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.

November 2018 Free Time: Games/Series/Anime

With October out of the way you would think the scary month would be gone. But no! I’m getting married in January and so even though with each passing month my excitement grows, so does my anxiety and stress levels. Most of this month was spent with wedding details but I still managed to cram in hours of games and a few films. So, let’s begin with the games!

Games

Divinity

After months and months, possibly even a year of on and off sessions, I’ve completed Divinity: Original Sin on PS4. I’ll probably do a review at some point so I won’t get too much in depth here. I’ve just started the sequel too so I’m excited to see how it compares. One thing I will say though. I don’t recall playing a game that actually implemented different skill and class aspects as well as this. What I mean by that is, you get quests and you get class specific skills and spells. A lot of the time, the quests are designed so openly that there is a wide range of ways to complete your task. To a fault possibly! A lot of the time I would be doing a quest and I’ll teleport a thing to a place which would then let me progress in the quest. But I would later find a lever or get a key of a dying character that would have opened up the same progression as my teleport trick. Occasionally I would straight up think I broke the game or that I’ve completely gone off the quest path but sure enough I would end up completing the quest by sheer bumbling. The game is a parent on their phone at the park! It gives you the tools such as a bucket and spade and tells you to go and play. Now and again it’ll look up and say you should try doing this or that but for the most part what you achieve with what you’ve got is all depending on your imagination. It’s an interesting game and I’ll do a review in the future if you’re after more details.

Enter The Gungeon

Another game that I’ve had for ages and been on and off with is Enter The Gungeon. The past few days I’ve given it a proper go. I’ve been craving a rogue-lite game lately similar to The Binding Of Isaac and this fits the bill. For those that don’t know what the gameplay is like, it’s essentially a dungeon crawler with bullet hell mechanics. You kill enemies, get currency, find upgrades, kill the floor boss and progress to the next level. It’s randomised each time and certain progression carries over to the following runs. What I love about the game is it fully embraces the gun aesthetic! There are tons of guns to use each with wacky functions or homages to guns of different medias. The enemies are all gun themed, these include walking bullets with guns that fire bullets, bosses like the Gorgun which is essentially Medusa with Uzi’s. Even the loading screen is a revolver loading animation. The game is pretty challenging too! You really need to explore and gather new weapons otherwise the later floors are going to be a real challenge. There’s a huge game here but I love the fact that the game is simple to play though. It doesn’t tell you much about the Gungeon itself, you have to wade through that and find its secrets on your own but the controls are very basic. It’s a simple to pick up but hard to master game and it’s perfect for those quick play sessions that we all need sometimes.

Shadow-of-the-Colossus

I have to stop buying this game. We all have one. The games we keep buying on different systems. And Shadow Of The Colossus is one of those games for me. So far I’ve bought this on PS2, PS3 and PS4. And each time I fall in love with it again. This is one of my all time favourite games. The whole thing is a giant experience. The scale, the awe, the amazing and perfect soundtrack. Shadow of the Colossus is essentially a bunch of boss battles but each one is distinctive and memorable. Even the weakest colossi I remember more than most final boss fights in other games. I can’t praise the game enough. I think it’s unique, I love the near barren world and the little details you’re left to figure out yourself. The fact that each boss is basically a puzzle you have to solve and as you progress through the puzzle the music changes along with you. Just a masterclass in gaming in my opinion. I can’t wait to buy it again! And again! And again!

Series

The_Office_US

I haven’t finished any series in November but I’m still going to mention a few of them. Especially this one since it has 9 seasons and I’m just flitting in and out of it so I’ve no idea when I’ll finish it but The Office (US). My partner loves this show and I’ve not really been that bothered to watch it. I think because I found the UK version really cringey. I know that was the point but I wanted to gouge my eyes out while watching it. So I was pleasantly surprised to see the US version is more comedy than awkwardness. It’s a great show to watch if you want something light while having your tea or in the background. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

barry-ka-1920

A strange one I’m currently watching is Barry starring Bill Hader. I’m only 3 episodes in but so far I’m really enjoying it. It has that Dexter show dark humour about it which I’m a sucker for. Barry follows Barry who is a hit man that gets wrapped up in a job in Los Angeles. Circumstances happen which means Barry has to hang around the area which may not be a bad thing for him. During his hit he has to blend in with a local acting group and suddenly Barry feels something he wasn’t expecting. Has Barry found his true meaning in life on the stage? Again, if you liked Dexter I think you’ll like this. It has similar beats.  Barry lacks a lot of emotions but is an expert at killing. He has a code and believes in killing people who deserve it. And he has to have a fake face which he finds very difficult to achieve. The show has a good grasp on when to be dark and when to be funny. Make no mistake, there is quite a lot of grim violence but it all adds layers to Barry and why he is the way he is. So far, it’s a very interesting show and I’m definitely going to finish it. It also features Henry Winkler AKA one of the best character from Arrested Development so that might twist your arm.

Anime

attack_on_titan_season_2

I’m way behind but I’m closing the gap fast on Attack On Titan. I watched the first season when it came out years ago and I’ve just finished season 2 this week. It’s still a great anime. Got a bit slow at parts and a few characters got a bit too much screen time for my liking as I didn’t really care for their characters but I understand that it was building to something and I completely get it now. The Titans will never not disturb me and even though I got fewer answers than I would have liked, especially how the first season ended, I still appreciate that the plot has progressed and new revelations have come about. There are so many questions raised in this season alone though but I’m eager to watch season 3 and eventually find out some answers. Season 2: Highly Recommend

Jojo Part 5

One of my favourite animes is back, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part 5: Golden Wind! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this since I finished part 4. I needed my Jojo fix and actually read all the parts in their coloured manga form. So even though I’ve read this entire part, I’m still super excited to watch each episode and to see some of my favourite bits come to life on the screen. And come to life it does, it looks fantastic! So bright and colourful! You’ve got to love the Gang Stars too. All the crew are great and their voices perfectly match what they sounded like in my head. Some people put Golden Wind down and I can understand a lot of their complaints. I’m excited for Golden Wind mainly because it gets me closer to the later parts being released in anime form but that’s not to say part 5 is bad. I personally find the main character and his Stand power to be pretty bland in comparison to the other main characters and powers of other parts. Still, part 5 has some of the best Stand battles, the wackiest Stand abilities and I honestly do love the team. Narancia is a highlight for me and I can’t wait to see some of the future fights. Golden Wind: I’ll always recommend Jojo!

Random Recommendation

Super Best Friends

I’ve been following these guys on Youtube for…..I don’t even want to know how long I’ve wasted my time on these scrubs but the Super Best Friends Play are my favourite Youtuber’s and streamers. Matt, Pat, Woolie and the previous member Liam have some of the best gaming content out there. They love their games and if you ever check out their videos where they play series they love or anything with mechas fighting, you can tell how hype they get. They also host a podcast each week which I really recommend checking out. One thing I will say if you try them out, is if you don’t like them straightaway, try to stick them out a bit. The Super Best Friends don’t make it easy on their channel and I love and hate that aspect. There is a lot of inside jokes and references, stuff that I’d get after years of watching them but to newcomers it is just ramblings. Nevertheless though, if you just want a channel that will play through a game and will give their honest opinion of it, they’re perfect. They don’t ham fist it, they don’t scream at the top of their lungs, they don’t shill their content and they very rarely use cameras. It’s just a pure gaming channel. If you interested in trying one of their playthrough’s I highly recommend Beyond: Two Souls or Omikron. They have a massive hate for David Cage games, besides Detroit Being Human. Mostly because they see the potential in his games but they love when the story goes down the toilet or when his twists don’t make sense. It’s a great laugh.  If you’re a lover of fighting games, I also highly recommend their channel. Each Friday night they play a fighting game, both great or terrible games. I also recommend their Subreddit if you  are willing to try them. You will hardly find a better community and fanbase than the TwoBestFriendsPlay Subreddit.

Thank you for reading this post and feel free to comment your views or suggestions for me to try.