daughter of the duke and duchess of Belfast, she was saved from a kidnapping.

The problem is that in this world, when you do a good deed, the ladies become your fiancée, so he is betrothed to all of those folks up there and a bunch more. Oh, the bear and the tiger. The bear is Paula, who belongs to Leen and is a caliber of automaton, but does not speak. The tiger is Kohaku, a Four Heavenly Beast that Touya formed a pact with. This version is more convenient to lug around than the full, terrifying version. (“…for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth…”)

These trips eventually leads to the discovery of the lost kingdom of Babylon, a shattered floating citadel that Touya is destined to find the various segments of, to reform the ancient country. Touya also encounters the “Fraze”, mysterious crystalline beasts invading the world through tears in time and space, which are somehow linked to the destruction of Babylon; he also learns that the pieces of Babylon itself hold the key to defeating the resurgent Fraze, a lost robotic weaponry system known as the Frame Gear.

But the whole this is done in a rather toss-off manner. Even when he saves the king from a mysterious malady, it is done with no more trouble as if you wanted the lyrics to the newest Taylor Swift song. This does not mean it’s a bad show. In fact, the rather casual nature of things is its charm and grace. He truly is a super hero, as there is no problem he cannot overcome, but with little to no ego about it. He just wants to help and to be a better person.

Well, since this is a rare commodity, as he could easily become King of His Domain, this is what endears him to everyone about, even God, as he has to kind of report in to see how things are going along. It’s just that since there is no problem he cannot overcome, there’s not much bite in the show. I mean, he really can do it all. We are lucky that he’s such a nice guy; otherwise things could turn dark. Now, that may be something they are holding out for the second season. As John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, said: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…” We will have to wait and see.

That being said, chain it all together. It helps things play out far better than the wait-and-see approach I am forced to endure. It helps with the overall tenor of the show and we see how this rolling stone gathers up all the moss it can (so to speak). Do I ever want to wait and splurge? I really don’t have that caliber of time, but it is on my agenda (I might do it with ‘SAO’, when I get a solid chance). For now, the deed is done. And my SECOND encounter with an isekai show. I need to update my reviews a bit better….

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           7 (Pretty typical)
Plot                  8 (A good dash of silliness)
Pacing              8 (Moves along strongly)
Effectiveness   7 (Things seem too easy)
Conclusion       7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability     9 (Helps with the overall plotting of the show and the adventures out there)

Overall            7 (I would have liked deeper conflicts)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. This is no problem.

“Sword” Play

October 8th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

This was a second season approach that I did not see coming, but it was fully welcomed, as it is something that is rarely put out there and that is what I call ‘The Other Story’. If you remember the first season of the capaciously-titled “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” (“Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka”), the second season is subtitled “Sword Oratoria” and it looks at the simultaneous events revolving around Aiz Wallenstein (that missy in the center with that sword a-pointing at your giblets) and the adventures she goes on with Familia Loki. (more…)

Saved By “Zero”

June 18th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

Although this is a magic show, it is miles away from what you are used to, even with the mediæval flavor. It is a land where man and beast live. It is a time where common folk are in fear of witches and the Beastfallen. It is a situation where the Beastfallen are in fear of others, despite their size and numbers. This is the world of the “Grimoire of Zero” (“Zero kara Hajimeru Mahō no Sho”, or “Starting the Magical Book from Zero”). (more…)

“Fantasy” Life

April 2nd, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

There is a problem when you try and convert a video game into an anime or a manga, in that the adaptations don’t always work. Yes, in a sense you have the best story board around, but you are spending a lot of your time fighting in the game and that the plotting may come off as a bit thin. Such are my concerns with “Granblue Fantasy: The Animation” in that it feels like a video game…and I wonder why. (more…)

What a “Wonderful World”

December 19th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

I knew that there was going to be a second season of this series. We had accomplished NOTHING in the main goals that we had set out for the first run, and so we have to continue the fight….as it were. So, the second season of “KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!” (“Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! ) picks up where it left off, but with a caliber of false crisis. (more…)

See You On the “Flip” Side

July 4th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

This ended up being a hot-and-cold show, as there was more going on than first revealed and, when the core aspect came through, there was a sense of betrayal. “Flip Flappers” (“Furippu Furappāzu”) is certainly a colorful and boisterous offering, but it seems to be more concerned with action rather than results, but I will explain that. (more…)

A Case of “Mono”

April 18th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

I have to assume that anything related to dealing with the spirit or yokai realm is a huge amount of hassle. I guess they are rather unpredictable and since many of them are scary/ugly/hideous (to our scale of thinking) most folks shy away from it or have zero idea as to what is really happening (like being in Washington D.C.). The story we have here, “The Morose Mononokean” (“Fukigen na Mononokean”) elaborates on this theory. (more…)

Somewhere in “Time”

April 11th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Sniff, sniff. That smell. Can’t you smell that smell? The smell is all around you. Yes, it smells like….and E/I show! Quick, lock the doors, as no one gets out of here.

One of the reasons I am not a big fan of Educational/Informational shows is that they tend to suck the life out of their efforts, so not only isn’t it all that educational and informational, it’s not even all that entertaining. “Time Travel Girl” or, if we go by the full and complete title, “Time Travel Girl: Mari, Waka, and the Eight Scientists” (“Taimu Toraberu Shōjo: Mari Waka to Hachi-nin no Kagakusha-tachi”) wants to be something more, but ends up falling short, by buying into tropes and traps of its own doing. But, on to the plot: (more…)