Category Archives: Anime

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Great Teacher Onizuka

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 43/100Title: Great Teacher Onizuka
Episodes Aired: 43
Year(s): 1999-2000

When I was reading the original manga of Great Teacher Onizuka I was left a bit cold by the overall premise of a former delinquent falling into a teaching job and teaching life lessons the best way he knew how. I did, however, have an idea that this might be something I would enjoy more when seeing it on the small screen with the voice and movements that were intended by the author. On the whole, I was right – at least for my sensibilities.

In making an anime version of Great Teacher Onizuka they have to slightly tone down some of the more sexual under and overtones of the manga. This is still undeniably crude in both content and, due to this being 20 years old, animation style – but it doesn’t feel too overdone compared to the manga. One storyline in particular goes from an attempted rape in the manga to an attempted kidnapping in the anime – the menace still remains, but it’s a horse of an entirely different colour.

The gags too feel fresher in the animated version. For example, there is an episode involving cursed chain letters where I was actually giggling as I watched, where the same story in the manga just completely washed over me. A lot of that is down to Onizuka’s voice actor (who appears to have been in everything at some point) who was able to give the boisterous yet vulnerable vocalisations needed to make Onizuka a lovable character.

Towards the end of the 43 episode run I did start to get a little bit restless though. A lot of the initial conflict of Onizuka winning over his students was gone, leaving a bunch of hi-jinks episodes until a really well done two-part finale. This is a series that works best when it remembers where its heart is, and when this is incorporated into the laughs – then Great Teacher Onizuka is a great watch.



(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Natsume Yuujinchou San

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 42/100Title: Natsume Yuujinchou San
Episodes Aired: 13
Year(s): 2011

It’s been over 18 months since I watched the second season of Natsume Yuujinchou and, I have to say, it was like putting on a comfortable pair of pyjamas as I dove back into it. It also reignited my desire to watch more episodes of Mushishi (which I am currently going through at a glacial pace).

This might be because of my growing familiarity with the characters, but I do think that this was the best whole season of Natsume Yuujinchou that I have seen so far. It relies less on the original premise of restoring the name to the ‘monster-of-the-week’ and instead has become far more serialised, which suits the show tremendously.

Also, as each season progresses, it is great to see the level of personal growth that Natsume himself is going through. In the beginning he was very much put upon and hated his ability to see members of the spirit world. Like the character of Chise in The Ancient Magus’ Wife, he is someone who was unable to deal with his ability and so was shuffled from home to home until he found someone willing and able to look after someone with his needs.

I thought back to this when watching the final episode of the third season where, not only has he made a substantial number of friends from the spirit realm, but he also had a growing number of human friends. With this being halfway through the show’s run, I am really interested to see just how much more he is going to develop as a character and how his relationship with his weird cat-demon bodyguard continues to grow.

For my next series I am going to be watching the adaptation of Great Teacher OnizukaGiven the content of the manga, I await with great interest to see how this is going to be brought to the small screen.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Parasyte -the maxim-

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 41/100Title: Parasyte -the maxim-
Episodes Aired: 24
Year(s): 2014-15

When I read Parasyte nine months I wondered how well this story of alien invasion and body horror would translate to the small screen. Especially since there was a 19 year gap between the end of the manga and the beginning of the anime series. Honestly, it’s hard to think how this could have been done better as – other than the update in technology – the spirit of the story translated incredibly well.

The key difference between the manga and the anime is a common one with all adaptations – censorship. I’m not asking for something completely disgusting, but there were times where key wounds were artificially cast in shadow that it became silly. Then again, there were other times where they showed dismemberments left, right and centre so I can’t complain too much.

Despite knowing exactly what was going to happen every step of the way, it didn’t make the battles less interesting or the the story any less powerful. In fact, there were some benefits to watching this after reading the manga. Firstly I was able to watch it knowing just how the central character was going to change, which meant I could pay proper attention at those key scenes. Also, I could enjoy the voice of hand-parasite Migi – which was exactly how I hoped it would sound.

So that’s it for another anime whose manga I’ve previously read. There are plenty more to come but, for now, I’m going to be making my way back to a show that I haven’t watched for an awfully long time: Natsume’s Book of Friends. I figured that it would be a nice change to go for something more spiritual after something so bloody.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – March Comes In Like A Lion

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 40/100Title: March Comes In Like A Lion
Episodes Aired: 44
Year(s): 2016-18

March Comes In Like A Lion is one of the most acclaimed anime series to come out in recent years – at least if you follow the ratings on MyAnimeList. For a while both seasons of this show appeared within the Top 100, but it would appear that – at least for now – the first season is its way out. However, for the purpose of this blog, I will be talking about both together as this it would be impossible to dive into the second season without seeing the character growth that went into the first one.

In brief, March Comes In Like A Lion is a slice-of-life following a young and introverted shogi prodigy called Rei Kiriyama as he navigates living my himself in the Tokyo suburbs whilst still attending high school. As the series progresses we watch as he comes out of himself, deals with his troubled past and reaches a point where he feels like he belongs and can find happiness in his choices.

With this description it feels like a lot of other slice-of-life shows, just in the world of professional shogi players. What March Comes In Like A Lion has to recommend it is a metric shit-ton of heart and some genuinely funny moments (some of which includes us being able to read the minds of some very hungry and attention-seeking cats). It also does a good job at explaining the rules of shogi (something that’s far more complicated than chess) and making these games interesting to watch.

As well as the Rei’s involvement in the shogi world, we are also watching him as he becomes accepted as a (pretty much adopted) member of a neighbour family consisting of three sisters and their grandfather. Through them we watch a lot of Rei’s growth as he gets more and more involved in their family, whereby one of the main threads of the second season is about the escalation and resolution of the middle sister being bullied at school.

Where a lot of animes give you some insight into the mind of the main protagonist, this anime gives you insights into every main character and a number of secondary/tertiary ones. It provides interesting psychological looks into relatable situations (like bullying and financial problems) and helps to frame more novel situations (like the anxieties during a shogi game) in a recognisable way.

I hope that, by the time this has been posted, there is news about a third season of March Comes In Like A Lion. Whilst the ending was very sweet and wrapped up a lot of the threads, there is still plenty of story to tell and a lot of manga chapters left unexplored. Maybe they’ll do an Attack on Titan and wait a few years so that they can bank enough chapters to warrant a 2-cour season, as a slow-burn show like this would be greatly disserviced by a 13 episode order.

Since I am currently reading Attack on Titan, I don’t think I’ll be going there for my next anime. After a slice-of-life like March Comes In Like A Lion I’m thinking of going for something more action or supernatural. Maybe another season of Natsume or it might be worth making my way through more Monogatari so I can reach the second season of Owarimonogatari.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Pingu In The City

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 38/100Title: Pingu In The City
Episodes Aired: 26
Year(s): 2017-18

Right, so Pingu In The City‘s placement on the anime list feels a bit like a joke gone that bit too far. When it first aired at the end of 2017, this show temporarily occupied the top placement as people trolled MyAnimeList by giving it full marks. As of writing this, Pingu In The City has fallen out of the top 100 once, but is now back in the Top 50. I am fully expecting this to have fallen out again once this post goes up but since I’ve seen it, I might as well do a little write-up.

If you know the original Pingu claymation series, then you know what the Japanese computer-animated Pingu In The City is all about. We follow the escapades of lovable young penguin Pingu as his family move to the big city. The episodes are 10-11 minutes apiece and are incredibly cute.

As a young Pingu fan, I was really keen to give this modern reboot a go. The thing is, as much as Pingu In The City has done well to match the original look of the claymation – a lot of charm is still lost by this being computer generated. It’s very competent and it’s cute, but I prefer a small town Pingu having small town adventures with his seal friend.

At some point in the future I will likely have to watch the second season of Pingu In The City. I can’t imagine how much more it would provide than what is in the first season… unless they go completely off book and do something more serialized. Nah! At least it’ll be cute.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 37/100Title: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable
Episodes Aired: 39
Year(s): 2016

It’s only been a few months since I watched the last season of JoJo’s Bizarre AdventureSince then, I read the next part of the manga and found it increasingly hard to wait that long before finishing off the anime series. Honestly, I don’t know why I leave these gaps between series when I am keen to carry on watching. I think this is something I need to remedy going forward…

ANYWAY. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable is an adaptation of the fourth part of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga series; also it is the final anime series that has been produced… for now. I assume that more will be produced eventually, but for now it ends with Diamond Is Unbreakable.

As with the previous parts of the series Diamond Is Unbreakable has a new member of the JoJo family as the central character – this time it is the illegitimate son of the JoJo from Part 2, which makes him the uncle of the JoJo from Part 3. This 4th JoJo is well meaning and outgoing, which makes him a complete contrast to his predecessor.

If you know third part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure then you can pretty much guess what this particular part is going to be about. The mythology of the stands (alter-ego spirits with special powers that are used to fight) continues as follow a new group of powered up individuals as they battle against stand-owners with evil intentions.

The JoJo series has always contained interesting villains. Yoshikage Kira – the villain of this seasons’ second half – might be the most threatening and best realised of all of them so far. Sure, the previous seasons had Dio (an incredibly powerful and vengeful vampire), but he always felt a bit pantomimish at times. Then there is Kira, a serial killer who just wants a peaceful life as he gives in to his uncontrollable urge to kill and dismember women. He’s a scary villain because he actually feels like a real person (albeit with supernatural powers) and I wish there had been a way to have him more involved in the first half of the season…

Still that’s a small glitch in what is an enjoyable supernatural fight series with a good heart and sense of humour. I hope there is a Part 5 soon as I am eager to see where the JoJo anime goes next.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 36/100Title: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
Episodes Aired: 25
Year(s): 2008

So here we are one year after watching the first series of Code Geass and I’ve finally gotten around to watching the second season. There is a third series in the works, which means that it was imperative that I got round to the second season so that I could be up to date once the third one drops.

Having watched the second season, I do question why this is the higher season in the MyAnimeList rankings. My guess? If you didn’t like the first one you won’t try the second, which inflates the score. I mean, this has to be the reason why so many sequel series are above the original on this list (sometimes it’s well deserved, but not always).

This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 – it’s just that this kept tripping up over it’s own tropes that, at times, it was willingly confusing and, at others, coddling. For example, starting the series off with Lelouch having amnesia in order to explain the whole world again to newcomers… which is fine for the newcomers, but it means that it takes the show a few episodes to really get going.

Then there’s the character of Rolo who, despite how much they tried to save, always felt more like a cousin Oliver than a meaningful character. Another issue was the lack of a real shocking moment int he same vein of Princess Euphemia in the first series. They tried in this season, but the emotional connection to Marianne and her story wasn’t great enough to warrant any sort of shock.

That’s really the issue I had with this entire second season – everything was done better in the first one. This was actually a little bit disappointing after how much I had enjoyed the previous one. Still, I’m very much interested in how they’re going to continue the story into a third season.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Aria: The Origination

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 35/100Title: Aria: The Origination
Episodes Aired: 13
Year(s): 2008

Despite the name, which sounds like it should be all about origins, Aria: The Origination is the third and final season of the Aria franchise. As with most series, it pays to watch the preceding seasons in order to get the most out of it… even if the final season is by far the best.

As far as story goes it can be summed up as being a show about three apprentice gondoliers who live on a terraformed Mars and are training to become professionals (known in-world as Primas). It’s a really interesting idea for a concept, especially when this series decides to go into some of the history of the Martian pioneers who lived and died to bring water to the red planet.

It’s just that, of all the anime series I’ve seen so far this has got to be the slowest yet. Whilst I am usually fine with a slower movie or show, I do have my limits. Being a slice-of-life show there is always going to be the danger of trying to extend too little content into a half hour, which is why I ended up skipping the latter half of season two. It’s not that it became bad in any way, it’s just that life is too short and there’re other shows that I am itching to watch.

That being said, I am really glad that I did watch the earlier episodes as the emotional payoff in the final few episodes would have been entirely muted. The Aria series is one that is definitely worth giving a go to, but be aware of the type of show it is when you start and that Aria: The Origination makes up for the earlier episodes.

The visuals and the music in Aria is gorgeous. The animators really took the idea of a Venice on Mars and brought it to life, along with some interesting ideas of Italian culture (like people eating pizza crust-first which, if you ever watched Angela Anaconda, you know is a crime against nature). The three leads are a bit cookie-cutter, but you end up caring for them… even if the main character Akari is a tad too wet for my liking.

So yes, it’s flawed but it’s a series that’s worth a punt. As for the next show… who knows. The list is so volatile at the time of writing that I have no idea what a good bet will be to watch next.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 34/100Title: Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara
Episodes Aired: 12
Year(s): 2017

Okay, so I am writing this six and a half months in advance knowing full well that this may have left the list by the time this post is published. Also, the fourth season of Food Wars will have started (and possibly finished airing) – a concluding 12 episodes that this third season very much needed.

There really isn’t much for me to add to this season of Food Wars that I haven’t already mentioned in the first or second seasons. This is a food porn anime where the food-lover in me is satisfied on an episode-by-episode basis by watching some amazing cooking. Hell, I have even been inspired to make dishes myself (see pictured the ‘Gotcha Pork Roast’ from the first season) or use some of the acquired knowledge in my own cooking.

The issue that I have with the third season is that it feels incomplete. We end the run of episodes with the first wave of confrontations as the culinary school goes through a hostile takeover. It just feels like it ends abruptly rather than there being any sort of conclusion. I guess that this makes sense considering that there is a 3 month gap between this season and the upcoming fourth season.

Another problem is that it feels like the budget has been slashed for the animation budget. The number of tracking shots with minimal animation seems to have really increased this year and the weirder foodgasm shots has gone down… although I did enjoy the white knight in the forest surrounded by animals.

Still, this is not a serious anime nor should it ever be mistaken for one. It delivered a fun 20-odd minutes every week and let me enjoy some cartoon cookery. I know I’m going to happily tune into the next iteration of this series… so it’s really a job well done by them in that respect.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Haikyuu!! Second Season

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 33/100Title: Haikyuu!! Second Season
Episodes Aired: 25
Year(s): 2015-16

It’s been over 18 months since I saw the first season of Haikyuu and within a few minutes of the first episode of the second season I wondered what had taken me so long to get back to it. I really fell for the first season and it’s impressive just how quickly the second season was able to get you back into the fray.

The experience of watching the second season was sizeably different to the first one. Where the first season focused on them having to pull a team together and, eventually, suffering a shattering loss at the end; the second builds on this defeat and we see the team training up to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Whilst I still have no idea of half of the volleyball terms being used, it’s amazing how much I have learnt about this sport through sheer osmosis. They can start talking about pinch servers, liberos and other positions and I actually know what they mean. I still haven’t quite gotten to grips with the different ‘tempos’,  but I’m getting there. Still, it shows how this show has been able to disseminate enough information to help you enjoy the sport.

And here’s the thing, I really enjoy watching these volleyball matches. It’s not like the boxing in Hajime no Ippo where time is artificially elongated to make a match last multiple episodes, in Haikyuu they will skip large sections of the match because it won’t add to the story. As a viewer who is not really into sport, this editing helps a lot. It also helps with the tension that we’ve seen this team lose important matches, so you’re never quite sure of the direction an episode will take.

That is until the final few episodes as, given the title of the third season, you know how this has to end. Then again, if I was watching this live then I would have had no idea of the outcome and, despite being mostly certain of how the match would finish, I still found myself cheering at the TV like a bit of a loser.

Hopefully by the time this goes up we will know more about the elusive fourth season of Haikyuu, but until then I have the third season to watch… right after I finish The Ancient Magus’s Wife, Food Wars: Season 3, my re-watch of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the other things I’m currently watching.