Friday, July 19, 2019

RobiHachi: Complete Series

Age Rating: 14 and up
Rating: 8 out of 10
Episode Count: 12
Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy, Adventure
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis: "Down-on-his-luck Robby Yarge is about to go from deep trouble to deep space! After a second encounter with Hatchi Kita ends with him on the run, Robby decides to make for Isekandar, a planet that promises happiness. But when he finds Hatchi stowed away on his ship, the two will make the journey across the stars together! Can these total opposites survive a trek through space?"

Hue's Review:

It’s a road trip… in space! Wow, well that was the easiest review I’ve ever written. Let’s go solve world hunger with all that time we saved deciphering the inner workings of this series and waxing philosophical on them! Kidding, sort of. In all seriousness though, RobiHachi is probably one of the most straight forward anime I’ve ever watched. It’s not that it’s one dimensional necessarily, as its story does reveal certain facets of its characters pasts, it’s just, how can I say this without insulting a series I love for its superficial story, shallow morals, cynical world view, and snarky characters? With RobiHachi, what you see is what you get, but in the best way possible.

It’s not hiding any psychologically profound pearls of wisdom, out to impart any inspirational insights, or leave you with any life changing realizations. RobiHachi lives a streamlined life (Hit it! “Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worry and your strife!”), with a single all consuming goal… take the audience on the intergalactic journey of a life time.
Ordinarily a story so simple that it can be summed up in a singular succinct sentence (Dang, my assonance game is on today!) would end up getting boring after the first two episodes, but not RobiHachi. Considering we’re a few hundred years off from intergalactic tourism, I’m fairly certain that even if I had the opportunity to travel to the furthest reaches of space, my journey wouldn’t turn out even half as entertaining as Robi and Hachi’s.

Actually, upgrade that. Journeying to the icy, soul sucking vacuum we call outer space would be the opposite of a fun vacation. Forget reaching altitude, I get motion sickness just riding in the back seat of the car. Survival would be the main, not to mention, the only, activity on the roster. There’s nothing to do once you’re there, aside from slip into depression as you asses how small and insignificant you are in the grand scheme of the universe. And don’t even get me started on the food situation. I’ve eaten rations… they are not the gourmet meal plan I expect when I’m on vacation.

In comparison to the abysmal travel plan our galaxy offers to space setters, RobiHachi’s world is a boulevard of unbroken dreams. A landscape of psychedelic vistas, endless tourist traps, unforeseeable adventures, and unforgettable locals all provided RobiHachi with the road trip itinerary of the millennia. It didn’t need a whole lot of flash, or even substance for that matter, to make it a story worth watching. It had all the makings of an amazing journey right off the bat, with a complementary cast of compelling characters. Sharing everything from palpable unspoken chemistry and witty banter, to aggravated insults and bro-mantic bonding time, Robi and Hatchi’s relationship is really what gave this series legs.

Spackle whatever plot holes you may find with an array of flippantly fun side stories, throw in a love crazed debt collector hot on your tail for good measure, and finish it all off with the most abruptly enjoyable ending in the history of space—that’s RabiHatchi. This series lives by the credence that the journey is in fact the destination. Is it simple? Heck yeah! Simply entertaining as all get out.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Sarazanmai: Complete Series

Age Rating: 14 and up
Rating: 9 1/2 out of 10
Episode Count: 11
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Drama
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis: "The setting is Asakusa. One day, second-years in middle school Kazuki Yasaka, Toi Kuji, and Enta Jinnai meet Keppi, a mysterious kappa-like creature, who steals their shirikodama and transforms them into kappas. "To return to your original forms," Keppi tells them, "you must fight the zombies and take the shirikodama from them." Can the boys connect with each other and steal the zombies' shirikodama?! This is the story of three boys who can't connect with someone important to them, learning about what it truly means to do so."

Hue's Review:

If ever there were an appropriate time for me to use the colloquialism, OMG, it would be now. I’m in awe, not only of what this series became from its humble, head scratching beginning, but how downright obsessed I became with its unpredictably riveting story, double take characters, and perverted potty humor. I’m still trying to figure out just how it ended up becoming so near and dear to my heart. I may not have been the only one who fell in love with Sarazanmai’s unique brand of charm, but it would appear I was the only one who wasn’t initially shocked and dismayed by its more… sensitive areas.

I doubt anyone would have been all that gob-smacked at its characters unorthodox (Can I call it a magical boy transformation?), if they knew the true nature of a Kappa. Despite their portrayal in anime as being relatively feeble yokai, often used as comic relief or filler characters, if you ever cracked open a book and read up on the legends, fables, and night terrors that inspired the yokai, you’d find out that the Kappa is by far one of the most frightening. I won’t beat around the bush folks, it likes to sneak up on people and suck a particular organ out of their…ehem… posterior. Nuff said.

Judging from the description, its director, not to mention the bombastic bombardment of comments swirling around social media regarding it (I tried to avoid the spoilers, I really did, but they found me anyway!), I knew long before I decided to give it a shot that I was in for a rollercoaster ride experience.

In fact, I was SO confident about the information I was being fed by the media that I nearly passed up watching it, for fear it would be too… let’s just go with too. My curiosity far outweighed my concerns though (Thank God, I’m not a cat!), so I pressed on and decided to give Sarazanmai a fair shake.

Regardless of my in-depth knowledge (Seriously, once you know what a Kappa does, you’ll never look at any yokai the same way again.) of its subject matter, not to mention the bevy of fans blasting spoilers at me from every direction, Sarazanmai still managed to surprise and bewilder me at every turn.
  • Liberated story narrative
  • Trippy plot, that had to be penned while eating mushrooms
  • Unorthodox and oddly detailed animation
  •  Ear worm OSTs
  • Fascinating relationship dynamics
  • Indescribably likable characters
  • Bang on English dub
  • With its crowning glory being perverse, pop culture, parody humor

I haven’t watched a series as surprisingly creative, adorably compelling, and strangely sensible as this since Cute High Earth Defense Club Love. Despite its bubble gum appearance and obscenely creative (accurate) portrayal of kappas, it displays a maturity and understanding of storytelling I’ve never seen in a series of this nature before. It’s mature for a distinctly different set of reasons than most series, and does so while remaining ridiculously funny at nearly all times.

As I continued to see people tweet and comment throughout its run, “I came for the crazy, but I stayed for the plot,” I couldn’t help but wonder how many people missed out on this hilariously insightful series because of its audacious and awkward premise.

Sarazanmai evolved from a cashgrab meme, into a modern statement piece. One I can no longer imagine the landscape of anime without. It made me laugh, and it made me cry, but most of all it made me think. Not only about what it means to connect, understand, and relate with others, but with what it takes for an anime to be qualified as a serious, cinematic piece of art. Just because something doesn’t bolster the over exaggerated tragedy of Full Metal Alchemist, the guts and glory of Attack on Titan, or the moralistic high ground of My Hero Academia, doesn’t mean it can’t carve out its own path.

If you’re looking for a series you can truly and effortlessly connect to, look no further than Sarazamai!

Friday, July 5, 2019

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Season One

Age Rating: 13 and up
Rating: 10 out of 10
Episode Count: 24
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy, Isekai
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis: "Corporate worker Mikami Satoru is stabbed by a random killer, and is reborn to an alternate world. But he turns out to be reborn a slime! Thrown into this new world with the name Rimuru, he begins his quest to create a world that’s welcoming to all races."

Hue's Review:

Ah, remember that time you got reincarnated as a slime? That gelatinous feeling of squishing through a moist dungeon absorbing whatever you came across just to while away the hours. Yeah, neither do I. Thankfully, Rimuru does remember that time! Vividly in fact!

I have serious doubts if this review will inspire someone to watch this series--mainly because almost everyone has already seen it. But since I don’t want my absence of a review to imply anything to the negative, and on the off chance someone has been denied the pure illation of watching this due to their own snobbery, I thought it best to cover all my bases.

For a low key series, it sure did create a lot of uncontrollable excitement, and is it any wonder why? 


  • Clean, no nonsense animation with a flair for the nostalgic
  • OSTs that sound as if they were ripped straight out of your favorite video game
  • Sensational, one-of-a-kind, endlessly entertaining story
  • Pretty as a peach and pleasant as punch plot progression
  • Mischievous sense of humor
  • Understatedly off-beat, massively memorable characters you’ll want to surround yourself with merchandise of
  • Downright cute, surprisingly realistic relationships
  • Brisk, but brief, battles
  • Exceptionally well done English Dub
  • And the best lead character of the year (2018)

Who wouldn’t fall head over slime for it?

I know the main concern people had when going into this series, and yes, that’s right, it is an isekai. But don’t stop reading! It’s gotten to the point you can’t hardly mention the genre without the community recoiling in meerkat like unison, and with good reason, but I can assure you, you have nothing to fear from Rimuru’s band of rambunctious companions. He’s a good slime…slurp.

I’m not sure what abysmal station it was chugging along towards before it made its way onto the scene, but That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has single handedly set the isekai genre back on the right track.

Despite isekai starting out as wildly creative and entertaining, it has devolved into glorified slice-of-life harems, plagued by regurgitated clichés. Because of the rigid idea of what makes an isekai an isekai, I can honestly say that That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is much less of an isekai than it is a fantasy/adventure. With large parts of its story revolving around world building and networking, it’s as if this series actively looked at the genre it was using as its springboard and went, “Why don’t we own up to everything the genres become by continually doing the opposite, and understatedly poking fun at the series that have conformed?”

This series goes beyond self aware, and borders on omnipresent. It’s so bloody brilliant it deserves a Mensa membership. Fights that you expect to take hours last mere seconds. Characters you resolve to being driven by hate and revenge walk in perfect forgiveness with nary a chip on their shoulder. Potentially antagonizing villains are slain less with swords than with words, quickly making amends and becoming allies.

This series is never pretentious or put on. It doesn’t implement preplanned emotional catalysts just to tug on your heart strings or pat itself on the back for promoting some admirable moral. The things about it that strike a chord or teach a lesson do so by accident, not by design.

Best of all, it unknowingly promotes the amazing message of cultural understanding and forgiveness through its continual congregating of past enemies turned current allies. Seeing so many races other series have shown at war, come together to work, eat, play, and rest because of their mutual respect for a single person, shows the power and charisma of Rimuru.

To quote myself:      
“Never has a series progressed so uninhibited by the usual trops and plot devices of the genre. I’m sure a lot of people would argue that the dark fantasy of Goblin Slayer remains a more original adventure than the light hearted buddy-buddy take on the genre that That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime employs, but I personally loved the fast paced accumulation of comrades, and swiftly shared memories this series went for when conveying its adorably compelling story. Cue Smash Mouths, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Instead of relying on cheap tricks like fan service and forced events to lure in its audience and propel the story forward, this self aware anime banks on its characters and generally jovial nature to be its driving force.”

Much like the characters in it, Rimuru effortlessly got the anime community to rally behind him, as proven by the medley of merchandise being rolled out for it, as well as its second season already having been green lit. Some may be able to outdo it in action or animation, but when it comes to adventure, That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime, is quite simply the best!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Howdy Hiatus!

That’s right party people, it’s that time of year again! That time when the smell of sunscreen permeates the air, the laughter of children abounds, and I take my annual vacation.

If you’re a long time reader you saw this coming, but if you’re a newcomer then you’re not aware that I take a two month hiatus every summer from my blogging, and have every year since I’ve begun. Usually I take two consecutive months off (June and July), but last year, due to IRL obligations, I had to split it up into two segments with a working month wedged between. This method seemed to work out better for all parties involved, so I’ve decided to bring it back this year.

The schedule will go as follows:
  •  June: off
  • July: on
  • August: off
  • September: back to regularly scheduled programming

By coming back mid vacation in July, I should be able to do a Summer First Impressions article, which I’ve previously been unable to do because of when my hiatus pockets into the year. I also plan to make July a theme month as well.

As usual, I’ll be taking my time off to reenergize myself, reinvigorate my creativity, and rekindle my love for anime (though that raging inferno of passion I have for anime could never be even remotely close to snuffing out) in preparation for tackling the remainder of the year.

As for you guys and gals, whether you’re working on your tan, pursuing that illusive summer romance, or busting your buns at a part time job in order to earn enough coin for that autumn release pre-order, I hope you all have an amazing anime filled summer!

Until July!


Friday, May 24, 2019

My Roommate is a Cat: Complete Series

Age Rating: 13 and up
Rating: 8 out of 10
Episode Count: 12
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Drama, Comedy
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis: "The story of Mikazuki Subaru, a novelist who is shy and struggles in relationships with other people, and a cat who was dumped by humans and lived a tough life on the streets. Through a twist of fate, the two of them end up living together. This heartwarming tale illustrates day-to-day life through the eyes of both man and cat. These moments seem trivial, but as they build upon themselves, the two become family and find happiness in their life together."

Hue's Review:

It’s finally happened people! I’ve been converted. That’s right, I’m officially a (deep breath)… CAT PERSON! And it only took one incredibly charming kitty-centric series to do it. Wow, my resolve really must have eroded over the years.

Considering that I’ve been allergic to the sweet little fur balls since an early age, and have been moonlighting as a dog trainer since the age of ten, not to mention my mother’s relentless distain for them, the fact I’ve jumped on the kitty cat bandwagon is borderline miraculous. It never even occurred to me that the demeanor and general personality of a cat would appeal to me, an antisocial home body, more than the energetic and emotionally needy conduct of a dog until I watched this series.

I never so much as entertained the idea. After all, what’s the point of coveting an animal you can’t possibly have? But because of this series and several friends’ cats, I’m a hair’s breath away from adopting a hypoallergenic fur baby of my own. Even my hard hearted mom has started to warm up to the little lions we keep in our living rooms.

My Roommate is a Cat cuts straight to the heart of what makes a pet such an impacting and meaningful force in our lives, and vice versa. With a single glance they let us know… they understand. With a touch of a paw they tell us… we’re never alone. And with a voice deprived of a language, they still manage to say, “I love you.” In the reverse, with every can of food we open for them, we reassure them, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.” And with the mere tone of our voice when uttering words, “I love you,” they know they’re our family as much as we are theirs.

This series showcases the powerful bond between pet and human, and human and pet, and the sheer number of encounters/opportunities that can stem from the simple relationship we share. Without stumbling down a melodramatic rabbit hole, or even over exaggerating the situation, this series takes undeniably possible scenarios that could (and usually do) unfold when you have an animal in your life, and dissects the emotion that surrounds them from both the human and animal’s point of view.

When I first saw this series opening it conjured the image of a fantastical story about an author who lived with his talking cat, or perhaps even a tale of a shut in who’s only form of escape was to imagine traveling to distant lands through the books he reads, his constant companion his faithful cat. Instead, I was met with the simple set-up of an introverted, all be it passionate, socially awkward author, coping with a significant loss, and learning to live everyday life with his newly adopted family.

Despite the great fun that I would have had watching a series about a talking cat taking adventures, I seriously doubt that story would have impacted me the way this one did. Not a single episode of My Roommate is a Cat went by without me shedding a tear, and resisting the urge to go adopt a furry family member (allergies be darned!).

It’s tender and tentative characters, soft and reminiscent animation, subdued and relaxing OSTs, sincerely compelling story, and serene aura never failed to end or start my day on a high note. Despite its simplicity, and all the peace and emotion it ushers into the room, My Roommate is a Cat is a series you’ll find yourself dreading to reach the end of, because if there’s two things the world will never have enough of, it’s anime and cats.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Quintessential Quintuplets: Season One

Age Rating: 14 and up
Rating: 8 out of 10
Episode Count: 12
Genre: Harem, Fan Service, Slice-of-Life, Romance, Comedy
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis: "
Uesugi Fuutarou, a high school second-year from a poor family, receives a highly appealing offer to work part-time as a tutor... but his students turn out to be girls from his own class! What's more, they're quintuplets... and all five are beautiful, but happen to be problem students who have borderline grades and hate studying! Looks like his first assignment will be to win all the sisters' trust?! Every day is a wild party in this rom-com centering around the quintuplet sisters of the Nakano household!"

Hue's Review:

I never thought I’d end up enjoying, not to mention horribly missing, this series as much as I did. It’s a bit awkward to admit, considering how severely I'd devalued it in the beginning, but I watched it almost religiously while it was airing. So much so, that I would prioritize watching it weekly over all my other simulcasts.

My initial assessment was that it would just a run-of-the-mill, harem rip off of The Royal Tutor. I know some might argue that the setting and circumstances make that comparison hard, seeing as one is set in modern day Japan while the other’s backdrop is a fictitious 17th century European country, but the basic premise fell close enough within the same wheelhouse for me to connect the dots.

I’ve seen enough harem/fan-service anime to know not only how predictably pedestrian they can be with all their staged scenarios, overt innuendoes, and over the top camera angles, but potentially raunchy they can get. Because of that, I’m always braced for the worst when checking them out. Astonishingly, my worst fears were not met. As a matter of fact; my worst fears were served a warm glass of milk, lovingly tucked into bed, sung a lullaby, and put to rest with the nightlight on.

Although I can’t deny that The Quintessential Quintuplets is indeed a harem anime, it’s by far the most demure harem anime I’ve ever encountered. It emphasizes the progression of its story, and more over, the connections of its characters over everything else, only throwing in the overused cliché in order to validate its standing as a harem/fan-service series.

Its story actually progresses with a purpose and destination in mind, unlike a lot of fan-service stories that just meander about looking for an excuse to keep going, but never find one. Its characters, which are its crowning glory, feel as if they were paid special attention to when being designed, both physically and mentally. Despite falling into a basic character type at first glance, they all showcase the deeper, more three dimensional, layered aspects of their personality as they move the story forward.

Setting it even further apart, not a one of the less than book smart but sure as heck street smart, titular heroines fall for our leading gent right off the bat. Most of them are actually real (rhymes with tall dusters) to him at first.

Our leading man isn’t a pervert or a prude, a hero or a villain, or kind or mean. He’s pretty much your average high school boy, just with a lot more responsibility weighing him down than most. He can be inadvertently rude in one moment, only to say something awkwardly sweet in the next. And though primarily focused on getting good grades and making ends meet, when push comes to shove, he can get distracted by the pretty girls in his tutelage.

The Quintessential Quintuplets really makes an effort to come across as realistic and wholesome as possible, while still conforming to its genre. In addition to all the thought it put into setting itself apart, it offered its audience:

·         Crisp, well defined animation
·         Lighthearted, smile inducing OSTs
·         Creatively cheeky comedy
·         Surprisingly sweet, sentimental, sincere story
·         Well plotted pace progression
·         Contemporary characters that still ring as familiar
·         Heartwarming relationships that evolve before your very eyes
·         Warm inviting English dub

Its intelligently inspired ending was the cherry on top, leaving me thinking that this would be the last I’d see of The Quintessential Quintuplets…and Futaro. I was nearly elated to hear this would be getting a second season in the near future. I can’t wait to spend more time with this genuinely one-of-a-kind harem anime. If you’re looking for a harem/fan-service series with true purpose and meaning behind its existence, look no further than The Quintessential Quintuplets.

Friday, May 10, 2019

1st Impressions: Spring 2019 Anime Season

Sorry for the delay on this season’s First Impressions. There’s a whole story behind why it took me so long this time around, but I’ll spare you the power point presentation and just leave it at the fact that there were technical difficulties. And to further respect how long it’s taken me to get this written, I’ll skip the usual rigmarole of introductions.

Fruits Basket
Streaming on FUNimation & Crunchyroll
This is without a doubt among the top three most important anime to ever influence my life. It virtually shaped my adolescence from the moment I was introduced to it, and the lingering effects of my time spent memorizing every word, note, and image of it still remains to this day. 

Usually watching an anime’s first episode is a one shot deal, but Fruits Basket has given its fans the once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience that initial thrill of meeting to be repeated. I went into this first episode with a kind of reverential respect I’ve never previously carried into a premier. I wasn’t prepared to pass a hasty verdict, or on high alert for positive or negative elements, I had a complete piece of mind, because I knew exactly what I was going to get from this series.

To call this premier anything less than magical would be an atrocity. It brought all the tender sweetness and raw emotion of the original series, while completely revitalizing its out-of-date animation and fleshing out its previously underappreciated scenery. If this were the only anime I watched this season, that would be okay.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Streaming on Crunchyroll & FUNimation
I know nearly everyone was pretty stoked about this title, but I wasn’t quite picking up what its key art and official synopsis were putting down. The story sounded cliché and overhyped, while the character designs set my teeth on edge. I didn’t want to potentially miss out on what may in fact be one of the best series of the season though, so despite my gut instinct, I decided to give it a shot.

Behind Tanjirou’s soul-less eyes is a kind spirit and resilient nature that I immediately took to, and despite the over used premise, Demon Slayer brought a certain level of rugged grit to the genre I haven’t seen before. This episode gives you a feel for its characters’ pasts and present, while foreshadowing their future, without going so far into any of them that it feels bogged down.

As first episodes go, this one was top notch, and went a long way in winning me over, but only time will tell if me and Demon Slayer have a lasting relationship laid out before us, or just a boulevard of broken dreams.

Wise Man's Grandchild
Streaming on FUNimation & Crunchyroll
I was expecting a lot less from his premier than what I got…as most people probably were. My first reaction was of course the dreaded, “Uhgggg, not another half baked isekai?! I thought That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime and The Rising of the Shield Hero had broken that unfashionable trend?!”  I’m not even sure why I gave this series the time of day considering all the red flags it was popping up, but I’m actually glad I didn’t listen to my better judgment this time around.

Call me anime trash, but I actually really dug this first episode. I was engaged, entertained, and best of all, left wanting more. What more could I ask of a series? Of course I doubt Wise Man’s Grandchild will leave any lasting mark on the anime world, but I personally find the most solace after a long hard work week in sitting down to watch the superfluous clichés of a series like this, and for that reason alone, I feel pretty confident in committing to this title. #HueAnimeTrash

Fairy Gone
Streaming on FUNimation
Unlike most of you, who not only seemed to see this series coming from a mile away, but had in depth knowledge (not to mention mad faith) of how incredible it would be, I’d never even heard a whisper about Fairy Gone until Caitlin Glass announced she’d be handling the dub. Hype aside, I always check out Caitlin Glass directorial titles, so this was a no brainer addition to my watch list.

How was I to know just how accurate what little hype I’d heard was true? Brilliant story narrative, compelling plot, intriguing and likable characters, memorable OSTs, smashing animation that utilizes the best of both traditional and CG artwork, riveting fight sequences, and of course, a bang up job on the English dub.

Alongside Fruits Basket, this is the series to watch this season, literally and metaphorically. If I could only watch two series this spring, this and Fruits Basket would be it! There’s little to no doubt in my mind that Fairy Gone will make it on to many, if not most, anime fans Best of 2019 list…mine included.

Streaming on FUNimation
I was getting some serious Swiss cheese vibes from this series right off the bat, and that’s never a good thing. Granted, the premise has merit, and the characters aren’t completely abysmal, but the animation is touch and go, the plot progression is sketchy, and the story is iffy at best. Anyway you cut it; I can’t see how a series that’s already racked up that many points against it in its first episode can pan out well.

I’ve watched enough premiers to know when a series is popping up waste of time flags all over the place, and this one was lousy with them. Now, there’s always the chance I’m completely wrong, and the series drew the short straw when it came to its first impression, so if you’re interested in After Lost, don’t let me stop you from checking it out. Just know I won’t be joining you on whatever slapdash journey this series plans to clumsily whisk you away on.

Streaming on FUNimation
Based solely off the cut of this series jib (in laymen’s terms, the way it looks) I knew it wouldn’t disappoint! Think Space Dandy’s off the wall antics, meets Double Deckers characters and relationships, meets Outlaw Stars setting.

I don’t think there was a single thing I would have changed about this episode. I loved it all! The relationship dynamics, crisp psychedelic animation, unpredictable plot progression, fun characters, silly story, and out of this word English dub. Seriously, whoever’s handling this series script adaption…you deserve a raise!

This premier perfectly introduces you to its lead characters, all while laying a sturdy foundation for its story. I can already see RobiHatchi becoming my third favorite series this season, and my weekly chuckle fix. Don’t miss out on what may become the comedy of the season!

The Helpful Fox Senko-san
Streaming on FUNimation & Crunchyroll
So its Dragon Maid meets Kokkuri-san? I’m down with that! This episode was exactly what I thought it would be. Twenty some-odd minutes of light hearted, easy breezy, playfully purvy, adorable slice-of-life, demi-fox antics. I can’t say there was anything all that remarkable about this premier, aside from its exceedingly well cast and directed English dub, but it did manage to put me in a nearly comatose state of relaxation, which may in fact be this series ultimate strong suit.

Considering its small principle cast, I can’t say a whole lot about any characters aside from the titular Senko and Nakano, who admittedly, make a pretty sweet couple. They’re both pretty mellow, as is their story, which so far has entailed showing how stressful and unfulfilling Nakano’s daily life is (get in line pal) and how Senko’s presence at the end of a long day makes up for it.

Hopefully that won’t be all there is to the story, as I could see watching an office worker come home to eat a quiet meal with a fox every night episode after episode could start to wear on the nerves rather than repair them. Seeing as its first episode was so cute though, I’m going to give this title a few more installments before passing final judgment.

Kono oto Tomare! Sounds of Life
Streaming on FUNimation
I think this was the series I was least looking forward to, although I’m not entirely sure why. It might have been because I just wasn’t in the mood to watch yet another melodramatic, angsty teen slice-of-life set around a school club, but any way you look at it, my watch list was coming up short, so regardless of how I felt, I pressed on.

Kono Oto Tomare was quickly shaping up to be exactly what I’d expected, until… Chika entered the scene. His character instantly changed the entire dynamic of the story and rerouted it in a much more entertaining direction. The idea of watching an unapologetically wimpy nerd struggle to keep his Koto club alive not because he loves it, but because he has nowhere else to go and he promised his upper classmen he would… yawn. The idea of watching a loud, brash former delinquent try to change his life and reconnect with his family by joining the club his Grandfather founded… sensational!

I can already see some of the many avenues this story could go down, and I like them all.

Senryu Girl
Streaming on Crunchyroll
I’m not usually into this sort of thing, but the whole Senryu plot twist really struck a nostalgia cord in me, so I decided to give it a shot. My mom taught me how to write senryu poetry when I was a kid, and we went through a phase of writing a bunch of (horribly ineloquent) poems for awhile, so I have found memories in it. It may have been the warm fuzzy sense of nostalgia that inspired me to give Senryu Girl a shot that made its premier such an enjoyable one.

Simplicity in motion, Senryu Girl takes your normal slice-of-life plot and infuses it with an unorthodox premise, coupled with cute comradely, giggle inducing comedy, and an eloquent art form. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the nostalgia I feel while watching it will be more than enough to keep me coming back for more. Plus, the characters seem really sweet, and I get the feeling there’s actually a lot of room for growth in its story and friendships.

Streaming on Crunchyroll
I’m not sure if anyone, aside from me, was all that interested in this, but I was pretty pumped about it. The art and premise kinda reminded me of Touken Ranbu, which I’ve really been missing lately, and the prospect of watching something like it, that wasn’t actually it, got me all giddy inside. Plus, it’s been a hot minute since I watched a bishonen, and regardless of the story’s topic, a healthy infusion of eye candy is never an unwanted addition to my watch list.

This premier episode plays out a lot like Touken Ranbus’, giving you brief glimpses of all the characters, while mainly focusing on getting to know the leads. They also slipped in a short, but nonetheless riveting, fight sequence, and outlined both the primary slice-of-life premise of the story, and the more serious action driven subplot.

The plot is easy to follow, while the story remains intriguing. The characters are real sweethearts, the fight scenes prove very promising, and the animation is straight up pretty. All in all, I’d say Namuamidabutsu Utena is off to a smashing start. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of its characters better, and seeing where the story takes them. My only hope is that more people take notice of this series before it becomes 2019’s most underappreciated series.

Midnight Occult Civil Servants
Streaming on FUNimation & Crunchyroll
I had a feeling this was going to be a bomb long before I pressed PLAY, but, as is the case with so many series this season, I gave it shot anyway, and man was I glad I did. Despite its one dimensional, monochromatic key art, and seemingly overdone subject matter, among a medley of incredible premiers, Midnight Occult had one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable and well done premier of the season.

With its cast of instantly identifiable, likable characters, it won me over to the dark side with its afterhour’s animation (that came out naughtier than I meant it), and it downright impressed me with a twist of an ending I never saw coming, as well as tickling my ears with a lovely dub.
I wanted to binge the whole series by the end of its first episode, so it goes without saying that I’ll be sticking to this baby like glue for the foreseeable future. 

Despite the bumpy start I had this season, once I got into the swing of things I found this spring to be loaded with more goodies than an Easter basket. Sorting the good eggs from the bad nuts was far harder than I’d anticipated, but that only made the hunt more enjoyable.

As I say nearly every season, I think there’s a little something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the gritty action/horror of Fairy Gone or Demon Slayer, the soothing slice-of-life relaxation of The Helpful Fox Sanko-san, the bust-a-gut comedy of RobiHatchi, the predictable adventure of The Wise Man’s Grandchild, the head scratching mystery of Midnight Occult Civil Servants or After Lost, or the life affirming drama of Fruits Basket, I’m sure everyone can find something to satisfy their genre craving this season. I know I’ve got more than enough on my plate to keep me happy.

Until next time.