ブレンド・S | Blend S: 1-3

I know this anime, Blend S, aired two years ago, but I still haven’t finished it. I have a lot of notes, so bear with me. Let’s do this!

The main character, Maika, has a hard time finding a part-time job because of her condescending appearance. I know it sounds weird, but her eyes just have that particular look, that makes her seem disdainful when dealing with customers. And since the customer is our bread giver, that’s not exactly a valued trait at most establishments.

This is a problem until she arrives at Stile, a café half full of otaku, where the waitresses act out certain archetypal roles while serving the customers. There’s a tsundere (Kaho-san), an imouto (Mafuyu-san) and Maika-san earns the sadistic role for her eyes.

The whole anime is less about the inner workings of a café and more about the character mechanics. For that reason, let me quickly introduce the five who appear in the first episode.

The main character, Sakuranomiya Maika, is a sheltered youngest child of a wealthy, traditional Japanese family. She tends to speak in polite forms of verbs, making her down-putting edicts even more so. Unfortunately this singular characteristic can’t be translated into English very well. Continue reading

結城友奈は勇者である | Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero: 1-3

While searching for kodama in anime, I came across this magical girl series. One middle-school Hero Club usually helps out in their community by finding homes for stray kittens, putting on plays for kindergarten children or cleaning up the shore. As it turns out though, the club has a mission bigger than that.

As always, there will be SPOILERS for the first three episodes!

In the first episode, the girls are chosen to protect the Divine Tree and through that the world. They transform into magical girls and take on their first enemy.

Virgo Vertex

On the other side of the equation are the Hero Club members. Continue reading

ゆるキャン△ | Yuru Camp

Yuru Camp (or Laid-Back Camp in English) aired this last winter. We finished it soon after it aired, but I had been just so busy that I didn’t start writing a review until the summer. So here it is, half a year later.

Rin Shima likes camping, but minds the people, so she goes camping mainly in the colder months. During one of her trips she meets Nadeshiko Kagamihara, a dummy who just moved to the area and wanted to see Fujisan as it’s portrayed on the back of 1000¥ bills. This encounter spurs Nadeshiko to try camping. Together with the (two) members of the Outdoor Activities Club at school she ventures into the great outdoors.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a slice-of-life anime, my favorite genre. After three episodes I was thinking “It’s a nice slice-of-life, though a little stupid. Definitely not a must-watch.” But after the fourth it suddenly clicked with me and the regular length episodes were too short. And less stupid. (Even when they wrapped one of the girls in aluminium, bubbles and cardboard. See episode 4.) From the fifth episode onward it was amazing.

Before hitting the fourth episode I complained to a friend that the anime doesn’t have much to add to my life and he said:

It made you read the manga, mission accomplished.

He was alluding to the fact that a lot of adaptations are made to make the viewers buy the original manga. So as long as it made them read the manga (from a legal source, preferably), it has accomplished what was expected of it.

Yes, I have read a little of the manga in preparation for the review. Compared to the manga, the anime is more, well… animated. Most of the jokes go over much easier in motion, even though the content is pretty much the same.

Word of warning: As always there are spoilers and a lot of screenshots. Continue reading

Why Did I Even Finish THAT?

I want to share a small list of anime I completed and rated 1 or 2 on MyAnimeList. Because even if I rated them this low, they must have some quality that compelled me to finish them.

One Room Special: rated 2

This is a recent addition to the list. By itself it wouldn’t be as bad, but it’s just three short scenes word-for-word from the first season, where the girls wear swimsuits instead of their normal clothes.

Four minutes of disappointment, as one MAL reviewer called it.

The whole franchise is pretty bad, actually. It got a lot of publicity, because Kantoku did the character designs. The art style meshes with his and so it’s pretty, but there’s little animation work. The concept of visual novel-like shorts is interesting as well—we see everything from the protagonist’s point of view and we never hear him talk. So you’re supposed to insert yourself and your voice into the void.

The main reason I finished this is that it’s only 4 minutes. You can do a lot in 4 minutes, but I don’t value my time much. Another reason would be that I have watched the first season. Continue reading

夏目友人帳 陸 特別編 | Natsume’s Book of Friends 6 Specials

Although I haven’t seen the sixth season yet, I watched the specials. Not like it matters much with Natsume’s Book of Friends, since the episodes are usually stand-alone stories.

As always I will spoil the anime, so be sure to watch it first! It’s only 46 minutes including OP and ED.

The Stump of the Ringing Tree

A hundreds-years-old ginkgo tree had been cut down in the neighboring town. Natsume and Nyanko-sensei meet the spirit of the tree while going to buy sweets. The spirit is soon to leave this world, but knows he’s forgetting a promise. Continue reading

すすめ, カロリーナ. | Susume, Karolina.

I enjoy art of all kinds and because of that follow quite a number of artists. One of them is Matheusz Urbanowicz, a polish artist who lives in Japan and draws amazing (mostly) watercolor scenery. While Mattō himself is an interesting topic, today I want to introduce you to his latest creation, Susume, Karolina.

Susume, Karolina. is a three-minute animation about Karolina Styczyńska, the first foreign (as in non-Japanese) female, who was able to become a professional shogi (Japanese chess) player.

It was written and directed by Mateusz Urbanowicz, who also did the backgrounds. The music was handled by Hanukkah Nakamura and the rest of the animation was done by Studio Colorido of Fumiko’s Confession. The sponsor is CalorieMate balanced food.

Please watch the video—preferably twice, the first time without captions to take in the beauty and the second time with the captions, in which Karolina explains the scenes.

Continue reading

First Impressions: Room Mate

Room Mate is a shorts series related to One Room which aired last season. When I reviewed One Room in Backlog: Week 10, I wrote:

The main character, you, interacts with three girls one after another. Everything is from his/your POV and you only hear one side of the conversation, the girl’s of course. The animation is nice, but the plot is very simple — it’s just like every other visual novel. All the girls like him/you. Boring really, but the girls are cute.

I was expecting Room Mate to be just like that, but with bishounen. What is my opinion after the first three episodes? Spoiler warning! Continue reading