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Little Update

So for some reason my account completely stopped working? I had to log out and log in like 5 times in order for it to work again. So yeah! Sorry about my absence. I’ll do a little summary on Fruits Basket and my current thoughts as well reviewing BSDs once the final episode comes out. I’ve also just finished Running with the Wind so I hope to post about that soon!

Anime Reviews

Fruits Basket (2019) Episode 2 Review

Now with the main premise established, now it’s time to get to know the characters. The episode started with a bizarrely short explanation to the Zodiacs which Tohru was very quickly okay with after the initial shock. The episode itself seemed very fast paced and to-the-point. Maybe the creators knew most people watching this would have watched the original? Regardless, the pacing seems rather fast and a lot happens in the second episode to explore their characters.

You learn about Yuki, who everyone and their mother seems to love. He’s sweet and “princely” but also very cold and rough towards Kyo. Tohru seems very okay with everything going on and is just here for the ride. Kyo is the equivalent of a tsundere and really needs to work on his feelings more. Tohru’s friends are really nice to her and act as a good buffer from strictly just the Soma family. Overall, quick and easy characters with hints of more characterization foreshadowed for the future.

I think a problem I’m quickly experiencing with this new version is that Fruits Basket isn’t in my target audience anymore. I’m a (quite) a bit older than the usual shoujo audience at this point and I’m starting to notice it now. I’m still going to watch the series and enjoy seeing a conclusive ending, but I definitely notice the shoujo-esque moments being more over-the-top than 13 year old me remembers. I was wondering if any of you guys were experiencing the same thing? The nastalga’s there, definitely, but I also notice the enjoyment differences from when I was younger. The silly little things, like how Tohru has accidentally hugged them three times in one episode, flew over little me’s head.

I enjoyed watching Yuki and Tohru interact with each other a lot. Already, there’s that bonding going on and how Yuki noticing she’s different from other people. She isn’t disgusted by him or anything like that despite what he thought and was told. Kyo’s interactions are just as cute and he doesn’t know how to talk to her nicely. I also noticed how Kyo’s acting more visibly emotional compared to the older version and more flustered. It’s very cute, but also ruins his tough image a bit, especially with the art style making everything seem softer as well. Still, it’s very sweet and enjoying to watch.

Wow, sorry this review is turning out so negative but I really didn’t like the opening either? It was very soft but also kinda generic sounding. I don’t really know why, but the opening didn’t really stand out to me. I like more upbeat openings and more sombre, soft ending songs. Maybe I’m too stuck in nostalgia to like the new opening? The ending song is okay though.

Overall, the plot is progressing well and seeing Kyo being a little more openly expressive is a nice change. I hope that the next episode continues on this track, but also slows down the pacing just a little. So far, the adaptation is going well and I’m excited for the the next episode and to see any new changes.

Previous Posts:

Upcoming: Spring 2019 Anime

Spring 2019 First Impressions: Bungou Stray Dogs Season 3

Spring 2019 First Impressions: Fruits Basket (2019)

Anime Reviews

Bungou Stray Dogs Season 3 First Impressions

And so Bungou Stray Dogs is back once again! I’m so glad this series came back because I had read part of the manga, but it doesn’t have the same charm to me personally as the anime. But anyways, there will be spoilers so please keep that in mind, but for this first one, they won’t be so severe since it’s the first episode.

So far, the story is taking place in another flashback of sorts just like season two. It’s following Dazai and Chuuya who are roughly fifteen years old and how they meet and worked for the Port Mafia. Dazai was working for the Mafia first, but we’re not exactly sure how the relationship started, or why Dazai was in the room when Mori had killed their current boss. Still, it gives us a good picture that Dazai had been at the Port Mafia for a while at such a young age and was indebted to him because he had witnessed the murder. I think season two had more information and backstory about that scene, but it’s been awhile and I don’t remember much. Regardless, the moment was an important one and now Dazai is working for the Port Mafia.

Meanwhile, Chuuya is apart of a juvenile gang of sorts and is their “king of sheeps,” but he hates the title. Even now, his gift is pretty strong and he’s able to hold his own in a fight for the most part. Dazai, on the other hand, doesn’t seem that used to combat yet. After Chuuya gets captured by the Port Mafia, he’s forced to work with Dazai and their usual antics ensue. It’s nice to know that even when they were young and new to each other, they still hated each other and bickered. Kinda sweet actually; to me personally.

I have read the manga but again, it’s been a few years and I don’t remember much. I’m guessing that the plot of the anime is the same as the manga? But so far, I really like the Dark Era episodes, but especially this first one. I love Chuuya’s character and I’m always eager to know more about him. Overall, Stray Dogs has a good plot, pacing and story-telling but has had dips in quality over the past three seasons. Still a really good series, just have to stay around for those few boring bits.

I’m glad to see that the tone of the show is the same as previous seasons. The art style didn’t change and the sound choices sound (heh) about the same as before. The ending song was really good too! A great rock song, but also pretty catchy with an almost poppy edge to it. I can’t wait to hear the opening.

I’m wondering how long the Dark Era episodes are going to last. I like them a lot and it seems like Chuuya and Dazai have a mystery to solve so it might take a few episodes. I’m curious to see what the current gang is up to, but I’m almost starting to love the Dark Era timeline more than the current one. Hopefully season three can add some new flare to the current timeline because I really want to love that major part as well. The movie to me was really interesting and I hope that the third season can keep up with that pace.

Also is anyone else interested in suddenly reading literature because of this series? I love how the characters are named and characterized by famous writers and I really want to read more about them. Dazai’s book No Longer Human is particularly interesting to me and the summary itself reflects on his character so well. I’ve recently read Hawthorne’s and Mark Twain’s books so it’s interesting to see how they portrayed their characters.

But yeah, I’m interested to see where the story goes. This, along with Fruits Basket, will be updated weekly but next week’s update will come out late. I’ll be on the other side of the country and pretty busy, but I’ll have a scheduled post or two planned for next week.

Anime Reviews

Spring 2019 First Impressions: Fruits Basket

To start off the spring season is Fruits Basket (2019)! Sorry this is coming a little late, I’ve been really busy this week. Plus, I have a trip planned next week so I have to prepare for that too. But anyways, the reboot of Fruits Basket has finally come! My memory of the original is pretty vague, but I’ll try to recall what I can!

So far, the introduction seems a lot more detailed than the first episode of the original. I don’t recall the story that her mother told her and other little details like that. I also feel like her mother was shown a lot more besides just a picture and I really like that addition. Speaking of which, the designs so far are really nice! They’re taking a bit to get used to, but I’m glad the art style isn’t over-the-top smooth and HD like the promotional pictures. That’s a little too airbrushed and bright in my opinion. But the art style for the show itself it really stunning and sticks pretty well to the original style.

The story so far is pretty linear, besides a few extra details, and I hope they keep it that way. I have not read the manga, but I would love to know if it’s closer to the original anime introduction or this one.

Also I love the visual effects they added like with Yuki with his glowing eyes and the rats behind him. Really creepy honestly and it contrasts so interestingly with the main light-hearted tone of the show. It’s a silly show, but the first episode has already introduced some dark moments like the car accident with Tohru’s mother. I’m glad they have those darker-toned moments to balance everything out.

For a first episode, everything is looking good. The tone of the show is the same as the original and it seems like the plot and other details are being added as well. I hope it continues to go on the right track and hopefully get a conclusive ending similar to the manga’s. I hope that even people who haven’t heard of the original Fruits Basket will give this a try, because it’s going to be a wild ride from now until the end.

Anime Reviews

Yakusoku no Neverland Full Review

  • Aired: Winter 2019
  • Episodes: 12 (sequel in the works)
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Thriller, Shounen
  • Studios: CloverWorks
  • Source: Manga

Yakusoku no Neverland, otherwise known as The Promised Neverland, has quickly become one of my favorite anime. It’s fairly unique, has an amazing soundtrack and has a cult-following from the manga to back it up. I originally wanted to read the manga after glancing at the cover one day, but before I knew it, the anime version of it was announced! By the first episode, I was already in love and intrigued for the future of the series. If you have never heard of the Promised Neverland, please do not read this review! There’s major spoilers and the series is known for its plot twists so please keep that in mind. Watch the first 12 episodes, or read the manga instead.

Does Emma’s scream give anyone goose bumps in this? Just wow

Story: 9/10

The story and the set up for the plot are absolutely amazing. The Promised Neverland manages to make you think one thing and then completely turn that thought right around. I would question how they get out of multiple situations, and somehow they always had a plan in mind and escape whatever was happening. I love the major tone shift at the beginning, showing what life was like before Emma and Norman knew about the truth. The plot is really unique and currently something I’m excited to know more about and what it’s like outside Plant Three. We’ve seen a little peek of the outside in the last episode, but otherwise a lot of it is a mystery. The story manages to add in little background pieces about characters without it being overwhelming and gives a little more context to their universe. We see how Sister Krone and later Isabella herself had been children on the farm and threatened to become mothers. The plot twist with Isabella being Ray’s actual mother has to be my favorite throughout the show. I’m curious to know more about the mothers and what training and life was like for years.

Anyways, I’m rambling. Overall, I have to give the story a 9 out of 10. It’s so good and interesting and keeps you on your feet. I can’t wait for the second season, which I heard is to be airing sometime next year. Might even read the manga in the meantime.

Characters: 10/10

My favorite part of TPN must be the characters. The story is amazing, but the characters and their characterizations just add a little something more to everything. I love how much Emma, Norman and Ray contrast in character but also balance each other out. Norman and Ray have a good background (especially Ray with that last episode) but I hope to learn more about Emma. She’s smart and clever like the others, but also is willing to sacrifice herself for the people around her. I wonder why she’s just so devoted to everyone and how she can keep up her spirits when everyone is constantly in danger. Don and Gilda weren’t characters I really liked at first, but learned to grow fond of. Don was very upset and reckless about the situation, which is understandable, and I really hoped that he wouldn’t screw up the plan for the others. Over time, him and Gilda grew to be more dependable as well as the other kids too. I’m really glad that most kids were about to escape in the end and show that they were actually helping behind the scenes. I hope to learn more about the side characters as they continue the escape as well.

Phil was an interesting character as well and now, he has such a big responsibility on his shoulders. He’s going to be the only one who knows the truth about the orphanage besides the escaped kids. I knew he would have a big role in the story as he constantly showed up at random times and seemed to understand what was happening. I can’t wait to know more about him and the future of the orphanage. I wonder if Isabella is going to live, because I figured if she had let that many kids escape, especially two high quality ones, that she would be killed. I hope not, just for the fact that I want to know more about her life on the farm and her thoughts of being Ray’s mother. I’m also curious on why Ray did not tell the others he knew that Isabella was his mother. There’s a bunch of other characters I could talk about, but for now these seem to be the most important characters.

Sound/Art: 9/10

Like the rest of the anime, both the art style and sound direction are amazing. The character designs are unique but aren’t too over the top and the backgrounds looks so nice. The animation is very unique i.e: having the camera follow a clock as it swings back in forth and angles making it look like it’s in first person. Some have said that the expressions are over the top and exaggerated, and I do agree with that. Yet, the exaggerated faces add so much to the tenseness of the situation and looks a little artsy in a way. Cloverworks did the animation and they have also done shows like Darling in the Franxx, Rascal Doesn’t Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, and some video game adaptations. They’re a newer studio but their style and animation is quickly becoming a favorite for me. I love how Norman’s and Ray’s character designs contrast as well, mostly with the hair, and being two sides of the spectre,while Emma’s more unique and vibrant, just like her personality.

The music is amazing as well. The opening, Touch Off by Uverworld, is so good and Uverworld is such a great band. They’ve worked with other anime openings and ending like with My Hero Academia, Bleach, Blue Exorcist and more. If you have the time, check them out because they have some amazing rock songs. I’ll admit I’m a bit biased for the opening song, but the ending is just as good. I love the very chaotic vibe the fast sound of the piano comes off as before moving to a slower melody. The OST is beautiful and haunting at the same time, and just seems to give off the perfect vibe. I’ll link a few of my favorite OST songs below, as well as the opening and ending in case you want to listen to them again!

Enjoyment: 10/10

This has to be one of my favorite anime and for good reasons. The beautiful art, unique animation, intense storyline and complex characters really does fully round out this show. No wonder it is rated so highly. I personally couldn’t wait for the next episode to come out each week, but sometimes I hesitated to watch. I was so invested, I didn’t want to watch the next episode knowing that I would have to wait a week for the next! Seriously, I loved this series a lot and can’t wait for season two next year!

Scores:

  • My Anime List: 8.71/10
  • My Score: 5/5

Links To Songs:

Seasonal Lineup

Upcoming: Spring 2019 Anime

Anime Mentioned: Fruits Basket, Bungou Stray Dogs, Attack on Titan Season 3 part 2, Nande Koko ni Sensei ga!?, Carole & Tuesday, Diamond no Ace: Act II

Fruits Basket (2019)

A remake of an old best selling shoujo anime from 2001, the story supposedly follows the same story as the original, but with a more conclusive ending and most likely more episodes. It follows the story of Tooru Honda, who after the death of her mother, has no choice but to live in a tent on her own. Luckily, the Souma family discovers her and decides to take her in for the time being, which then starts Tooru new life with the wacky situations of the Chinese Zodiac.

Fruits Basket was one of the first anime I watched. I remember looking for anime, quote, “for twelve year old girls” and this one came up a lot! I enjoyed it, but was frustrated that it was advertised as a romance anime, but by the time the anime ended, there wasn’t any romantic elements at all. Thankfully, this remake will give it’s more conclusive ending and hopefully dive in more of Tooru relationship with the other characters. Crossing my fingers that TMS Entertainment will do a good job adapting properly.

Bungou Stray Dogs (Season 3)

Not much is known about the third season of BSD, besides that it is planned to be aired on April 12th and follows after the second season. The series currently has quite a bit of content: three seasons, a movie, and an OVA to top it off. Bungou Stray Dogs follows the story of Atsushi Nakajima, a young male who gets whisked into a bizarre situation and has to deal with living his new life with supernatural investigators. He a little meek and jumpy, but has to learn how to use his ability and try and become a good investigator.

Also, something I really love about this anime is it’s name. Bungou translates to Literature/Literacy in Japanese, and at first I was really confused on why they added that in the title. But then I realized the names of the characters are names of famous literary people from different countries; writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Mark Twain to name a few. I haven’t watched this anime in a while, but I hope to get back into it again once the third season starts.

One Punch Man (Season 2)

Coming out a few years after it’s first season, One Punch Man 2 fans seems to already have some major concerns about the new season. The original One Punch Man came out in late 2015, so some time has passed. If you haven’t heard of it, the title is all you need to know: a man who always wins fights with one punch. Kinda sounds OP and boring, but the show was a hit and did very well in both America and Japan.

Unfortunately, a lot of time has passed and the original producer, the popular studio Madhouse, has given rights to J.C Staff for the second season. Already, fans were upset with this and hoped that J.C Staff does the series justice. I’ve read complains about the new art style and seemingly shitty animation. Personally, I think time will tell if the art and animation is really that bad or if the trailer was just not up to standards. I won’t be watching this series personally, it’s not my cup of tea anime-wise, but I know it’s well-beloved and popular, so I’ll try and keep up to date on the new season and everyone’s reactions.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Attack on Titan Season 3 part 2- still holding on strong, but AoT season 3 is soon coming to an end.
  • Nande Koko ni Sensei ga!?- probably going to be either a trashy ecchi or a somewhat decent guilt pleasure, we’ll see.
  • Carole & Tuesday- looks really interesting, and it’s by Bones so it’ll probably be really good. Been hearing about this one.
  • Diamond no Ace: Act II- for all the baseball lovers out, there’s this sequel to indulge in.

Overall

Honestly not to much going on. I’m interested in Stray Dogs and Fruits Basket, but otherwise there’s no new shows I’m interested in. If a show gets good hype and a good start, maybe I’ll consider watching it. For now though, I’ll enjoy these two shows and keep an eye out for others.

Seasonal Lineup · Top Lists

Anime I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

…Or, you know, when ever they decide to come out.

Cells at Work (Season 2)

Haikyuu!! (Season 4)

My Hero Academia (Season 4)

Bungou Stray Dogs Season 3

Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden

Alice in Deadly School

Beastars

To The Moon

Ten Count

Fruits Basket (2019)

Yuri!!! on Ice The Movie: Ice Adolescence

Links to Summarys:

Anime Reviews

Another Review (Spoiler-Free!)

  • Aired: Winter 2012
  • Episodes: 12 (plus an OVA and Special)
  • Genres: Mystery, Horror, Supernatural, Thriller, School
  • Studio: P.A Works
  • Source: Light Novel

Another anime review, this time about Another! This horror anime is one I haven’t watched in a long time, so I’ll be a little more lenient with this review. Another is about a boy named Kouichi Sakakibara, who transfers into class 3-3. Right away, he notices something is obviously wrong with not just his class, but the entire town in general. Kouichi notices everyone’s strange aversion to Mei Misaki, another member of class 3-3, to the point where they are completely clueless of her existence. Despite everything, he wants answers and will even look to Mei to find them, even if everyone tells him not to. From there starts a weird relationship between Mei and Kouichi, and how a legend and possible curse is connected to them and the class 3-3. Along the way, of course, is a lot of horror, blood, mystery and a bizarre sense of fear and anticipation to keep you watching. Or will it?

Story: 6/10

The story is surrounded in death and a sense of confusion throughout most of the first episodes. Like the main character, the watchers also don’t know what is going on and keeps getting little bits and pieces of hints to fit the puzzle that is class 3-3. Although obviously a serious topic, death and life is thrown to the wind and honestly sometimes it’s comical how much death is involved. The way situations play out is played out is disturbing and unsettling, but sometimes would make me roll my eyes, especially towards the end of the series. The story itself was so confusing at the beginning that I almost wanted to drop it. I couldn’t tell what was reality and if something was real, or some sort of flashback or dream or something not real. I didn’t understand if somethings should have been taken literally or metaphorically, which just lead to a lot of confusion. The more and more episodes went by, the more I started to understand the pattern and what was going on.

The topic itself- a horrorshow with a curse involving a frightened class and a gloomy town was a interesting set up. I like how they involved the history as well- as in 1975, a student was mysteriously killed, which started a chain reaction to the point where it affects the main character today. I appreciate the detail of history and the whole mystery has me intrigued, if not confused at times. Also, I feel the death theme is thrown out there for mostly shock value, and the whole mystery aspect isn’t even beginning to get solved until episode 10. There’s definitely flaws in the story and honestly doesn’t live up to what I expected.

Characters: 6/10

Overall, the characters were mostly generic and didn’t have a lot of time to develope or even change in the slightest, which is understandable considering the series is more of a murder mystery than a slice of life. The main character isn’t someone I remember vividly, but I think was pretty generic as well. He was busy focusing on finding things out to really be developed. The only character that really gets a lot of developing and time to learn about is Mei. I think she was an interesting character and her design was interesting- y’know, with the eyepatch and everything. There’s another OVA about her which I never watched oops and that goes into her development further. I’d recommend you watch that after the 12 main episodes though, in case of spoilers. There’s side characters too, and a lot of them, but most of them didn’t stand out to me. I wish they were more developed, but also I don’t that would have even saved this show.

Sound/ Art : 7/10

The music is interesting to say the least. It fits the theme well and is very unsettling but also pretty bizarre and weird. The opening music is pretty good, and should definitely be given a listen once or twice, even if your the type to skip an opening. The visuals of the OP is simple and pretty okay, nothing very groundbreaking. Although, I did find the visuals in Mei’s eye during the opening to be really cool looking. Also, I feel like the tone- sound and visuals- makes the anime feel much older? Before I researched the airing date, I had thought it was from 2009 or 2010. The art and sound is bad per se, just a little dated even for it’s time. I think the dark tones in the art also makes it look a lot older as usually the newer an anime is, the more bright, crispy and HD it looks. So i’ll give it a little break in that department. The ending song is honestly very pretty sounding, and I’m surprised they choose such a sombre, soft song to use. It does fit the mood of mourning, and kind of the gloominess of the whole show between intense scenes. The OST fits that unsettling bill well. It’s quite creepy and honestly I think it would a cool thing to play and listen to on Halloween. Definitely has those Halloween vibes.

The art was pretty okay as well. It’s nothing groundbreaking, and looks pretty similar to 2012-ish anime in terms of character designs and tones. It’s darker toned, which fits the theme and genre real well. Some character designs look pretty generic- brown hair and brown eyes and a simple face. Mei has an interesting design- eyepatch, bob-length black hair and red eyes- and so does a few of the side characters. Overall, pretty okay character designs. The backgrounds are nice as well, but once again, nothing to write home about. Average, average, average. Average sound, average art.

Enjoyment: 7/10

Although it wasn’t my favorite, I did stay and watch until the end. It succeeded in the fact that I wanted to take a break and stop watching, but I also wanted to know what happened in the end. Again, I don’t really remember well, but I think I watched it pretty quickly. Now what really sucked my enjoyment of this anime was the ending. I’m not going to spoil it, don’t worry! Just saying, I didn’t not understand the ending. I had to look up what the hell it meant because I didn’t understand even after the last episode ended. Granted, I was also 12/13 when I watched this. Yeah… it’s been a while. Still, I’ve heard from others that they did not like the ending or had some sort of problem with it. Honestly, the middle part of Another is my favorite and that’s why I gave it a seven.

Should I Watch This?

If your a horror fanatic, or maybe some kind of completionist, give it a try. It’s definitely not my favorite, which you could probably tell my negativity towards it, but maybe it’s more your speed? Even after all these years, I haven’t gotten the urge to rewatch this, and honestly probably never will, at least for a very long time. I know that there’s some people who really enjoy this show and it’s horror, but also a lot of people who hate it for that reason. Give the first episodes a watch, but be aware it’s very confusing at the beginning!

Scores:

  • MyAnimeList’s Score: 7.72
  • My score: 3.7/5
Top Lists

My Top 8 Favorite Studios

Madhouse

Founded in October 1972, it has over 360 entries on MAL and roughly 180 main series and movies. Madhouse reminds me a lot like Bones: both one of the most popular and varied studios. They mix a lot of genres in the studio such as popular shounen and seinen shows: Death Note, Hunter X Hunter, One Punch Man and some fairly well known shoujos and joseis: CardCaptor Sakura, Nana. Madhouse has come out with some amazing movies such as Summer Wars and Wolf Children as well. They are one of those companies that managed to keep pumping out a lot of anime, while still keeping them varied in themes and genres, for years and years without much burnout. In the last two years, Madhouse is producing a lot of sequels and remakes, and only a few new anime. One of them is A Place Further Than The Universe, a newly adapted anime which did really well. I’m looking forward to watching it myself in the future.

Bones

Another popular studio, it was founded in October 1998 and known for dozens of their very popular shows such as My Hero Academia, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brother and Soul Eater just to name a few. It’s a somewhat newer studio compared to Madhouse, but has just as many successful series. It doesn’t have many original movies, but the TV anime series we’ll keep you busy enough with how many good shows there are. They also have more shoujo and josei-esque options like Ouran Highschool Host Club, Snow White with the Red Hair, and Gosick. They also have popular shows such as Noragami, Mob Psycho 100 and Literature Stray Dogs. Overall, a popular studio with popular anime and one of my favorites.

MAPPA

A newer company, it started in 2011! They currently have 45 entries on MAL and known for anime such as Zankyou no Terror, Banana Fish, Yuri on Ice, and Kakegurui. They’re also creating a new anime or two each season, which is includes Zombieland Saga and Dororo from the last few seasons. The company has made a few movies, including Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni, and have more planned for the future. MAPPA is pretty new, but I have high hopes to see where they’ll end up and adapt. I also appreciate the fact they are releasing BLs, and maybe they’ll even do a yuri in the future, who knows? Amazing work.

Kyoto Animation Studio

Kyoto Animation started in 1981 and is also a light novel publisher. It’s known for its older series such as Clannad, Air, Inuyasha, Lucky Star and Kanoon. They stick to a particular artstyle, both in their older work and newer work as well. It’s easy to tell if an anime is made by Kyoto by it’s style. Some of their newer works include Free!, K-On!, Violet Evergarden and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon. Although not all their works are my favorite, I can appreciate their design choices and storylines. They also produced the popular movie A Silent Voice, which did extremely well both in Japan and America.

A-1 Pictures

Another semi-new studio is A-1 Pictures, which was founded in 2005 and regularly started to produce a good amount of anime by 2009. It’s known for its popular shounen shows such as Blue Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail and so on. Some of my personal favorites from A-1 includes Black Butler, Life is Hard for an Otaku and a beautiful movie called Doukyuusei. They have a pretty good variety so whether you’re looking for some cute moe, fantasy adventure or a drama that’ll make you cry, A-1 probably has at least one for you.

J.C Staff

Founded in 1986, J.C Staff is known for its popular series such as Toradora, Food Wars, Little Busters and Kaichou wa Maid-sama!. They have a variety of genres, even including a few shounen ai- Loveless and Love Stage- as well as shoujo ai like Aoi Hana. J.C Staff has over 350 entries on MAL, a handful of movies as well as some video games under the studio’s belt. They are big company like Bones and Madhouse, and have a ton of different shows to choose from. My own favorites include Toradora, Maid-sama!, Angels of Death and Love Stage.

CloverWorks

Along with A-1 Pictures, i’d like to mention Cloverworks, which was rebranded them and established their own company. They were founded as recently as October 2018 and already, they have several big hits such as The Promised Neverland, Rascal Doesn’t Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai and Darling in the Franxx just to name a few. They have also worked on Persona 5 and helped with the final season of Fairy Tail. The company is very new and has limited options so far, but I have high hopes for CloverWorks and I’m excited to see what they have in store.

Studio Deen

Studio Deen was established in 1975 and makes it one of the oldest studios on this list. They have a few popular, somewhat mainstream shows, but for the most part they have a lot of variety and more niche shows. In the past, they have made anime such as When They Cry, Fruits Basket, Konosuba, Vampire Knight and Sakura Trick. Although they don’t have as many big hits like Bones and Madhouse, they still have great variety of genres and have been around for a while, so they mostly know what they’re doing. Studio Deen also has a lot of shounen ai anime such as Gravitation, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, Junjou Romantica, Super Lovers and shoujo ai like Sakura Trick. I didn’t even know how much I loved the studio until I saw how many animes I’ve completed by Studio Deen.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Production I.G (Haikyuu, Psycho Pass, Attack on Titan, Usagi Drop)
  • P.A Works (Angel Beats, Charlotte, Another, Sakura Quest)
  • Brains Base/ Shuka (Durarara, My Little Monster, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Servamp)
  • Studio Ghibli (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke)
Anime Reviews

Ouran Highschool Host Club (Spoiler-free Review)

Ouran Host Club
  • Aired: Spring 2006
  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Comedy, Harem, Romance, School, Shoujo
  • Studio: Bones
  • Source: Manga

Ah yes, going back in time with this review. This is a beloved shoujo anime that naturally stood out and continued to stand out for over a decade. I have personally watched this over and over again; it’s just one of those shows that you can rewatch so many times. It’s old, yes, but could be considered a gem with how many people loved it then and now. The outcry for a second season was particularly strong with this one but you’ll see why if you watch it!

Story: 8/10

The story follows Haruhi Fujioka, a smart student who’s attending an expensive, rich kids school on a scholarship. She naturally looks masculine and wears more masculine clothes, which accidently tricks other students into thinking she’s a guy. When she accidentally stumbles into the Host Club- where handsome boys with too much time on their hands entertain girls- they also think she’s a guy. After accidentally knocking over a very expensive vase, she’s forced to work at the Host Club as a male host. Luckily, she works well with other females and she’s off on her way to repaying her debt! The rest of the story follows Haruhi’s antics with the other Host Club members and how she realizes how whacky the academy and it’s students really is.

The story is pretty straight forward, not a lot of plot twists and curveballs here. The story follows it’s premise well and focuses a lot on character development and the everyday lives of the Host Club. Each episode is something new, but manages to still tie the whole story together. I will say that the ending isn’t complete (no spoilers guys in the comments!) but the manga is finished and has a conclusive ending. So if you want more content, try giving the manga a read!

Characters: 8/10

This is another one of those anime where the characters make the story shine. Haruhi comes from a different background than the rest of the Host Club members and that becomes a sort of running gag and common theme. She’s not used to being in a rich school with rich kids and their eccentric personalities. Haruhi acts as a strong heroine, not particularly caring that people call her a boy and is willing to stand up for herself and the others around her. The other Host Club members start with a basic portrayed personality- which is important to how they entertain their guests by having their own distinct “type.” But from there, each one expands their personality and backgrounds as the anime continues. You learn that their personalities aren’t just surface-level deep and have their own sets of problems and common fears like everyone else.

I don’t find the side characters particularly interesting, and kinda think they waste episode time, but they do give a sort of variety and do widen the cast of characters a bit more. Their parts aren’t that big, but add to the experience of making the academy feel more real and alive. Doesn’t like ruin the show or anything, but they weren’t characters I can’t that much about.

Sound: 7/10

The opening is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Ouran’s music. Even if you haven’t watched Ouran, you might have heard the opening. It’s pretty iconic. I loved it a lot when I first watched it years ago. The OST is very beautiful, especially when listening to it on its own; I’ll link a few of my favorite OST songs below. It’s very distant, and the orchestra fits that prim and proper aesthetic and tone really well. The ending is quite different from the mood of the rest of the music. It’s a bit of a rock song, with an obvious guitar and drums in the background and sweet lyrics. I like how much it contrast with the rest of the music. Makes it unique and more memorable.

Art: 7/10

The art style is admittedly a little outdated, but has that classic, old anime art style with the giant eyes and simple designs. The art is actually pretty vivid, and the purple uniforms really stand out against the rest of the art. Nobody has crazy hair designs and colors, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference. I tend to hesitant towards older anime, a lot which has to do with art styles, but the art and character designs of this one in particular aren’t too bad. May take some time to get used to, but not that old and sore on the eyes.

Enjoyment: 9/10

I will admit, the first time I watched Ouran I didn’t really like it. It was one of the first anime I’ve ever watched and didn’t get the chance to appreciate it as much as I should have. If 12 year old me was writing this review, I would have said my enjoyment was a 4 out of 10. Since then, I’ve rewatched it a few times and even finished the story in the manga, so I can safely say a 9 out of 10 fits much better. The comedy stands out and it usually really funny while the story progresses nicely. The anime itself is silly, but has some more serious moments which surprised me at the time. There’s even hints of darker themes and lightly the idea of gender expression. Overall, very enjoyable and funny, with good lessons to be learned in between!

Should I Watch It?

Yes. If you have even the slightest bit of interest and you haven’t watch it yet, watch it. At least give it the first few episodes to set things up, but I bet you it’ll be worth your time. I figure most people have already watched this, but there might be some younger/newer anime watchers who never have. Give it a shot and you might have found a new favorite shoujo anime! Also, if you like this, give some of Studio Bones other works a try. They have one of the best variety of popular and quality anime. Honestly, they’re one of my favorite studios.

Scores:

My Anime List- 8.32 / 10

My score: 4.3 / 5

Links:

Current Reviews

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for an Otaku Review (spoiler-free!)

(Screenshot from the OP)
  • Aired: Spring 2018
  • Episodes: 11
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
  • Studio: A-1 Pictures
  • Source: Webmanga

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for a Otaku tells the story of a fujoshi otaku and a gamer otaku and their daily lives as a couple. I’d especially recommend this anime to people who love lighthearted romance and comedy with slice-of-life pacing. Their story is sweet and refreshingly. Along the way, you learn of other character’s relationships which are just as funny and sweet as the main couple. It’s a good fit for anyone wanting a “feel good” anime after a hard day of work, especially if you work in an office like these two!

Story: 6.5/10

I’d give the story a six point five out of ten. The premise is fairly unique and adds the flare of an office setting to add something new and interesting. The main set up with Narumi knowing Hirotaka since childhood isn’t anything new, but isn’t something very exaggerated and cliche. Having the side couple introduced balances the main couple out and provides a sort of variety. The other characters do that as well, and shows a different perspective on occasions which I enjoy.

Besides the main set up in the beginning, there’s very little development. The characters are complex, definitely, and we learn more about them as time goes on, but their relationships themselves don’t change much. I think the story definitely would have benefited from either a slightly faster pace or a second season. The story doesn’t go anywhere really, yet it’s still interesting as it focuses on character development and comedy more than fast-paced romance. By the end, you’ll definitely be craving more and maybe willing to look into the manga to see where their relationships go.

Characters: 9/10

I think the characters are really what makes Wotaku shine. They are relatable, quirky and unique as they slowly change over time. Narumi’s fujoshi tendencies and love of anime/manga is something I know people can really relate to and find themselves feeling the same about. Hirotaka being a gaming otaku is even more common and adds to the story a lot. The side couples add their own spin to things and they all get their own spotlight as the cast of characters is really small. The story focuses a lot of their antics, including side characters, and gradually learning little bits of their histories along the way. It also relies on every day activities and realism to tell their story.

My favorite character would have to be Hirotaka, as I love the sorta stoic, quiet boys who aren’t exaggerated to being sexy or hot. I feel like the anime itself does a good job of making the characters seem like average, normal people without seeming boring. He’s sweet; his small gestures towards Narumi seem so much bigger when he’s the one whose doing them!

Sound: 7/10

The music was average, nothing amazing but nothing bad either. The OP is cute and catchy, but I really didn’t feel anything special from it. The animations during the opening though were cool and the visuals were interesting with their body language and kinda dances? I liked watching the opening if not for the visuals alone. The ending is cute and catchy too if your into poppy music; which if your watching this show, you’re probably into.

Art: 7/10

The art style is vibrant and simple, which fits the anime perfectly. Each character has their own distinct hair color and style, which I particularly like. Sometimes character designs look too similar and can be hard to tell apart, but it isn’t a problem here. They all look very distinct from one another and fits their personalities well. The backgrounds and animations look nice and doesn’t looked rushed or sloppy. Overall, pretty good in the art department.

Enjoyment: 9/10

Combining everything- the art, music, characters and story- it creates this adorable anime which is hard to not find enjoyable. It’s so lighthearted and sweet to the point where it doesn’t matter that their relationship is slow paced. The tone is so youthful that sometimes you forget they’re people in their twenties working an office job. They act almost childish and the story puts them in silly situations, but that makes the story that much more enjoyable. It’s hard to stop once you watch one episode, wanting to know more.

Should I Watch It?

If your a lover of shoujo romances, romcoms, and/or consider yourself an otaku, I’d say give it a watch. It’s very lighthearted and silly, and will surely help you unwind after work and school. The pace is slow as per usual like most shoujo-esque romances, but once you’re aware of that, they’re not any reason why you shouldn’t watch it! Unless you don’t like anime/manga. But if that was true, I don’t know why you’d be here!

Current Reviews

Loveless: Review

There are spoilers so please keep that in mind before reading! If you don’t want to be spoiled but want to know more visit My Anime List and also read the Should I Watch? Part of this review!

  • Aired: Spring 2005
  • Episodes: 12
  • Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Josei, Shounen Ai
  • Studio: J.C. Staff

Loveless holds a special place in heart, regardless of how niche and old it may be. It was one of the firsts that got me into anime when I was in middle school and yeah well, I had really bizarre tastes for a 7th grader. But anyways, since then I have rewatched this show over and over again over the past several years, and it never seems to bore me. It’s an action, supernatural drama, romance, fantasy, josei shounen ai all jumbled up in one. Now having all these things was a major downfall for the anime in the end- it had a lot going on without answers- yet it also kept me intrigued throughout the whole thing. Let me explain a little more:

Story- 7.5/10

Let me quote you part of the synopsis from MAL, “in the world of Loveless, each person is born with cat ears and a tail, which disappear only if that person engages in a sexual intercourse. Because of this, they have come to symbolize virginity and innocence. Additionally, fighting is only done by “fighting pairs” or couples, where one is known as the Sacrifice and the other as the Fighter. The first receives the damage while the latter attacks.” Those two topics interest me (I guess?), but I could never imagine them together and actually working. For the most part, Loveless did a good job of blending them together, even if the cat ears trope wasn’t that important overall to the story.

But there’s even more to the anime than just that. A lot more. The story revolves around Ritsuka Aoyagi, a 12-year-old boy whose already experienced a hard life. His brother had recently died, he lived with his horrible mother and for some reason he has amnesia. And then when he goes to school for the first time since he lost his memories, a man named Agatsuma Soubi runs into him, claiming to have known his brother. From their, the two grow closer and try to discover why his brother died all while dealing with being a new “fighting pair.”

So yes, there’s a lot going on here. And most of these questions don’t get answered, needing to rely on the manga to fill in the gaps and finish the story. The premise is simple, but adding the fighting pairs adds a bit of something to the show, making it stand out compared to your average shouene-ai. But the execution was poor, leaving a lot of unanswered questions yet a curiosity to know more at the same time. The idea of a fighting pair and how they incorporate this fantasy touch was truly something interesting. From what the story did tell, it was this unique idea that needed the characters to rely on each other and build a bond. Ritsuka had to true this stranger- who many had viewed as “dirty” as he didn’t have any cat ears- to know more about his brother and essentially risking his life.

Characters- 8/10

The characters particularly stood out to me. Ritsuka Aoyagi is a strong character, wanting his way stubbornly and being cold towards the others around him. He devoted to his brother, wanting to know anything he can about him and hoping that he could fix Ritsuka’s life, even if he was dead. He’s smart for a 12 year old, yet sometimes his youth shows through in his actions and how petty he can occasionally be. Even throughout the eventful 12 episodes, he manages to show change and learning to accept himself and his current amnesia.

Agatsuma Soubi’s character is especially interesting. Like Ritsuka, he has his own history and troubles in the past, making him the way he is. He hides behind a mask, hiding himself as well as his many secrets he has about himself, Ritsuka and the situation their in. Still, Soubi will do anything Ritsuka wishes, even if it puts himself in serious, life-threatening danger. The way their dynamic works is seriously something complicated and intense, yet beautiful at the same time.

Sound- 8/10

The opening to Loveless is one of my favorites and one I have listened to for years. Although the visuals are dated, they still look beautiful and sound beautiful. The ending song is absolutely amazing, and if your a fan of soft, piano music, I’d recommend giving it a listen again! The lyrics in both are quite meaningful and fit the story well. The OST, again sounds dated, but was probably pretty good for it’s time. The variety of pieces is good, and most often fits the scene well so I would say the OST is about average. Also some of the songs was actually in French which is really cool!

Art- 6/10

The art is average at best and (for the umpteenth time) dated. If the quality of the anime wasn’t at 360p or 420p, then it would definitely look much better as the blurriness really adds to the old factor. Otherwise, the character designs are fairly simple yet fits their roles respectively. The cat ears really add to Ritsuka’s innocent look, and Soubi’s design gives him that mature edge. Other characters like the Zeros and Soubi’s college friend had nice, detailed designs as well. The animation looks good for a 2005 anime.

Enjoyment- 9/10

Overall, my enjoyment of the show was pretty high. Something clicked in me when I first watched this anime and wanted to know more. I read the manga up until the newest chapter and I can begrudgingly admit that I never actually read farther than that. Although I rewatch this anime a lot, it’s a lot more for nostalgia and reminiscing rather than over analyzing or finding a new zealous for reading the conclusion. I enjoy this bl for what it is, and appreciate it for it’s work during the time it aired.

Should I Watch It?

For most average, shounen-loving anime fans, I’d say no. If you’re either a boy’s love fan, a completionist or a lover of old anime, I’d say give it a shot. It’s niche and a lot at once, but tells a unique story that you won’t probably see very often. Watch the first episode or two so you can dip your toes in, and see what you think from there. Who knows? You could love it enough to want to know more, or inspire you to read the manga! If this intrigued you enough, give it a shot.

Controversy?

Also keep in mind that if you do watch this, their is a relationship between a 12 year old boy and a 23 year old man. If this is something that sounds absolutely disgusting to you, don’t even give this a chance. There’s isn’t anything sexual, but can be enough to turn a lot of people off. It’s up to you to decide if you still want to watch it. Even if your against the age gap of these characters, still consider giving it a shot as theirs more than just their relationship going on in this anime.

Scores:

MyAnimeList: 7.08/ 10

Personal Score: 4.3/5

Ristuka in class