Anime Time! 3 Anime Shows I Watched Recently (Mini Reviews)

Something a bit different to my usual today. Lately I’ve been looking into new jobs and education prospects. I’m doing a lot of it, trying to figure out what work I want to do in life and just trying to better myself in general. It’s taking a lot of my time and between that, work and average daily tasks, I’m not in the mood to game. Nothing intensive anyway. Bit of Smash Bros here and there but lately in my down time I just want to watch rather than play. Anime has been my big filler there and so today I want to talk about 3 anime shows I’ve watched over the past few months. Rather than talking about gaming, something that I’ve been neglecting. I won’t be getting into major spoilers but basic story beats and plot elements will be spoken about.

Mob Psycho 100 Seasons 1+2

Mob Psycho 100

I decided to try this after starting One Punch Man season 2 and finding it’s animation very lacking compared to the past season. I knew Mob Psycho 100 was by the same writer and captured the similar feel of One Punch Man, a blend of comedy, action and a story. What I wasn’t expecting, was for Mob Psycho 100 to not only surpass One Punch Man, in my view, but for it to earn a spot in my top 5 anime shows. I was floored by how good this show is. Not just in terms of animation, which at times is stunning, but in the characters themselves. I’m not ashamed to say that there were times where I was getting glassy eyed when certain characters interacted with or supported the main character. This show had the capacity to have me laughing my bum off one minute and then feeling an immense sense of union and comradery the next. Before I continue to swoon over this show in more depth, I should explain the plot.

Shigeo or Mob as he is known to some friends, is a human with psychic abilities. He seems unique in this world at first but as time progresses in the show, the more and more esper’s start revealing themselves and ghosts start cropping up. In his day to day life he’s been told by family that he needs to limit his psychic usage so that he can be like everyone else. From a young age he seeks the help of a local esper named Reigen who runs his own psychic consultation business. Reigen actually has no psychic abilities whatsoever but is a confident conman, skilled at taking desperate people’s money in exchange for ridding them of their spectral problems as a self proclaimed psychic master. This is where Mob comes in handy and a place for him to use his psychic talents, who believes in Reigen’s abilities and dutifully follows his orders as his business apprentice. That is the core concept of this show. Most episodes are the duo’s business call outs but there are big overarching story line’s that take the show in a more serious and intense direction. The big appeal of this show, for me anyway, is Mob himself. Due to subduing his psychic abilities, it has allowed Shigeo to blend in with regular school life but has also helped to dull his emotions in the process, as he is unable to use his natural talents. This process has turned him into a bit of a loner and one that is unable to feel like a regular student. Because of this, Mob has difficulty with making friends and living a regular day to life.

Over the 2 seasons Mob’s life changes as new people enter his life, some friends and some enemies. What I love about this show is how Mob develops as a character when surrounded by these people in his life. It really is something amazing and his development is one of the most natural that I’ve seen in any media source. For a character that initially lacks a plethora of emotions, the show has huge emotional weight at times. This is aided by the supporting cast of characters who I honestly can’t find a weak link with. Each character adds something new to the show and the plot elements they bring never failed to amuse or enrapture me. Reigen especially deserves a mention. My favourite character of the show and the one who gave me the most belly laughs. I’m a sucker for scam artists in funny shows or films and Reigen is one of the absolute scammiest of scam artists. Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls is one of my favourite animated characters of all time and if you like Grunkle Stan, you’ll love Reigen. He’s the embodiment of a man in a world he doesn’t understand but his sheer attitude towards it is all he requires. His assortment of ‘special’ moves will always get a laugh out of me too. Also, the show has 2 of the best OP’s I’ve ever seen. Not important to this review but I highly recommend checking out the first one on Youtube.

Reigen

I fully recommend this show especially if you enjoy humour in your anime. I fully recommend it even if you don’t! The way it looks and the action deserve huge praise. I’ve never seen anything that made telekinetic battles look this good and intense. As mentioned, this is very similar to season one of One Punch Man and deserves more attention than what Mob Psycho 100 currently gets, more so than One Punch Man in my view. Super Recommend!

My Love Story!!

My Love Story

After Mob Psycho 100 I wanted to continue the comedy element into another show and My Love Story!! has been on my radar for a while now. I’m not a big romance anime/series person but My Love Story!! nicely balances the cutesy aspect with the tonal shifts and sharp edits that bring the chuckles to My Love Story!! I also felt a strong connection to the main character within the first episode and so maybe the emotional aspects hit harder for me than an average person but this series made me feel a wide spectrum of feelings whilst watching it.

Funny and endearing, My Love Story!! tells the story of Takeo a hulking beast of a student. A man of big stature, big features and an even bigger heart. Takeo wouldn’t be described as handsome but his stoic-ness and kind demeanour shine for those that are willing to give this, at first, scary looking mountain a chance. Takeo is a gentle giant and even though his close friends love and respect him, he’s never had a girlfriend, though he has fallen hard many times. Suna, is Takeo’s best friend and in an average anime, he would be the main protaganist. Smart, handsome and somewhat mysterious, Suna was always the attention of girls around Takeo and usually those that Takeo had developed feelings for. One day, Takeo spots a girl on his train being groped by a creep. As chivalrous as always, Takeo rushes to her rescue and upon seeing the girl’s face, instantly falls in love with her. Rinko, the girl he saved, also develops feelings for her saviour but as this is an anime love story, it’s not a simple affair. Rinko is incredibly shy and Takeo has complex’s due to his previous unrequited feelings. Thankfully this whole charade doesn’t outstay its welcome and even though there are more miscommunication mishaps throughout the season, I never found them to be infuriating. Takeo has every right to doubt that someone as amazing as Rinko would have feelings for him. Not because he’s a bad person, but because of the damage and insecurities his past feelings have wrought him. I resonated with that characteristic and perhaps that’s why this show got me as much as it did. I had self esteem issues in the past and when obvious signals or even flat out propositions were thrown my way I would have a hard time believing them or would just flat out dismiss them. I didn’t regard myself highly and so I couldn’t see how others could either. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve come to appreciate the qualities that I have to offer but Takeo really reminded me of how I was. Not in terms of sheer strength or courageousness but in his internal struggle and his ability to over analyse situations or to be oblivious to what’s practically spelled out. His naivety is his charm but a detriment to his happiness. But that’s what makes him a likeable character to watch.

Not only that but the supporting cast are great too, though the show mainly focuses on the 3 main characters. Which is a great thing as it gives Takeo and Rinko’s relationship substance. We see how they develop and how they each imbue one another with aspects of themselves. Rinko is lovely, shy and a kind person; Takeo is a lovable brute with a heart of gold and Suna is the perfect straight man for Takeo to bounce off of. There is great story elements to this trio’s interactions but what I really love is the humour between them. Takeo and Rinko’s internal thoughts and freak outs in their new relationship really put a smile on my face. If you’re someone who second guesses a lot or are just socially awkward in general, you’ll relate to these two. And then there is Suna who works best being Takeo’s support. Takeo is unrefined and clumsy when it comes to feelings and relationships. His constant harassing of Suna for advice is both comical and touching to see. Two very different people but it’s easy to see why they’re best friends and why there friendship has lasted so long. The show does a good job of switching up story beats or changing the focus of the episodes to one of the three main characters. Romantic tropes don’t play for too long and the series has a good balance of serious episodes with humour to flat out comedy episodes or character development arcs.

Takeo

At only 24 episodes, My Love Story!! tells the beginning of a relationship, a sweet tale between two individuals who deserve someone who thinks the world of them. This is a pleasant show to watch and it does a great job of making you feel happy inside. It’s a charming watch and one that has some of the best quick cut gags and intensely comical face shots that I’ve seen for a long time. As this came out in 2015 and only one season was produced, there isn’t much finality to the show. The last episode could be seen as a regular arc ending and so I was a bit disappointed that a second season wasn’t made but that can’t be helped really. An enjoyable watch but just be aware that you see the start of a blossoming relationship but you won’t see the end. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the journey is very enjoyable but be prepared to feel a small void in your heart when the last episode ends. Highly Recommend.

The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland

This anime got a lot of attention at the start of the year and I always thought about checking it out. I knew it involved kids in an orphanage and that there was a mystery element to it but that’s all I knew really. The term, psychological thriller/horror was also chucked around and this seemed right up my alley. I love when a basic concept or real life situation is twisted in a unique way. The Promised Neverland definitely has that going for it and isn’t shy about the horror element.

For those that haven’t heard of the premise, I’m torn on describing this series. I think a big part of the impact I felt when watching the first episode was the reveal of the main plot. It’s something that I feel should be seen rather than read or heard. BUT! What’s the point of this paragraph if I don’t explain it? The basic version: the story centres on 3 orphans in an orphanage as they uncover the mystery surrounding their orphanage and their lives. If you are intrigued by this synopsis then I recommend reading no further on in this mini review of The Promised Neverland. The main mystery is revealed in the first episode and so I’m going to talk a bit more in depth about basic plot points of the first few episodes as it’s hard to explain this show without more detail. Last chance to avoid basic spoilers, skip ahead to next paragraph if you want to remain in the dark about this show. SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST FEW EPISODES NOW: As I mentioned, the plot revolves around 3 orphans. These orphans find out that their orphanage is a produce farm essentially, for weird monsters. Their caretaker who they refer to as Mother is in contact with the monsters and essentially rears the children for slaughter. There is mention of other farms and it is revealed that the smarter a child is, the better their quality is. What follows is the children trying to escape their fate and their effort to uncover the secrets of the world outside their knowledge. Before we get into non-spoiler territory, Sister Krone scares the hell out of me! That smile of hers *shudders*.

neverland1

The series is a really cool concept and for the most part I enjoyed it. My main gripe I had was not with the mystery or the revelations, but with the 3 main characters themselves. They are said to be 11 years old and the smartest children at the orphanage. Maybe because I was dumb as an 11 year old and so I find it hard to believe but their deductions and observations seem too unrealistic for three 11 year olds. That being said, I was never an A* pupil and I’ve never been in their situation. That kind of scenario would have the brain firing on all cylinders but I still have trouble with their intelligence. It’s weird given the surrounding story that that is the aspect I find hard to believe but they are three mini Sherlock Holmes apparently. But, they were raised in a different situation to me and so I can’t be correlating their mindset to mine but that is a minor gripe of mine. That being said, I do think this is a promising start. What I do love about this series is the way it builds dread. With intense camera angles, close up’s of characters in crisis and the occasional first person view, The Promised Neverland does a great job of building terror in this seemingly normal orphanage. It’s one of the best anime series I’ve seen, to really make me feel uneasy or concerned for characters. Not a series for the weak of heart. If you don’t mind a bit of unease in your life then I recommend trying The Promised Neverland! At only 12 episodes it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in the concept. Solid Recommend.

And that’s that! I haven’t been writing much as I mentioned due to lack of gaming and time but hopefully I’ll get back on track soon. In the meantime let me know your opinions on these anime series and if you know of any anime similar to them then please let me know. I’m in the mood for more great anime series/films as I’m currently re-watching all of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and I’m getting close to the current airing part so I’m in need of new things to watch! Recommendations are always welcome. Thanks for reading and take it easy.

October 2018 Free Time: Games/Films/Series/Anime

What a terrifying month we’ve had, full of spooky shenanigans but also a fantastic month for games and a particular show I want to talk about. So, here are a few highlights of my month.

Games

yakuza-2-3-1024x576

I completed Yakuza 0! Over 90 hours and according to the end game statistic I hadn’t even completed 70% of the game. It is a meaty game. I’m planning on doing a review soon so if you’re on the fence about it, feel free to check out my review when I release it. I finished it just in time for this month’s big release……

Red-Dead-Redemption-2

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been taking up my time like a lot of gamers lately. I’ve not played a lot of it but it is great so far. I may do a post in the future on it but I just want to say how fantastic it looks. The environment and the small details Rockstar have put into the game really imbue the world with that lived in feel. So far, a great sequel (prequel I guess) to the first one.

Films, Shows and Anime

Incredibles-2-

The Incredibles is one of my favourite Disney/Pixar films. The Incredibles 2 however just couldn’t live up to that for me. This isn’t a bad film, it’s forgettable, it’s definitely not incredible. It sits with Monsters University and Finding Dory for sequels that don’t amaze me but are entertaining to watch. It’s worth a watch and has some very funny moments but it lacks the same level of quality that its predecessor has. My major issue with it is I didn’t have any love the villain. Syndrome in the first one has a great history with and reason for hating Mr.Incredible. Not only that but his motivations are understandable but misguided. A hero is only as good as their villains and when the villain is lacklustre then everything around it is. Other than that the sequel just felt unfocused compared to The Incredibles. Disappointed but still a decent couple of hours. Average

Haunting-Hill-House-Featured

I was blown away by The Haunting of Hill House. A horror show done right. It is a classic haunting story. Family moves into a new house, weird shenanigans occur and then the frights start happening. Classic horror film setup. But by turning the story into a show, all the characters involved get to show their individual trials during and after the haunting. The show takes place in flashbacks and in the present day and does a great job of merging the two. During the early episodes each family member gets an entire episode to themselves and the creators don’t let it go to waste. Each character is fleshed out and honestly, a few of the early episodes were some of the best I’ve seen from a series in a long time. The scares were done very well too. They were sprinkled in just enough. The scares were a variety too. A lot of dread but jump scares too. It had a nice mixture and didn’t rely too heavily on one kind. I am actually sad that the show is over. I can’t praise it enough. Super Recommend

Fullmetal-Alchemist-Brotherhood-Header-001-20160702

Last month I mentioned watching FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and being close to finishing it. Within the next 2 days I watched over 20 episodes. It hit a stride that really gripped me. Safe to say that this is a fantastic anime. The troubles of the Elric brothers, the amazing supporting characters and it’s ability to blend drama with comedy just make it such an intriguing and enjoyable watch. Highly Recommend

erased-featured

Last month on my September article, a blogger by the name of Nerfd recommended me a few anime series to try. Erased was one of them. The concept immediately grabbed my attention. I’m a sucker for minor time travel in any media. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Timecrimes, Triangle. Anything that has time travel usage in small ways compared to going thousands of years in one direction. Erased, itched that itch sooooo good. First episode spoilers incoming. Our main character recalls of a time when he was a child and a string of children abductions and killings happened. Recent events leads him to believe that the killer is still on the prowl and that a person had been wrongly convicted. The protagonist has the ability to travel back in time to his former self and what follows is him in his school boy body trying to solve the killings with his adult knowledge of what took place those years ago. If he succeeds not only could he save those of the past but also prevent further fatalities in the future. I really enjoyed this show. It’s bleak but it has a nice injection of charm and humour in it. Also, without trying to spoil it, the mum is a top tier mum in anime. I really liked her character and just how she interacts within the story. My only negative is that I felt the last 2-3 episodes were a bit rushed. I would have appreciated another few episodes but that is a minor qualm. Highly Recommend

Random Recommendation

Today I thought I’d mention the book or audiobook, John Dies At The End by David Wong.

john_dies_at_the_end_0

This book is half horror and half dark humour and it blends the two nicely. It follows Dave and John, 2 loser best friends as they experience weird happenings after they are affected by a strange substance they refer to as Soy Sauce. It’s a great read and I’ve read this several times now. Essentially it’s 2 guys who have no business being the main characters getting mixed up in weird, otherworldly stuff in the town of *Undisclosed*. It’s stupidly bizarre and one of the few books that I legitimately laugh at. If you want something sinister and occulty with a good laugh, you can’t go wrong with this.

Anyway, that’ll do it for this month. Feel free to share your views or recommendations in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Dead Space: 10 Years Ago I Screamed In Space

10 years ago on this day in North America, Dead Space was released. Do you feel old yet? I do. I remember playing this on the day it came out in the UK. I also remember playing this at night and then realising I’m too much of a coward to continue. The next day I returned however and continued my romp from the Ishimura.

With it being Halloween I thought it was only fitting to briefly talk about this fantastic and genuinely scary game. Dead Space was a 3rd person horror/action game by the studio now known as Visceral Games. Rather fitting name don’t you think? It originally released on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

The game closely resembles the Alien franchise specifically the 1st one. As a side note, Dead Space 2 continues this pattern as it was more action focused like Aliens. The gameplay is over the shoulder similar to Resident Evil 4. In the game, we played as Isaac Clarke, space engineer as he journeys through the Ishimura, a planet cracking vessel.

The story is very basic but works well with the atmosphere. This is a game that wants you to feel isolated. Isaac boards the ship as he had received a distress message from his partner, Nicole, who was aboard the vessel herself. When Isaac boards the ship all he finds is desolation, bodies and the Necromorphs.

Necromorphs

Necromorphs are a fantastic monster design. Throughout gaming we’ve been told to inflict pain on the head for big damage or aim for the biggest target, aka the body, usually. The Necromorphs are beings that you need to dismember to take out. Arms and legs are the first to go as these nightmares are dangerous but also agile.

Dead Space stands out because it did so many things different. It was horror in space which surprisingly was a barren zone for games. Isaac wasn’t a space marine, he was an engineer and the weapons he used were modified space tools. He didn’t board the Ishimura with intent to kill. He just thought the ship was malfunctioning and he’s the man to fix it. As I mentioned, there is little story or dialogue as the developers wanted the player to feel alone and vulnerable. But what they did put into their game, was oodles upon oodles of unease.

Mild spoilers for this game. I highly recommend you play it if you haven’t. Throughout the game Isaac catches glances of his partner Nicole. As you progress these sightings become more strange and unnerving. I won’t spoil it but the team did a great job with this aspect. And if you want an extra spoiler/tid bit have a look at this article from last year Trivia- Dead Space: Chapter Cryptology

Dead Space, for me, is a template for horror/action games. What it really hit on the head was the atmosphere and build up. You don’t go in guns blazing and the first hour of the game might be one of the scariest and most oppressive hours of my life. The creaks of the ventilation system (which the Necromorphs use to get around the ship), the mad scribbling’s on the walls and the lack of sound in the game just gives me that paranoid feeling where I’m inching around corners.

dead-space-limbs

Dead Space will forever be on the mantle of games that scared the hell out of me. It’s quite a crowded mantle but Dead Space is one of the best and its sequel is a fantastic follow up, building on the psychological aspect magnificently. I really do hope we see this series again some day. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on Dead Space in the comments.