Tag Archives: anime

The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (Anime)

Title: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious

Episodes: 1-12

Ristarte is a goddess tasked with summoning a hero to defeat a demon lord for a world she’s managing. When she discovers Seiya and his abnormally good spec sheet, she’s thrilled—and realizes too late what “impossibly cautious” actually means. Seiya won’t do ANYTHING if he can’t do it to a level of completion that drives her insane. But for this world with an unexpectedly powerful demon lord, that’s a good thing . . . isn’t it?

Although the premise is well-worn, the show is at its best when leaning hard into the comedy. Ristarte is trying to play things by the book. Seiya, however, is so abnormally insistent on over-preparing for literally everything that he drives her crazy. And she’s probably falling in love with him, which makes his deadpan rebuttals even more annoying to her.

I was also surprised to find this is basically a complete story arc, despite leaving some room at the end for further adventures.

On the other hand, the times when the show isn’t spinning a joke it tends to be dull and derivative, as it’s deliberately not trying to do anything unique with its setting or plot. Seiya is a flat character even with the development near the end, as is basically everyone except Ristarte. And Ristarte can’t quite carry the entire show by herself.

Overall I think this was worth seeing once, although if you’re not really interested in a lot of the tropes it skewers there’s not much else to it. I rate this show Recommended.

Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun! (Anime)

Title: Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun!

Episodes: 1-23

Iruma has been sold off to the demon Sullivan by his irresponsible parents—but that just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to him. His new grandpa is spoiling him rotten, and if his new school is all about eating people, well, most of them don’t even know what a human looks like. So Iruma can do his best to find friends and fit in—as long as nobody figures out his secret.

I do want to point out that the very last episode has an after-credits scene that throws a huge wrench in the happy ending, and makes me desperately want a season 2.

This was one of the unexpected good finds of the last few seasons. Iruma is an engaging lead—cheerful, optimistic, klutzy . . . and completely unable to say no to people. This leads to quite a bit of comedy, as well as a few good friends.

Much of the fun in this series is taking traditional school tropes like a school festival and reimaging it with demons. And the presence of magic makes for some truly wacky hijinks. But it’s also got some pretty strong character-based humor: Az is the straight man to Clara’s insanity, but both of them are new to this whole “friends” thing and tend to compete as much as they get along.

This is more kid-friendly than the typical anime fare, as well. I appreciated having a cleaner story than I expected, even with episodes covering classes in seduction (which was one of the funniest of the entire season, given Clara’s bizarre antics).

I think this one is best binged (at least the festival arc, because each episode feels like it covers so little ground individually). It’s a lighter, kid-friendly show that’s usually decent and sometimes excellent. I rate this show Recommended.

In/Spectre (Anime)

Title: In/Spectre

Episodes: 1-12

Two people whose lives are intertwined with the supernatural tackle the cases where both worlds collide. Kotoko is an energetic young woman who lost an eye and a leg to become the specter’s Goddess of Wisdom, whereas Kuro was tricked into gaining power. When an urban legend starts manifesting in reality, it’s going to take both of them and some help from Kuro’s ex-girlfriend to take it down . . .

I loved the manga, so I was really looking forward to this adaptation. That said, in many ways I feel this story does work better as a manga, as so much of it is about characters talking. To its credit the anime tries to make this interesting, and if you’re engaging with the back and forth of the logic it can still feel intense, but this is not really a typical action or mystery show.

The show opens with a solid first episode, then quickly dives into a smaller case that showcases a lot of the ideas that the later, larger case will tackle. Most of the season is tied up with the issue of Steel Lady Nanase, an urban legend come to life and growing increasingly violent as the rumors about her keep pushing a worst-case scenario.

The issue at hand is not the mystery—that gets resolved quickly. The real problem is that something is real that shouldn’t be, and telling the truth is only going to strengthen a killer no one will be able to stop. So the central question becomes how the three of them re-frame this whole mess to eliminate the belief that’s powering a nightmare.

Overall this is still a good watch, and one I plan to buy once it’s out. If you’re in the mood for a different kind of supernatural show, check this one out. I do hope there is a second season adapting some of the short stories covered later in the manga, as those had a lot of great moments, and the shorter format would probably work better with a show since there isn’t so much repetition. I rate this show Recommended.

Granblue Fantasy s2 (Anime)

Title: Granblue Fantasy season 2
Episodes: 1-12

Gran and his crew of skyfarers are continuing their journey aboard the Grandcypher in search of the lost island of the Astrals. But when the Erste Empire that has been pursuing them suddenly offers a truce, they decide this is one detour they can’t afford to miss. Even though everybody suspects there’s far more to this than what it seems.

Although I feel like this was weaker than the first season, I still enjoy the overall story. This season was more about digging into the various crew’s histories: Katalina and her training to become a knight, and what she abandoned to make this journey; Rackam and a childhood friend he no longer remembers, but who shaped his current life; and (surprisingly enough) even a bit of backstory for one other familiar face.

The based-on-a-game structure is far more evident here, as the Erste Empire and Gran have standoffs that just make no sense based on story logic so far (Noa’s arc in particular has me baffled that they basically let themselves be captured by ordinary soldiers instead of jumping off the balcony). That said, it still functions decently well as just a straight fantasy show, with the occasional nods to extra characters that make a bigger appearance outside the show.

My favorite piece of the story has to be Noa’s arc. Rackam is a middle-aged man who’s finally getting to live out his childhood dream—and when he meets the gentle engineer who inspired him, he learns there’s far more to even his own history than he ever guessed. Noa never spells out the details, but it’s clear that Rackam inspired him just as much as he encouraged Rackam, as the boy is the one person who never gave up on getting the Grandcypher back in the air, and who loves the ship just as much as its creator. (And it’s also sweet that Rackam, who has grown used to finding primal beasts, doesn’t reject Noa after learning he’s not human, but is willing to risk everything to save him.)

Overall, despite feeling more disjointed than the first season, I still liked this a lot. I rate this show Recommended.

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Anime)

Title: Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Anime)

Episodes: 1-12

Mile is hiding a secret: she’s ludicrously overpowered. When she died and was reincarnated in this world, she was offered her choice of anything she wanted. She wanted to be average, for once, to enable her to make friends this time around. But “average” turned out to be the average of all living beings, not all humanity, so her hunt for an average life has all kinds of problems.

The story setup could almost read like a joke about statistics: Mile’s insufficient explanation of “average” gave her everything she didn’t want in her next life. The not-so-funny joke, though, is that Mile’s unending quest for being average ends up with a show that’s basically exactly that.

Honestly if this wasn’t the only thing airing on Mondays I probably wouldn’t have finished it.

I read enough of the web novel to be interested enough in checking it out, but the beginning cuts out the entire first arc, so we begin with Mile having a forgettable encounter with a wince-worthy villain (who insists she just wants to collect children for non-sexual purposes despite acting like a dog in heat), and then jump right to hunter training, followed by their work for the Adventurer’s guild. This isn’t necessarily bad, but nothing about the setup or the characters really stands out.

The show tries to slide in a bunch of visual jokes to boost its lackluster plot, but this only works sometimes. Despite throwing some heavy backstory in for some of the characters, none of them feel like they grew or changed at all. In the last episode everyone’s basically in the same position they were at in the first one.

Some of this could have been mitigated if Mile’s story had been told in a more chronological fashion, as we could see her learning to open up to her first friends, resolving her family issues, and so on like it was in the books. As it is, though, there’s not much here if you aren’t already invested in reading the story. I’m also not fond of how every major character, from the innkeeper to the historian, is also a young girl, but that’s technically in the books too, so whatever. A more varied cast might have helped balance things out more. I rate this show Neutral.

Ascendance of a Bookworm (Anime)

Title: Ascendance of a Bookworm

Episodes: 1-14

Urano loved books more than anything else—so after she died and woke up as Myne, the daughter of poor working class parents in an era where books are a luxury only nobles can afford, she determines to make them herself. But the road to books is a long one, and Myne’s sickly body may not hold out long enough.

This is more of a drama than a fantasy, although magic has a few crucial roles, especially by the end. If you’ve read the books, this is a very good adaptation (though I wish the last negotiation towards the end had gotten more screen time instead of just a one-sentence summary).

Myne may think she’s in it for the books, but the heart of the show is her relationships with the people around her. She’s undeniably a strange one, but with the support of Lutz, a boy next door, and Benno, a merchant fascinated with the potential profit she represents, she introduces revolutionary concepts into her world.

But these are logical and realistic “inventions”: home crafts, recipes, and the like.

And her immediate family is also a real treat. Her dad’s undeniably infatuated with his daughters (and not in a perverted way) and loves his wife. Her mom does her best to be supportive, and her older sister Tuli takes on a lot of the burden of looking out for her little sister. It’s so nice to get a genuinely healthy and supportive family, who loves Myne even though they don’t pretend to understand her.

I still think the best moments are the surprise confrontations. Lutz figures out that Myne knows way too much for a girl of her circumstances, and their conversation about it is one big highlight of the season. It’s such a rarity for stories like this to have people honestly confronting their uneasiness about this familiar stranger.

Overall, if you’ve never read the books this is a great place to dive in (though I would still recommend them to get more of the tiny character building moments that just couldn’t fit in a show this long). It can be a bit slow-paced, especially at first before Myne’s world really opens up, but the lack of action is more than compensated for with the rich character drama. I rate this show Highly Recommended.

Demon Slayer (Anime)

Title: Demon Slayer
Episodes: 1-26

Tanjiro lost his family to a sudden demon attack—all but his sister, who was infected to become a demon herself. Determined to get revenge, and protect his sister, Tanjiro trains hard to become a demon slayer. But the road to mastery is long, and the demons are powerful . . .

It’s so nice to have a protagonist like Tanjiro, whose main personality trait can probably be summed up in “big brother.” He’s kindhearted enough to care for everyone around him, and he never loses sight of the fact that the demons he’s killing were at one time victims themselves to the same curse that infected his sister. But underneath that kindness is a steel determination to save the only family he has left, and he won’t back down from anything that tries to separate him from his sister.

If I have one complaint, it’s that Nezuko, his sister, has a very small role. She’s mostly either asleep or acting cute in a way that makes her feel more like a pet than a person. Hopefully future seasons will flesh her out more.

Inosuke and Zenitsu are two other novices that eventually join Tanjiro on his missions. Although both of them have annoying traits, they also both quickly show deeper backstories, and both of them contribute a lot to the more humorous moments. (Although Zenitsu is at times extremely annoying, as his main schtick is being a wailing  coward whenever he’s awake.)

Ufotable did a wonderful job with the visuals. The fight scenes are sharp, and the special abilities are done in traditional Japanese art style, which makes them look surreal and beautiful. It’s also a real treat to see Tanjiro go from a countryside that looks like a historical drama to the electric lights and trains of the big city. The modern citygoers have no room for “demon slayers”, not even realizing that the demons are walking among them.

Overall this is one of the standouts on nearly every level. The story is compelling, the art is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see where this is going next. (A movie is already announced for the next arc.) I rate this show Highly Recommended.