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review

House of the Lost on the Cape

Although it would be too much to declare the film a "disappointment," it does feel as if this story would have been better suited as a television series The House of the Lost on the Cape (or Misaki no Mayoiga in Japanese) shares a similarity in title to The Lost Village (Mayoiga), a somewhat infamous TV anime from 2016 that was distinctive for its hokey portrayal of psychological horror. The House ...
review

Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon GN 2

While this is a positive from the point of view of representation, it also raises a different question: is there a conflation of homosexuality and asexuality in manga about queer characters? If so, it's not terribly helpful. ― It is interesting, to me anyway, to note that I have now encountered three separate yuri titles where one or both of the protagonists exhibit signs of being on the asexual/demi...
review

I Will Cook with My Fluffy Friends Novel 2

It's hard to argue with an isekai heroine whose grand plans include “baking lots of strawberry pastry” and “building a dog park.” ― It's hard to argue with an isekai heroine whose grand plans include “baking lots of strawberry pastry” and “building a dog park.” I Will Cook with My Fluffy Friends' second volume definitely treads closer to iyashikei territory than the first, mixing that with Laeticia's...
review

Captivated, by You GN

It's an odd book to be sure, but sometimes we all need reminding that life can be weird – whether we make it that way deliberately or not. ― Captivated, by You – not to be confused with the manhwa Totally Captivated or the contemporary romance novel by Sylvia Day, which has the same title sans comma – is an odd book. That may be entirely deliberate on the part of creator Yama Wayama, who originally p...
review

MAO GN 1

Takahashi's latest seems to borrow elements from her previous popular works, but does it add anything new to her tried and true recipe? ― MAO is the latest series from manga great Rumiko Takahashi. At first glance it has elements of both of her most recent titles and a few others as a bonus: Mao himself is an exorcist (similarly to Rinne) and he's involved with yokai à la Inu Yasha, with whom he may ...
review

Gridman - The Hyper Agent

This set should have been a landmark release, but while the visual and audio presentation are top-notch, we unfortunately now must address the elephant in the room: The subtitles. ― Previously codified as a cult-classic curiosity, the last few years have been kind to the notoriety of Gridman The Hyper Agent. The international accessibility of its Ultra-Series forbears has increased, and the show itse...
review

Otherside Picnic GN 1

Otherside Picnic creates a creepy world that gives a sense of vast, unexplored space and dangers lurking just below your line of sight. ― Iori Miyazawa's yuri (or yuri-flavored, in the case of early volumes) science fiction/horror series Otherside Picnic began life as a light novel series before being adapted into both anime and manga formats, with the former preceding the latter in date. While all t...
review

Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars

Love Woven in the Stars opens with a quick action scene that shines with a polish the TV series never achieved, and I have to imagine that it's there to show viewers how far the studio has come. ― Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars arrives a good several meters away from the heels of the anime adaptation's second season, which finished airing over six years ago. That's nearly as long as the ...
review

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya - Licht Nameless Girl

Despite being a film, it feels far more like a collection of episodes than anything resembling a self-contained story. ― Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya - Licht Nameless Girl is a direct continuation to the story of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei!! and the film Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Vow in the Snow. Despite being a film, it feels far more like a collection of episodes than anything rese...
review

Reconguista in G the Movie I and II

Sorry Tomino, Reconguista in G the Movie is not for children. It's for people who already like Gundam. ― Gundam Reconguista in G the Movie is for children. That's not my review. That's straight from the mouth of Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino. When Reconguista in G the Movie I Go! Core Fighter premiered at Anime NYC 2019, Tomino made a rare US appearance to introduce the film. “I want you to know th...
review

Shaman King

It honestly sucks having to come down this hard on this reboot. Shaman King was one of my first big introductions to the world of anime and manga proper, and I do think its story was more than strong enough to deserve a second shake. ― So Shaman King is a series with a pretty lengthy history. The manga began publication in Shonen Jump in 1998, and later received a 64-episode TV anime series in 2001 u...
review

Fate/Grand Order Final Singularity - Grand Temple of Time: Solomon

The plot is a whole load of nonsense, and I loved every minute of it. ― I could sum up this movie glibly by calling it the Avengers: Endgame of the Fate franchise. The appeal hinges on the cameos of dozens of Servants that haven't appeared in animated form outside the 15-second commercials. There's very little preamble or introductions to get the viewer up to speed with the franchise—it's all about p...
review

The Decagon House Murders GN 1

Whether you've read the original novel or not, the manga is a treat for mystery fans, although familiarity with basic tenets of Golden Age Mystery, Van Dine's rules, and And Then There Were None will all enhance your reading experience. ― Is it better to read The Decagon House Murders having already read Ayatsuji's original novel or not? I asked myself that question a lot while reading. Partly this i...
review

Koikimo

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this adult Japanese salaryman is interested in a kid outside of meta reasons: the plot demands it and because teenage girls are always, always sexualized. ― As someone who actively writes fanfiction and engages with fandom, Koikomo makes a lot of sense. A lot of people who dabble in fanfic like age gap romances: "age difference", as it's marked on Archive ...
review

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

You might be saying, “but nobody actually gets into Resident Evil looking for an amazing story. Do we get to see some zombies explode real good, or what?” And to that, hypothetical strawman, I can only respond: “Eh? I guess.” ― I've been slowly making my way through all of the main Resident Evil games over the past couple of years—all I have left to tackle at this point is Resident Evil 3, and then I...
review

Let's Make a Mug Too

Sometimes, an anime about four girls developing a love for crafting in rural Japan and becoming friends is exactly what the doctor ordered, and Let's Make a Mug Too was definitely just what I needed in a time where crafting with others in a shared space is effectively impossible. ― Nippon Animation's Let's Make a Mug Too was something of a sleeper hit for those who, like me, are devout fans of the “c...
review

Uncle From Another World GN 1

Make no mistake, Uncle From Another World is derivative, and it pretty well knows it. The plot is predicated on assumed audience familiarity with the isekai concept, with a lot of the humor therein stemming from subverting expected tropes. ― My most immediate concern with Uncle From Another World is what we're supposed to categorize this series as. It's hardly pure isekai, since all the alternate-wor...
review

Moriarty the Patriot GNs 3 & 4

Both volumes are strong, mostly because they really shine a light on who William, Louis, Moran, and Fred are. ― There's something fascinating about the way that this story is unfolding. In no small part that's due to the way that the other characters all view William Moriarty. That's really the focus of the second half of the third volume, a loose adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Conan Do...
review

Like the Clouds, Like the Wind Streaming

Now available to wider audiences, the movie can finally speak for itself and reveal what it is: a charming film with lovely animation and a story that is too big to be told in 75 minutes. ― The 1990 TV movie Like the Clouds, Like the Wind has a fairly unusual history. Based on the first novel to win the Japan Fantasy Novel Award, the movie aired without commercial breaks thanks to sponsorship from Mi...
review

Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won't Lose

Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won't Lose is an insult to your intelligence. Even if you're looking for a "trashy" romcom, this is not the show to watch. Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won't Lose is an insult to your intelligence. Even if you're looking for a "trashy" romcom, this is not the show to watch. When the protagonist and the love interests are aggressively unlikabl...
review

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy - Kingdom

The merchandise-mandated drafting of all the new beast-bots into the story of Kingdom makes this one feel immediately different from its predecessors. ― What began as a straightforward, if stylistically super-serious take on the Generation One Transformers setting in the War For Cybertron Trilogy comes to a close with some considerable shake-ups in influence and inspiration here in Kingdom. It's not ...
review

KING'S RAID: Successors of the Will

King's Raid is another one of those mobile game-based sword-and-sorcery fantasies that's a bit too ambitious for its own good. ― It's no great stretch to imagine that King's Raid: Successors of the Will is based on a mobile game. More specifically, it's based on an SRPG with character collection elements, which explains both the quest format – it's essentially a single long journey carried out over t...
review

I Belong to the Baddest Girl at School GN 1

It's a fun little manga, and since it largely avoids any mean humor, it's a nice piece of goofiness to pick when you're in the mood for a couple that can't figure out if they're coming or going. ― As far as misunderstandings go, I Belong to the Baddest Girl at School starts off with a doozy: Toramaru, the head delinquent at her high school, has a raging crush on Unoki, who is possibly the lowest man ...
review

The Decagon House Murders Novel

Although anime and manga fans are more likely to know him as the author behind the horror story Another, The Decagon House Murders is probably the literary work Yukito Ayatsuji is best known for. ― Although anime and manga fans are more likely to know him as the author behind the horror story Another, The Decagon House Murders is probably the literary work Yukito Ayatsuji is best known for. First pub...
review

Happy Kanako's Killer Life GN 1

The way Happy Kanako's Killer Life portrays the world of professional killers with the sort of simple, grounded presentation as you would expect from an office comedy is another effective element of the whole joke. ― It's tough out there in the job market these days. Who among us hasn't felt some sort of dissatisfaction with our careers at some point, by way of poor pay, bad benefits, unpleasant work...
review

Villainess: Reloaded! Blowing Away Bad Ends with Modern Weapons LN 1

She's the kind of character for whom the term “Mary Sue” was invented, a girl who is so amazing and perfect and worshipped by every single person who meets her. ― I have a few theories about why villainess isekai as a genre took off the way it did: the appeal of redemption, or of tangible rewards for being kind and decent. None of them, however, seem to apply to Villainess: Reloaded! Blowing Away Bad...
review

I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level

I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level is an exemplar of the "slow life" isekai subgenre, where the point is that nothing much happens because the protagonist wants to spend their new life chilling out. I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level is an exemplar of the "slow life" isekai subgenre, where the point is that nothing much happens because the prota...
review

Tropical-Rouge! Precure Episodes 13-24

Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure may not have the serious pathos of Healin' Good Pretty Cure or the large cast and slightly darker storyline of Kira Kira Pretty Cure a la Mode, but it makes up for that in sheer enthusiasm. ― If you've never read it, Hans Christian Andersen's original literary fairy tale The Little Mermaid is pretty grim. Not only does the poor mermaid feel like she's walking on knives wit...
review

The Slime Diaries

This clash of cultures and the receptiveness of the townspeople leads to plenty of situations that are equal parts amusing and wholesome. ― The Slime Diaries feels like a reward. We've watched Rimuru tackle hardships and make new friends, resulting in the peaceful monster town of Tempest. When shows like Attack on Titan or Demon Slayer want to indulge in a slice-of-life spin-off, they tend to move th...
review

Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

Despite somewhat awkward animation for the human characters, the monsters move smoothly and showcase the franchise's designs very nicely. ― Originally announced as a “special,” Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild is perhaps more OVA than full-on movie. It's a scant hour long, and while intended to be watchable by both established fans of the game franchise and those who have never played a second of...
review

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Earthrise

Decently-successful establishing experiment that Siege was, the following part of the Transformers War For Cybertron Trilogy catapults much of the cast into space to watch the Earth rise! Eventually. ― Decently-successful establishing experiment that Siege was, the following part of the Transformers War For Cybertron Trilogy catapults much of the cast into space to watch the Earth rise! Eventually. B...
review

Sensor GN

Sensor is easily one of the strangest Junji Ito yarns to date, combining Christian mythos, Lovecraftian beings, and a Heaven's Gate-style cult. Sensor is easily one of the strangest Junji Ito yarns to date, combining Christian mythos, Lovecraftian beings, and a Heaven's Gate-style cult. It also flounders in its overall narrative purpose, something Junji Ito acknowledges in the volume's afterword. I...
review

FANGS GN 1

FANGS is a story that is most likely going to have the most appeal for readers who enjoy both vampires and BL, and it will probably still have decent appeal for plain old BL fans. ― FANGS is, in some ways, like a more explicitly BL version of The Vampire and his Pleasant Companions. It's an imperfect comparison, but both series zero in on the tragedies of vampirism, although they also touch on the li...
review

The Night Beyond the Tricorner Window GN 8

Even the BL-shy should give this story a chance, because as far as paranormal horror fiction goes, it remains top-notch. ― If it was true in the previous seven volumes, it's almost doubly-true in this one – Tomoko Yamashita's The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is BL in name only. That's no more an insult to the series in this review than it was the first few times I mentioned it; it's rather to ...
review

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time

"If this is the final Evangelion anime ever produced, I am content with how it ended." The conclusion to Hideaki Anno's genre-defining anime is now streaming on Amazon Prime. ― It's been 14 years since the first Rebuild of Evangelion film hit Japanese theaters—and a staggering 9 years since the previous film, You Can (Not) Redo was released. As the final film of the four-part alternate retelling of o...
review

The Maid I Hired Recently Is Mysterious GN 1

The fact remains that as a comedy, this volume largely misses the mark. ― The comic triple is a rule of writing comedy that states that the uses of things in threes, often featuring an element of repetition, are funnier than when they come in any other number. That means that Wakame Konbu's The Maid I Hired Recently is Mysterious is way off the mark in simple numeric terms. Whether this is because th...
game review

Samurai Warriors 5

The most creatively bankrupt aspect of Samurai Warriors 5 is by and large its combat. ― While I've called Dynasty Warrior's gameplay recipe outdated before, the franchise has gone out of its way to prove me wrong recently, with games like Age of Calamity and Persona 5 Strikers exceeding my expectations. These games have their own unique mechanics that add some much-needed depth to Warrior's combat wh...
review

My Hero Academia THE MOVIE: World Heroes' Mission

Deku framed for murder and forced to be on the run is a solid plot hook—though one undercut in this instance by the fact that none of the Japanese heroes believe even for a second that he is guilty. ― The previous two My Hero Academia movies have ranged from good to excellent in quality, telling stories that either expand the lore of the series or put our superpowered teens into situations that cause...
game review

Shadowverse: Champion's Battle

Take on the role of Hiro Ryugasaki as you engage in card duels to save your school club! ― Coming straight from Cygames, Shadowverse: Champion's Battle is a story-based adaptation of the collectible card game app. You play as a youth who meets up with Hiro Ryugasaki, protagonist of the Shadowverse anime, and joins Tensei Academy's Shadowverse club. It seems the club is suffering from a lack of member...
review

Glass Syndrome GN

Glass Syndrome combines the more prurient aspects of its genre with a heartfelt love story, creating characters that you desperately want to see happy. ― Say what you will about TokyoPop as a publisher; they have in this incarnation honed a talent for selecting single-volume BL titles that are a cut above. This is largely in terms of works that combine sweet romance with a sort of tortured yearning, ...
review

Whisper Me a Love Song GN 1-3

What does it mean to “be in love” or to “fall in love?” That question is the beating heart of Eku Takeshima's yuri series Whisper Me a Love Song, and for a nice change of pace, the answer has nothing to do with gender. ― What does it mean to “be in love” or to “fall in love?” That question is the beating heart of Eku Takeshima's yuri series Whisper Me a Love Song, and for a nice change of pace, the a...
review

The Dark History of the Reincarnated Villainess GN 2

It's such a huge disappointment when a series appears to be doing something interesting and unusual in the first volume, only to slip immediately into a fairly uninspired groove with subsequent volumes. ― It's such a huge disappointment when a series appears to be doing something interesting and unusual in the first volume, only to slip immediately into a fairly uninspired groove with subsequent volu...
review

The Apothecary Diaries LN 2

Of the two major plot points in this volume that pertain to our hero and heroine, the fact that Jinshi's eunuch-hood is less permanent than most others' is simultaneously the least important and most interesting. ― It's official to everyone who isn't Maomao: beautiful eunuch Jinshi has a thing for her. Or perhaps that should be “eunuch”; of the two major plot points in this volume that pertain to our...
review

Tales of Symphonia the Animation

Ultimately, Tales of Symphonia is a rarity: a solid video game adaptation anime that feels satisfying. ― Tales of Symphonia (the animation) is, first and foremost, derived from the 2003/2004 Gamecube exclusive (and later, multi-platform) JRPG of the same title. I say that because it's important to keep in mind that this eleven-episode series is a video game adaptation first, and an original story sec...
review

That's My Atypical Girl GN 1

That's My Atypical Girl makes us ask the question of what constitutes good representation. ― That's My Atypical Girl is a bit difficult to review. In part that's because my own lived experience does not involve Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but also because of the way that ASD is presented in the manga. The original title of the series is Asper Kanojo, with “asper” being short for Asperger Syndrome...
game review

Fuga: Melodies of Steel

It's a challenge to take on a brutal World War II retelling with imagery and characters cute enough to populate Maple Town, but CyberConnect2 sticks with it, and it's paid off. ― Cyberconnect2 is best known as the developer of gorgeous anime-to-game adaptations stretching from Naruto and .hack to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In their heart of hearts, however, company president/CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama and ...
review

Kageki Shoujo!! GN 1

Like its heroine, Kageki Shojo!! is just getting started but shows enormous promise. ― The manga of Kageki Shojo! has a bit of an odd publication history; the first two volumes ran in Jump X, a seinen magazine, which was canceled before the story had a chance to conclude. Luckily, it was picked up by the shojo/josei magazine Melody, and continued its run as Kageki Shojo!! (Note the extra exclamation ...
review

Asadora! GN 3

The plot may be thickening in this volume, but it's in the same way that instant pudding thickens in the fridge: in other words, it's just sitting there. ― The plot may be thickening in this volume, but it's in the same way that instant pudding thickens in the fridge: in other words, it's just sitting there. That's not to say that there aren't important pieces of the story; the reveal that Japan does...
review

The Detective Is Already Dead Novel 1

The book does suffer from its tenuous use of actual mysteries, a couple of which rear their heads and are almost painfully obvious in their solutions. ― If you go into nigozyu's light novel The Detective is Already Dead looking for a mystery, you may find yourself disappointed. Although the book deals with some of the tropes and elements of the genre, it's much less a mystery novel and more a mildly ...
review

Anti-Gravity Boy GN 1-3

The story may be full of basic shoujo plot events (A trip to Okinawa! Romantic rivals!), but it lets its characters come to their own emotional conclusions. ― If you've ever wondered what a stereotypical Ribon manga circa 2002 would look like, here's your answer. Ryo Azuki's Anti-Gravity Boy is probably the most typical manga of that period of the anthology's publication, with its wide-eyed, energeti...
review

Stellvia Streaming Episodes 1-26

Stellvia has long been a series that I thought deserved more love than it got. ― Stellvia has long been a series that I thought deserved more love than it got. Tatsuo Sato's (Martian Successor Nadesico, Bodacious Space Pirates) 2003 original anime and science fiction tale of teens in space never really found much of an audience, at least in the English-speaking anime fandom, and it's a shame. With fo...
review

BanG Dream! Episode of Roselia II: Song I am.

As glimpsed in the previous movie, this is a franchise where the characters can be shown to grow gradually – and surprisingly realistically – over relatively long periods of time. ― There's naturally some trepidation going into BanG Dream! Episode of Roselia II : Song I am. The preceding film was a disjointed collection of stories adapted from the BanG Dream mobile game, loosely connected in their de...
review

Belle

Mamoru Hosoda's Belle is a feast for the eyes and ears. At the same time, it is a meaningful look into the lingering effects of loss and the seemingly hopeless struggle to overcome it. ― It doesn't take a genius to see that acclaimed director Mamoru Hosada's Belle takes a ton of inspiration from Beauty and the Beast, specifically the Disney adaptation. All the trappings are there: We have a beauty, a...
game review

NEO: The World Ends With You

Well, it took fourteen years, but NEO: The World Ends with You is finally here, and it's every bit as stylish, engrossing, and outright fun as its predecessor. ― When the original The World Ends with You launched all the way back in 2007 on the Nintendo DS, it won attention and praise for its unorthodox storytelling and gameplay. It used many of the features of the Nintendo DS in experimental ways an...
review

Farewell to My Alter GN

Farewell to My Alter proves that Nio Nakatani is not a creator to pigeonhole. ― For most English-language manga readers, “Nio Nakatani” is synonymous with “yuri.” That's largely because, prior to this release, all that's been translated into English have been her contributions to the Éclair yuri anthologies and her series Bloom Into You. While these do admittedly make up the bulk of her professionall...
game review

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

It's easy to say that Monster Hunter Stories 2 provided the most enjoyable gameplay experience I've had within the genre in recent years. ― The monster-collecting genre might be one of the most criminally under-represented in gaming. Aside from the Pokémon games and the steady trickle of indie projects inspired by that franchise, it's practically barren. It is my hope that Monster Hunter Stories 2 wi...
review

Reborn to Master the Blade Novel 1

For all of its strengths and interesting decisions, Reborn to Master the Blade does have its issues as well. The volume is one of the more repetitious light novels I've read recently. ― Before writing Reborn to Master the Blade, author Hayaken tells us in their afterword, writing a female protagonist wasn't in the cards. Then they were thinking about their new work while watching Pretty Cure with the...
review

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop

Kyōhei Ishiguro's debut feature film was the unfortunate victim of COVID-19 delays in 2020, but if you do manage to watch this, it is absolutely the perfect pick-me-up for a depressing year. ― Kyohei Ishiguro's debut feature film was the unfortunate victim of COVID-19 delays in 2020, but if you do manage to watch this, it is absolutely the perfect pick-me-up for a depressing year. If you're in the mo...
review

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Novel 9

After a return to form in volume eight, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! takes another slide downhill in the ninth novel. ― After a return to form in volume eight, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom takes another slide downhill in the ninth novel. It's not nearly as egregious as what we saw in books six and seven, the two stories that set up the idea that ther...
game review

Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed

Akiba's Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed is a cheeky romp through anime fandom mecca with plenty of fun references. But sadly, it's also just shy of the mark to make it a must-have. Akiba's Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed is a lot of things. It's a remaster of a 10-year-old PlayStation Portable game. It's a cheeky romp through anime fandom mecca with plenty of fun references. But sadly, it's also just s...
review

Shino Can't Say Her Name GN

From the creator of Flowers of Evil, Shino Can't Say Her Name isn't an easy or a uniformly happy story, but it is ultimately hopeful. ― Shuzo Oshimi may be best known for his series The Flowers of Evil and other similarly dark works, such as Happiness and Blood on the Tracks, but Shino Can't Say Her Name makes a good case for him being able to create less melancholy or disturbing manga as well. While...
review

Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! GN 1

The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! is a simple, fun comedy. It tries to make the most of its premise and largely succeeds, and if it does verge on mean humor, it generally doesn't cross the line. ― Did you ever wonder what happens to all those demons and villains that the heroes defeat? Probably not – because the assumption is always that the world is better off without them, so why should we care ...
review

Scar on the Praeter

I'm going to stick with the assumption that no rational person would seek out an entry of the GoHands Cinematic Universe without the incentive of monetary compensation. ― Project Scard: Scar on the Praeter is the latest anime from the infamous Studio GoHands; its director is Shingo Suzuki, and it was written by Tamazo Yanagi. The last anime that Suzuki and Yanagi were involved with were GoHands' Hand...
review

Josee, The Tiger and the Fish

Now in theaters in the U.S., Josee, The Tiger and the Fish is a beautifully animated film about the struggles of the physically-disabled and the mindset needed to obtain your dreams. ― Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, the new anime film based on the 1985 Seiko Tanabe-penned short story of the same name, premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2020 this past week. On its most surface level, i...
game review

MARS RED Edge of the Nightmare

If you enjoyed the show, the story acts as a nice companion to the events of the anime, and several familiar characters from the Code Zero crew like Takeuchi, Suwa, and Kurusu all play key roles. ― Whenever a major new anime hits the scene, there's a mobile game to accompany it, like clockwork. Many of these games remain Japanese exclusives, with only a handful releasing globally. Additionally, many ...
review

Godzilla Singular Point

Even after all of my gripes: Godzilla: Singular Point is an excellently crafted work of epic science-fiction. ― I've been a Godzilla fan for years now, and all of the previews made Godzilla: Singular Point look like a show that was practically made for me. It features slick character designs and lovely 2D artwork from the venerable Studio Bones, and the work for all of Singular Point's incredibly un...
review

As the Villainess, I Reject These Happy-Bad Endings! Novel

This twist on the basic concept of the very crowded isekai subgenre of villainess reincarnation offers the novel a saving grace. ― Iota Aiue's As the Villainess, I Reject These Happy-Bad Endings! is, in a lot of ways, very typical of its chosen genre. Iris comes to awareness after recovering from a dreadful disease, realizing that even though she's currently in the body of a thirteen-year-old girl, s...
review

The Stranger by the Shore

While Shun's story is very solid, I can't say the same for his love interest Mio, who suffers from massive gaps in his characterization. ― I had high hopes for Umibe no Étranger ever since I saw that adorable key visual for it. You don't normally see BL anime with male character designs that are cute and round rather than lanky and sharp. I knew nothing about the story, but on a purely aesthetic leve...
review

Ragna Crimson Volume 2

One of the things that really excited me about Ragna Crimson thus far was the high fantasy versus gritty cruelty element, with supercharged swordmasters dueling raid-boss dragons. Ragna Crimson returns, and my mixed-but-net-positive feelings about volume 1 transform into… still-mixed-but-trending-more-positive feelings for volume 2. First off, the positives. All of the strengths of the first volume...
review

Welcome to Japan, Ms. Elf! GN 1

I can relate to Kazuhiro even apart from the fact that he's an actual grown-up protagonist in a story like this. ― The endurance of the isekai genre as an institution in fiction has necessitated evolution of the concept. The idea of someone from our world being transported to another, fantasy-inspired one is now less a plot on its own and more a base setting that innumerable stories start from and ru...
review

Mashle: Magic and Muscles GN 1

Mashle: Magic and Muscles is a lot of goofy fun. It plays with basic magic school story tropes, directly lampoons Harry Potter, and features a nice mix of comedic elements. ― Mash Burnedead is the worst of all possible things: a person without magic in a kingdom where people without magic are killed. In fact, someone tried to kill him as an infant; it's just that "leaving a baby on a roof" isn't real...
game review

Death end re;Quest

Death end proves me dead wrong: it demonstrates not only Idea Factory's ability to put out quality titles, but that they can also be trusted to take real creative risks and create unique games – something all too rare in today's market. ― I wasn't expecting much from Death end re;Quest when I first picked it up. It's a product of Compile Heart, which is itself a subsidiary of Idea Factory – a studio ...
review

Memories Collector's Edition

Discotek has performed some sort of wizardry for its Memories Collector's Edition release. The team has created the definitive edition and earned no shortage of fan accolades as a result. Those still waiting on Project A-Ko should sleep easy knowing it's in good hands. ― What was your first introduction to Katsuhiro Otomo's Memories and was it this specific music video highlighting Magnetic Rose? Tha...
review

My Dress-Up Darling GN 3 & 4

Marin's charm is that she's so beautifully comfortable with her body and her interests that she doesn't try to hide anything, and her stated goal with Wakana was to be able to go to cosplay events in the best costume possible. ― With Marin at the center of Shinichi Fukuda's My Dress-Up Darling, it's easy to forget that cosplay isn't about public outings in costume for everyone. Marin's charm is that ...
review

Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance Volume 1

These fixer-upper fantasies about a cute girl coming into your life to help teach you how to pick up girls have been increasing in frequency, letting authors play with meta-humor and genre awareness as a self-involved selling point. ― Like an otaku making snap judgements about a gyaru girl, it can be easy to go into Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance Volume thinking you know w...
review

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko feels like more of a character study and a series of slice-of-life sketches than a feature-length film. Its depiction of the life of a girl on the cusp of adolescence is very on-point, although its story ultimately doesn't leave a strong impression beyond that. ― Director Ayumu Watanabe and Studio 4°C impressed the world with their lavish visual work on Children of the Sea,...
game review

No More Heroes 1 & 2

The No More Heroes franchise is first and foremost a celebration of video games. ― The No More Heroes franchise is first and foremost a celebration of video games. It perfectly captures a certain branch of gamer culture in its dialogue, visual styles, and gameplay, making for a unique experience that absolutely should not be missed. The games feature a brash comedic style, absurdly degenerate action,...
review

SEVEN KNIGHTS REVOLUTION: Hero Successor

The latest in a line of largely forgettable mobile game adaptations, SEVEN KNIGHTS REVOLUTION joins Hortensia Saga and King's Raid as a sad statement on where sword and sorcery fantasy fans can apparently continue to get their anime. ― The latest in a line of largely forgettable mobile game adaptations, Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor joins Hortensia Saga and King's Raid as a somewhat sad st...
review

Goblin Slayer Novel 11

“A problem” is, in some ways, a good way to define the storytelling here on the whole. It's not a bad book, and the development of the desert nation is interesting, as are the new races who are introduced. But the interlude chapters in the first person feel disjointed and detached from the rest of the novel. ― Female Merchant, who was first introduced as Noble Fencer, the sole survivor of her party w...
review

Maesetsu! Opening Act

Maesetsu! is a really enjoyable show… if comedy is your thing. If it's not, then it can be a bit of a drag, especially in its early episodes. ― Maesetsu! Opening Act was a Fall 2020 series co-produced by AXsiZ and Studio Gokumi. The former, AXsiZ, is probably most known for Ms. Koizumi loves ramen noodles as well as its work on upcoming anime World's End Harem. The latter, Studio Gokumi, has loads of...
review

Pompo: The Cinéphile

Pompo: The Cinéphile is the perfect showcase of anime cinema – with equal emphasis on both words. Every single frame is packed with vibrant colors and flavors, with snappy transitions between animation-like and cinematic expression. ― What a delightful, exhilarating film to watch. Pompo: The Cinéphile is the perfect showcase of anime cinema – with equal emphasis on both words. Every single frame is p...
review

Record of Ragnarok

Record of Ragnarok is a show of extremes. Both within the text and beyond it, this is an anime that rapidly oscillates between highs and lows in every respect. I feel that in so many ways it says a lot about the state of the industry. ― To err is human, but to survive is divine. Record of Ragnarok is a show of extremes. Both within the text and beyond it, this is an anime that rapidly oscillates betw...
review

Secret Urban Legends GN

Have you heard the story about the abandoned house where a girl still waits for her friends to finish their game of hide-and-seek? And what if mosquitos can carry on the grudges of those they feed upon, even after death? ― As far as genres go, many people forget that horror is one often marketed to younger readers, and not just in its relatively safe Fear Street or Goosebumps forms. Plenty of authors...
review

Blue Flag GN 8

The adolescent romance series comes to a close in this volume. How did this tearjerker wrap up its relationships? ― This review contains spoilers. In their afterword, Kaito says that they wanted Blue Flag to be three things: about choices, to show the world as the characters see it, and to be a story where characters actually talk to each other, because in their experience as a romance reader, most p...
review

By the Grace of the Gods Season 1

This plainly isn't going to be a show for everyone. It's slow-moving and doesn't always use its plot points or characters as well as it might, and apart from their work “transferring” humans from earth to Seilfal, the gods are almost non-entities. ― Of all of the various permutations that the isekai genre can go through, the soothing slice-of-life story has perhaps the most hurdles to overcome. In pa...
review

SPY×FAMILY GN 5

Anya may be the heart of both the Forger family and SPY x FAMILY entire, but not every volume can be just about her – it's called Spy x Family, after all. ― Anya may be the heart of both the Forger family and Spy x Family as a whole, but not every volume can be just about her – it's called Spy x Family, after all. That means that, while the book is still replete with great Anya moments, it's also fin...
review

WAVE!! Let's Go Surfing

There's something fascinating about WAVE!! Let's Go Surfing, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the show. It is, in many ways, emblematic of a kind of content-farm approach to media that is driven entirely by profit. ― There's something fascinating about WAVE!! Let's Go Surfing, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the show. It is, in many ways, emblematic of a...
review

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning

On the thematic side of things, Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning tells the story of two broken people, each driven only by their own singular, all-consuming goals. ― Like many American anime fans in the 90s, my first introduction into Rurouni Kenshin wasn't the TV anime, but rather the OVA—localized at the time as Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal. In stark contrast to the light-hearted yet action-filled TV ...
review

Ikebukuro West Gate Park

The ingredients for a simple but effective crime thriller are here, which may make wonder why you have heard so little about it. The reasoning becomes apparent: despite all of its components, IWGP is far less than the sum of its parts. ― A new anime adaptation of a series of novels that's been out for two decades and change, Ikebukuro West Gate Park makes an earnest effort to be an accessible new ver...
review

A Journal of My Father GN

The late Taniguchi's Eisner-nominated manga follows a man's realization that the person he always built his father to be in his mind did not represent the entirety of him, and that maybe he loved Yoichi more than he ever realized. ― It is hard, I think, to ever really know our parents as people. How can we? To most of us, for most of our lives, they are parents, a class of people somehow removed from...
review

Fist of the North Star GN 1

Fist of the North Star is more than historical anecdote. It is more than just “the coolest thing at the time.” Its worth reading right here, right now, and can still easily stand toe to toe with other works on the shelf. ― I. Was. Shook. Folks, I have to be perfectly honest with you. I always dreamed of this day, but I never believed it would actually happen, certainly not in this fashion. Finally, a...
review

Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon GN 1

This book is a bit darker than your typical yuri manga. Hinako is desperately trying to figure out a way through life when we meet her – she's about to have a date with a man who is financially successful, nice, and good-looking, and she really, really doesn't want to go. ― You could be forgiven for thinking that the word “toxic” gets overused these days. But there's a good reason for it – while hist...
game review

Everyday♪ Today's MENU for EMIYA Family

With its sparse content, performance issues, and tepid dialogue, Everyday♪ Today's Menu for Emiya Family is a bad game even by the standards of low-budget anime tie-ins. ― With its sparse content, performance issues, and tepid dialogue, Everyday♪ Today's MENU for EMIYA Family is a bad game even by the standards of low-budget anime tie-ins. To be fair, it's not like I had no fun with the game at all; ...
game review

Touken Ranbu

Touken Ranbu. It's out in English now, almost six years after its initial release in Japan. I've played it for about two months, and I believe I can safely say… I'm not sure I get it. ― Touken Ranbu. It's out in English now, almost six years after its initial release in Japan. I've played it for about two months, and I believe I can safely say… I'm not sure I get it. I mean, yeah, on the one hand, I ...
game review

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection

For a certain vintage of gamer, Ninja Gaiden is a name that carries a certain amount of fear. Grant Jones revisits the franchise to see if the games still hold up to their legacy. ― The Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is hard to talk about in isolation. In many ways, you need a dramatic, long-winded cut scene to get the context for the release. So if you'll indulge me, I'll try to spin the tale as bes...
review

Yakuza Lover GN 1

However, without going into too much information, my taste in erotica has proven to be much more selective and harder to satisfy. For all its frivolity, Yakuza Lover appealed to me where most series with similar subject matter and audience left me feeling alienated. Yakuza Lover is smut. There's just no way around it. This is a story with the goal of providing its readers with titillating content, ...

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