Why Main Characters Sometimes Have to Lose (Redirect)

Despite the potential satisfaction of seeing the main character succeed, sometimes a loss is far more beneficial than a win.

Hey, I wrote another featured article for MAL. I had planned to write it for a while but only really started 3 or 4 months ago (We have a pretty long backlog). Either way, it’s out now! You can click the link below to be taken to the article on MAL itself. Thanks, I’ll see you guys again soon.


Re:Zero 2 Episode 9: Accepting Death

This was written immediately after I watched the episode and is merely a collection of my unfiltered and unedited thoughts on the episode. If you disagree or found something else, please say so in the comments, I’d love to hear any other opinions. Spoiler warning moving forward.

The majority of the 9th episode was spent meeting the rest of the witches. While it was somewhat satisfying to get a chance to understand all of the witches a little, what there was to understand was underwhelming. All of the witches are very shallow. This should be completely expected as they’re all characters absolutely lost in one trait, a sin specifically. They don’t come to any big conclusions that can be followed down logical nightmares the likes of which a lowly human couldn’t comprehend, but more one, specifically sinful, attraction that they happily let control their entire being. For many, such as the healing one, this came across as utter incompetence. Though she’s a witch, she seems devoid of all thought together and just spouts out her feelings. This hardly makes a good impression of what a witch could be, a devilish and powerful being that merely resides on a different level intellectually to humans, though still being able to meet them at level consciousness like Subaru and the first white haired witch. Now, it feels almost as if the seriousness has been taken out of witches. If these are the absolute best/worst figures of sin and dangerous power, how can we take them seriously when one is a literal child and really only one is even as stable in terms of consciousness as most humans? Maybe my own expectations were too high, though that would only be a result of the show’s mistakes in accurately setting those expectations up. 

The most serious of the witches, the witch of gluttony, seemed to actually provide commentary on the show’s and our own universe. As a society we often move away from the idea of killing others to survive, though we must as a species kill billions of animals to survive regardless of what we would like to do. Obviously we can always strive to hurt less animals and I believe that that’s the right direction for our society, but Re:Zero has no intention of addressing things like vegetarianism or other ways of reducing animal cruelty in its commentary, and the rest of this paragraph will follow those same terms for the sake of analysis. On those terms, killing other beings is necessary, and eating is the literal manifestation of this. We must literally consume other living beings’ bodies to fuel our own for only a short amount of time. Gluttony is the shameless consumption of one’s desires. The witch of gluttony, thus, seeks to challenge this lack of shamelessness in society. The reconciling with the necessity of killing to survive is paired with the idea of recognizing the animals we must inevitably kill as fully conscious, at least in terms of emotion, and we are in the end no more superior than the rest of them. As a species, we have risen above and dominated these animals, but the understanding of the cruel force we impose on them is the only way to be truly humble as a killer. As society has rejected gluttony, the witch of so is angered and feels no remorse in the killing of them with the 3 Mabeasts. The Mabeasts are a manifestation of gluttony, the rabbits having literally no other objectives than eating more animals and being incapable of acting otherwise. They are a shameless form of pure gluttony to contest the lack of such in the rest of society. In the end, the witch accepts everything as having natural interaction and does not reject the inevitable outcome. When Subaru asks her how to kill her beasts, she happily gives him information in confidence, despite Subaru having already killed the white whale. She recognizes the outcome of all of this and is not upset at him for the death of the white whale, as it was just another species with equal opportunity. It must kill to survive and so must Subaru. While the two don’t necessarily have to kill each other, this is the crux of the witch’s drive, to accept death by others’ hands as a fair end to any living being. She herself is dead, and while I’m certainly not familiar enough with the lore to comment on the circumstances of her death, it’s at least a connection to keep in mind as the story progresses. 

An extension of these ideas of accepting death is presented by Echidna, though it hits much closer to home for Subaru. Though there is no limit to the uses of Return by Death, the consequences of its usage becomes apparent when you introduce others close to Subaru being lost to those cycles. Subaru still holds onto hope as Rem must be able to be saved since he has a checkpoint after her being “erased”. This hope is defied when Echidna explains to him the actual reasoning behind his powers as completely reliant on the witch and not himself. If Rem or someone else is not included in the witch’s vision, there is nothing about Return by Death saving them, and Subaru must deal with the consequences of that loss regardless. If he were to make another choice, other people would die instead. As inferred by the witch of gluttony, the witches have a pure and unbiased view of all life forms’ interactions, though they are welcome, as anyone, to attempt to interfere with this process as much as they see fit.

The witch of pride does… something with Subaru. The result of which is that he’s apparently not a bad person, but sees himself as such. She then comments on how he is a poor soul for being this way, being a good person that is burdened with others yet still being hurt by the guilt of thinking you’re a bad person. This is Subaru’s reality. He is hard on himself. While he doesn’t scrutinize over tiny details, he recognizes every negative action he makes as such and basks in the full depth of its consequences and mental anguish. He has a superhuman awareness of everything happening in the world around him and his effect on all of it, and thus, must suffer immensely in the full recognition of all of his mistakes multiple times more than anyone else except for a witch reasonably could comprehend. This is part of what makes his character so interesting, he is granted with the knowledge of a witch yet must reside on Earth alongside the rest of humanity. 

This post was a little out of the ordinary for me. Even though I’ve never been a stickler for the actual quality of my writing as my intentions are to just improve and to have an outlet, I was never a fan of posting anything that I was unsure about. I’d rather only publicly point out things that are as close to objective as you can get, things that would naturally be easy to understand and thus require less technically proficient writing to convey effectively. This post just disregarded that and was a quick ramble I slapped onto the page cause I thought it would be fun. Again, I’d love to hear other thoughts in the comments.

Yuri!!! on Ice: A Failed Masterpiece

Yuri on Ice is one of the most compelling stories in anime, here’s how its over-ambition nearly ruined it.

Yuri on Ice is one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever watched in anime. The unmatched passion put into the show by its director/creator, Sayo Yamamoto, can be seen in every aspect of the show. The main romance is amazing and absolutely deserves a second season to be fleshed out more. The same can be said for the rest of the cast. This is one of the most ambitious shows in the entire medium, so here’s how that ambition nearly killed it.Image 2020 06 12 003.png

The start of Yuri on Ice focuses heavily on Yuri’s anxiety. The failure he suffered at the last Grand Prix Final left him utterly defeated. He’s embarrassed after the poor end to a season and minutes into the first episode we see him sobbing in a bathroom stall. His anxiety isn’t at all new though. It’s made apparent almost immediately that he’s been struggling with his mental health for years, the focus of which being his performance anxiety, which is what caused his big loss at the Grand Prix.

Yuri!!! on Ice – 07 – Random Curiosity

This anxiety is, strangely enough, part of the reason Yuri is such a good skater. For most of his life, he would skate as a way to cope with this anxiety, often practicing for hours. His childhood crush, Yuuko, tells Yuri that she’d expected him to be depressed after his big loss. He replies that he was at first, but started to deal with it by copying one of Victor’s old performances . He continues, saying “During the years I was gone, I tried to ignore a lot of things by focusing on skating”. This is further supported by his sister and ballet instructor, who both tell Victor that Yuri often practices whenever he feels anxious or overwhelmed. Because skating is his way of coping, Yuri has spent thousands of hours practicing over the course of years and he can skate at the absolute top-level of his field. The one thing holding him back and causing results like his recent flop being his performance anxiety. Though he has the skill necessary to win events, he doesn’t have the mental strength to capitalize on this, which is where Victor comes in.

taekook⁷ on Twitter: ""don't ever take your eyes off me"… "

Victor is Yuri’s hero. Yuri’s covered his room with posters of the champion and got a nearly identical poodle which he named after him. Yuri sees him as a god among men and the earlier parts of the series makes sure we know this. The very first scene of the show is Yuri describing how Victor constantly surprises him. For the first episode, nearly every single scene with Victor shows him through an unrealistic lense of success. He’s only really shown on TV, being flocked by fans, or winning a competition.

viktor nikiforov, screencaps, yuri on ice and victor nikiforov - image  #6663666 on Favim.com

The first time we see the two alone, Yuri sprinted through the house, literally knocking down a table in the process just upon hearing he was visiting. His frantic running is interlaced with sexualized shots of Victor entering the hot springs, and his greeting to Yuri is just as dramatized. He’s portrayed as cool and attractive to show Yuri’s incredible respect for him, and it establishes their initial relationship well. Though they’ve been performing on the same stage for years, Yuri doesn’t believe that they’re on the same level. He’s in denial that Victor would coach him. Victor is in a completely different world, and Yuri hasn’t yet seen him as another person, but more as an unreachable idol. Though Victor initially makes many attempts to get Yuri to open up, they’re all shot down without second thought. This is the anchor for their romantic relationship moving forward. Victor must break down the walls between him and Yuri, building his confidence and shaping him into a stronger person in the process.

yuri-on-ice-05-5 - Lost in Anime

In episode 3, Victor rhetorically asks Yuri why he performs poorly despite having the skill necessary to dominate in competition, the answer being his lack of confidence. Victor follows this up with saying it’s his job to instill that confidence within Yuri. Victor isn’t supposed to just be a coach. He’s a partner who must work on Yuri not just as a skater but a person as well. This is why their relationship works so well. Victor needs to coach Yuri mentally more than physically, and to do that, he needs to understand and connect with him, which is already part of building a healthy relationship.

Yuri! On Ice: 5 Ways Victor & Yuri Are Perfect For Each Other (& 5 Ways  They're Not)

One of the most important scenes for Yuri and his relationship with Victor happens in episode 4 where Victor takes him on a pseudo date. Though hesitant at first, Yuri starts to tell Victor a story. He and a friend were both in a hospital to support someone when she went to hug him, which he responded to by physically pushing her away. Victor starts to ask questions and Yuri slowly opens up more to him, starting to talk about his friends and family. He always felt comfortable with his family in Hasetsu because they trusted that he was strong and could keep growing as a person on his own, they didn’t assume he needed their help for everything. When Victor asks him what he should be to him in terms of support, he responds by saying to stay the same. He always looked up to Victor and found it difficult to approach him because he was scared. Now, he’s slowly started to realize that he’s comfortable being friends with him. “When I open up, Victor meets me where I am… I shouldn’t be afraid to open up more”. The second part of the quote being immediately after when he makes a big decision about his next season’s choreography. Not only has this one conversation between them solidified them as more than just skater and coach, it’s helped Yuri see the importance of having confidence and putting himself out there in all aspects of his life. This is maybe the best part about their relationship, being able to see Yuri improve through Victor over the course of nearly a year, completely evolving by the end of the series.

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Episode 3, the episode of the competition between the two Yuri’s, is where I start having conflicting feelings about the show. Both Yurio and Yuri make great progress and development here, highlighted by an exceptional training montage. Yuri first realizes that eros, the theme Victor assigned him, doesn’t necessarily require a focus on sex. He has no sexual experience and is initially clueless as to how to perform the piece. However, he realizes that Victor is looking less for the idea of sexuality, and more the feeling of attraction itself. Instead of being tunnel-visioned on sex, Yuri imagines his favorite food, describing the loss of reason and self-control that comes with hunger. With this, he understands Victor’s first lesson, finding good inspiration. It’s the entire reason Victor took a break from professional skating to coach Yuri, he was out of inspiration for his own career and found it elsewhere. This part of the arc does wonders showing us Victor’s effect on Yuri, but the next part of his evolution is even more influential.

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After finding Victor’s ambiguous costume from a prior season, Yuri gets an idea. Talking with Yuuko’s husband, he tells the story he saw in Victor’s performance of his eros choreography, that of a playboy seducing the most beautiful bachelorette in a town before casting her aside and looking for someone new. They both agree that he just doesn’t fit the role of the playboy. Victor, recalling his prior ambiguity, makes Yuri realize that he can more easily identify with a girl than the playboy. The scene then cuts to Yuri asking Minako, his ballet instructor, for special training, which we can assume is teaching him to skate femininely.

Yuri!!! On Ice (TV Series 2016– ) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

While up to this point this was fine, the show finds the need to need to shoehorn explanations for this in the middle of the performance. Some may not have picked up at first what Yuri’s “special training” was about, but the show’s explanation was a flashback in the middle of his performance asking to be taught to “move in feminine ways”, even interrupting the music just for a few second flashback. This was unnecessary and interrupted an otherwise great scene for Yuri’s development. Absolutely anything else would’ve been a better way of handling the explanation, and this disregard for the delicacy of climactic moments sadly doesn’t end here.

Yuri on ICE | Yuri!!! on Ice Wikia | Fandom

If it was only a one-off thing it would be fine, but Yurio’s performance suffers from the same mistake only minutes later. Yurio makes a similar realization while reflecting to himself under a waterfall with Yuri, that his grandfather is the closest to agape he can think ofl. The gentle, unwavering affection he has for his grandfather is his only understanding of love, and a huge part of his development throughout the rest of the series is finding love in the rest of his life so that he may incorporate it back into his performances.

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Yurio’s thoughts during his performance and his disappointment at the end for “not giving his grandfather the performance he wanted” is more than enough to explain the significance of his grandfather, something that was already alluded to. However, Yuri not only comments on Yurio’s unusual vulnerability during the waterfall scene where Yurio is thinking about his grandfather but while thinking about him being an “ever-evolving monster” realizes that “oh, that’s where he changed” along with another intrusive flashback to the waterfall in the middle of his performance, again interrupting the music, all of this coming minutes after it’s already been made clear to the audience. Again, anything would’ve been better than this. The main character realizing something well after the viewer is already a problem, but interrupting a climactic and important scene was possibly the worst place to do so.

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Episode 5 is where some of the worst problems start to arise. Each episode from here on out features tons of skating performances of all the side characters. This sounds fine at first, but ends up completely detracting from the main plot of Victor and the two Yuris. Suddenly, we’re introduced to an overwhelming amount of side-characters. The show has gone from 3 main characters and a small but strong supporting cast to 2 mains and about 30 side-characters.An all-star cast - Yuri!!! On Ice | Anime, Anime love, Yuri on iceCouldn’t find a good one from the show so here’s a bit of fanart by Ichigo Kurosaki

This ends up taking so much away from the main aspects of the show and is maybe its worst flaw. While Yamamoto had originally planned for a 24 episode show, she was cut to 12 episodes after already having planned out everything. While this would normally either mean only covering half of the plot and leaving the rest of the content for a second season or cutting a ton of less important content and characters, she was unsatisfied with the idea of compromising on her work. This was her passion project, everything was perfect in her head and she had no intention of leaving part of her vision up to chance. Her solution was to include all of her original planned content but squeezing it all into half of the episode-count. The result of all this was 30 characters, 2 performances from the majority of them, and as much development as they could possibly get squeezed into only 7 episodes, leaving only scraps of time for the main characters. This leaves Victor and Yuri horribly undeveloped with way too little screen-time, essentially none for Yurio. 

Yuri chasing Yurio ~ Yuri On Ice ~ - YouTube

In episode 7, well into the main tournament of the series, the problems mentioned earlier come back to haunt it. Some of the best scenes in the show were nearly ruined by the overambition of the staff. An incredibly important scene for Yuri’s development shows him destroyed by anxiety, but only for literal seconds before moving on to other skaters, seemingly at random. Every different skater has a different story and program that portrays wildly varying emotions, but they’re all thrown next to each other. While occasionally this works well and it certainly does wonders for the watchability of some of the slower episodes plot-wise, not every unique set of performances just happens to fit in with the main plotline.

Yuri!!! on Ice Ep 5-8+ Ep 10 Review – the big question – bonutzuu

One of the most emotionally impactful scenes in the entire show, encapsulating Yuri’s anxiety, his relationship with Victor, and his journey as a skater all in one scene comes up mid competition. We’re shocked as the viewers by not only Victor’s crazy attempt to help Yuri through his worriedness but Yuri’s heart-wrenching response. He cries, screaming about what he wants Victor to be to him. Only seconds later, the show cuts to the goofy goth guy’s performance intentionally portrayed as a comedy scene. I’m not exaggerating, the show went from one of the most important and emotionally impactful lines in the entire show to a comedy scene with zero consideration of its effect on the main plot.

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Disregard for the importance of these climactic moments seems to be a big theme. The majority of skating programs in the show are used multiple times. The big boy performance itself, “Yuri on Ice” is skated 5 or 6 separate times in full and loses most of its weight by its final appearance in the last episode. Yuri Plisetski is the opposite side of this coin, having his programs spread out and showing insane improvement between each occurrence, whereas Yuri’s 2 programs need to appear for every single one of the 4 different competitions. Big moments are handled sloppily as they’re haphazardly squished between the rest of the characters’ performances, which themselves often play like filler. The impact lost because of the complete disregard for the importance of each scene gets really frustrating, and consequentially makes the main plot difficult to get invested in.

Review/Rewatch, Yuri on Ice Episode 8 — Yuri vs Yuri! The Horror!!  Rostelecom Cup, Short Program | The Amazon Iowan

One of the best yet sadly underdeveloped aspects of the show is Yuri Plisetski. Though episodes 1-3 treated him like a main character, he ends up barely more developed than any of the other side-characters by the end. As mentioned earlier, the show is filled with good but unnecessary content that’s completely unrelated to our 3 main characters, leaving Yurio especially neglected despite being possibly the best character in the whole show. He’s a strong 15-year-old who has a lot of experience for his age, landing quads yet being confident enough to win his last year at the Junior World Series without them. He’s disconnected from his emotions and aggressive towards others, pushing away many who would otherwise likely befriend him. This is explored well for a few select episodes, showing his gradual opening up to Yuuko, Otabek, and even Victor and Yuri to a point. However, most episodes don’t even feature him and his total screen time is embarrassingly low.

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“Yuri Plisetski had the unforgettable eyes of a soldier”. Yurio is confident and strong, but too young to effectively deal with the more complicated aspects of his emotions. He wants to appear just as competent as he knows he is, but he’s scared to let others get too close. However much this has to do with the complete absence of both his parents is unaddressed. Regardless, he’s scared of opening up and must learn to do so to build the expression and emotion in his performances. Through finding people to connect with, during competition and off the ice, Yurio discovers that the love he once only related to his grandfather can be found nearly anywhere, and he becomes stronger through the realization of this love. His absolutely incredible final performance is the culmination of all this (spoilers for which ahead).

Yuri!!! on Ice - 10 - Lost in Anime

After being told Yuri Katsuki might retire, he’s able to put on the most emotional performance of the show, upset that Yuri thinks win gold once and then retire. Though Yuri was set to win the Grand Prix, Yurio became enraged and put on a world-record performance to just barely beat out Yuri.  His coach and ballet instructor don’t comment on his skill after this, but his strength which they relate entirely to the love he’s come to develop over the last year. By opening up to others and coming to a greater understanding of love, both Yuri’s are able to put on the best performances of their entire careers, an amazing ending to the series.

rt ur yuri plisetsky on Twitter: "Yuri Plisetsky (STOP THIS IS HURTING ME)…  "

Nearly all of the problems in Yuri on Ice come down to its overambition and disregard for anything standing in the way of a complete realization of Sayo Yamamoto’s vision. While a hypothetical 24 episode Yuri on Ice would’ve been nearly perfect, things can’t always turn out as intended. Though there are plans for either a movie or a season 2, they can’t possibly mend the damage done to the original. Either way, the show is still amazing. Despite all I’ve said about it, it’s one of my absolute favorite anime and I don’t expect to ever lose that love for it.

Victor Nikiforov | Yuri!!! on Ice Wikia | Fandom


Shokugeki No Souma S5: How to Ruin a Sequel

Shokugeki no Souma is back for its 5th and (probably) final season. The show is currently being delayed by Covid-19, but we still have 2 episodes to unpack. They’re… not pretty.

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The first episode is a copy-paste filler episode that provides nothing new to the series. While in its first couple of seasons, the show was inventive and unique. The setting and strange methods for “battles” allowed for a cool shounen that wasn’t bogged down with the usual battle formulas we see time and time again. After 73 episodes of this, I’m pretty done. I’ve seen Souma be cocky and dominate the competition, Megumin be awkward when realizing she’s more talented than she believes, and some random underclassman challenge Souma for no reason too many times to count.Image 2020 05 28 117

I get that the show needed a way to warm up for the start of the season, but this felt like a waste. Taking over a restaurant and needing to meet a quota while being disadvantaged because an advisor just feels like it is nothing new. I would’ve loved if the first episode explored the nuances of being in the Elite 10 or show off some interesting side characters (I said interesting, black-haired freshman whose name I don’t remember). However, we got the same cookie-cutter exam we’ve seen nearly every season.Image 2020 05 28 049

Speaking of reoccurring problems… stakes. I’ll be brief here as there’s already a good video out there talking about them in the show. To put it briefly, Shokugeki no Souma tends to make the stakes for losing expulsion. This ironically lowers the tension as the viewer knows that there’s no way any of the main cast are getting expelled for more than an episode or two. This is only one example, but you can imagine how similar situations apply to nearly every big event in the series.Image 2020 05 28 074

For the first episode of the new season, the only danger was failing the exam, which obviously wouldn’t happen. In the second, there was absolutely no chance that Souma wouldn’t qualify for BLUE. Since the cast is so spread out with such sparse development, there wasn’t really anyone else for us to root for outside of just whoever’s personality we like most. Neither of these episodes had any reason for the viewer to care and I found myself a bit bored. Surely the bigger overarching conflict of the show introduced at the end of the episode will provide some actual stakes, right? Nope, it’s just an unofficial “friendly competition” where there’s absolutely no consequence for Souma losing. Image 2020 05 28 133

My last hope was just to be able to enjoy the fun cast. Food War’s characters have always been a strong point of the series, but they’re starting to get a little tiring. The same dynamics and personalities that have been a part of the show since season 1 are still here and haven’t changed a bit. Souma and Aldini have the same reaction to their qualification for BLUE as you’d find in the first few episodes of the series. Ryou still screams while cooking. Aldini’s brother still just sits around and says “good job big bro”. Alice is still detached and makes sciency looking food.Image 2020 05 28 086

I’ve seen all of these characters react the same way to the same situations for literal years now and it’s getting damn tiring. Even with the whole main cast occupying the Elite 10, they all act the same. If anything, I was disappointed by how Erina and Souma interacted at first. It was fun to see Souma push the boundaries with someone who was obviously his superior. Now that they’re both in power together, it just feels like boring flirting that doesn’t make sense for these two.Image 2020 05 28 032

Sadly, Shokugeki no Souma has fallen as hard into its own formula as it can. The unique and simple setup that made the first couple seasons so enjoyable is now the reason it’s so disappointing. The show isn’t by any means bad, it’s just… not what it used to be. If you enjoyed the other seasons, you’ll enjoy this one too, and I can’t see myself dropping it or anything. However, I’m really disappointed in its lack of evolution after 30 hours of runtime. Maybe the series finally coming to a close is a good thing.

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Yesterday wo Utatte: The Art of Making You Care

Yesterday wo Utatte is a melancholic romance that acts more as an exploration of its characters than their relationships. It’s contemplative and keeps the viewer in touch with the thoughts and feelings of all the main cast. It’s a brilliantly directed character study and a good contender for anime of the season.

(Minor spoilers)

Anime Impressions: Sing "Yesterday" For Me - BagoGames

Yesterday wo Uttate, or “Sing ‘Yesterday’ for me”, derived from much of the cast’s inability to move on from the past, is a love-triangle focused exploration of its characters. While opening with Rikuo Uozumi, our main, his former classmate/crush Shinako Morinome, and the self-described mysterious Haru Nonoka, their relationships are constantly evolving and entangling others. After finding out they once again live in the same city, Rikuo meets with Shinako and quickly confesses to her. She rejects him without explanation. The rest of the series up to current explores their relationship among others.

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Rikuo, our main protagonist, is quiet and reserved. He is rarely the instigator in situations and feels more comfortable letting life just happen to him. After graduating college half a year ago, he did little with his life, only maintaining a couple friendships and holding a part-time job at a convenience store. It’s made apparent right off the bat that he feels like a failure. The lack of quality in his life is portrayed as his own fault, in part because of his reservation and insecurity. A quote from his friend and co-worker, Kinoshita, “You seem pretty evasive about life, you’re just being self-deprecating to give yourself an out so that you won’t get hurt no matter where the chips fall”, shows that he’s spent the last half year tiptoeing around life, not taking any risks and gaining nothing in the process. One of the most painful moments of the show comes from the first episode when he musters just enough confidence to ask out Shinako, who coldly shoots him down. Though this character has only just been introduced, this scene is still incredibly impactful. This rejection also contributes to his reservations towards making a move in the future, and the effects of it are felt even into episode 8.

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Though the aforementioned scene contributes to Rikuo’s lack of confidence with Shinako, it also signifies when he realizes the problem. After the conversation where Kinoshita talks about Rikuo’s lack of confidence, we see him make a realization. He decides that more than anything, he’s “high on the phrase”. He’s caught up in this identity of being an outcast and the feelings that come with that identity have trapped him within it. To really be the person he wants to, which he’s far from now, he needs to be able to face the fears of a bad outcome and take the risk anyways. As he suddenly whips his bike around to go to Shinako’s house, the low camera angles fixed on the dark ground shift to show him riding into the symbolic light of the street lamp. Here is where he finally realizes the necessary direction for his life, what he needs to do to rid this label of a failure who gave up after graduating college.

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Over the course of the show, we get to see numerous examples of how Rikuo’s confidence affects him. The biggest of which being his photography job. Every accomplishment he makes in his job gives him the confidence to take another risk. Though both of his jobs after the convenience store have been basically given to him, he is still proud of himself for grasping these opportunities. As he starts to take photos of his own, he realizes that he now has his own career. Finally, he can finally make the decision to quit his part-time. He didn’t have to consult Nonoka or Shinako for this because he realized that his life was coming into his own hands now. However, he still has a long ways to go. 7 episodes in, Shinako tells him that she wishes he were more forward with her despite already having rejected him. It’ll be really interesting to see where the show takes this, how far Rikuo can go with his career and when that attitude can finally start applying to his relationships as well.

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The abovementioned dynamic is part of what makes Rikuo and Shinako’s relationship so impactful. We’ve grown attached to Rikuo and we understand his reservedness towards this relationship, scared to make a wrong move. Shinako’s timidness is also very apparent and we understand that she’s just as scared as he is, though for different reasons. Their relationship is stuck in limbo and remains a harsh, awkward pressure throughout the rest of the show, leaving every romantic scene feeling bittersweet and keeping the characters from ever getting comfortable.Image 006

Though Rikuo is rarely tries at any progress, Shinako is the real roadblock in their relationship. As we learn in episode 2, Shinako had been in love with Yuu, a boy who died early due to poor health. Ever since, Shinako wouldn’t allow herself to fall in love. Scared of being hurt again, Shinako became afraid to build many close relationships and never dated again.Image 044

Yesterday wo Utatte has some of the most incredible storytelling I’ve seen in my time with anime and its cast of characters is perfect for this. Every character has their own fleshed-out personality that the viewer can identify with and understand. If you’ve seen the show, you probably connected with one or two characters in particular. The show understands emotions well, and it takes advantage of that to give every moment a sense of gravity.Image 094

The show is concise. Looking back on the show and rewatching bits of it, I’ve realized how intentional every moment is. Every scene is useful to the show, developing some relationship or character. No scene is there for filler, no dump of exposition purely for telling the viewer what the writers are thinking, no shot wasted. Part of why the show feels paced so well is because of this careful use of time. Instead of spending time on moments that are just there for comedy or a bit of exposition, every single scene is used to develop our understanding of the characters. Just 8 episodes in, all of the characters have had more than an entire series worth of development. Characters that got a mere 2 episodes felt deeper than most characters in anime do after half the season. Rikuo and Shinako stop talking for 3 months after the initial confession, so the show just skips those 3 months entirely.

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The direction in this show is absolutely impeccable. Every shot portrays the feelings of the characters perfectly and there’s loads of symbolism to unpack. One of the most obvious pieces of this this being the cherry blossoms. Shinako spent much of her time with Yuu sitting next to him where she could see the cherry blossoms which were in full bloom as he died. Throughout the rest of the show, cherry blossoms become a way to show that Shinako is thinking about him. The first appearance of these in the show is at the start of the second episode when Shinako gets her hair cut. Though the viewer hasn’t been made aware of this yet, this simple scene has a lot of meaning packed into it. Though Shinako has always been afraid to fall in love, it’s only because of Rikuo’s confession that she realizes it’s a problem she needs to work on. Because of this, she gets her hair cut, commonly associated with a change in character. Throughout the scene, cherry blossoms appear in nearly every shot, showing her realization of needing to move past Yuu for both her own and Rikuo’s sake.Image 016 (2)

If you haven’t seen Yesterday wo Utatte yet, put it at the top of your to-do list. This show is brilliant and it’s sad I had to give it such brief coverage in this post. Hell, I completely ignored Nonoka and Rou, the other two main characters. The direction is stellar and carries the show from start to finish. The writing is realistic but impactful, and each piece of dialogue lets you completely into the heads of whoever is speaking. The show is phenomenal and I’m doubtful any other show this season will be nearly as good.Image 109


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My Next Life as a Villainess/Otome Game no Hametsu Flag: Great Premise, Butchered Execution

My Next Life as a Villainess isn’t great. It’s a fine typical school comedy with a surprisingly inventive premise, but that’s actually where it loses me. The comedy is whatever and the characters are interesting enough but something almost offends me about this show. The initial idea got me hooked and I was excited to binge all 7 episodes, but I’ve been seriously let down by its wasted potential.

Hamefura] : animenocontext

Quickly into the first episode, it’s revealed that the main character, Katarina Claes, lived a previous life as your run of the mill otaku who died at 17 and has now been reincarnated. The catch, she’s been reincarnated into the world of a dating sim she played in the real world. Though her character is of royalty, the character she portrays is the villain of the game who dies or is exiled in every ending, and the rest of the series is dedicated to her trying to prevent this by stopping the heroin from falling in love with the love interests and causing one of the endings that lead to Katarina’s death.

Saturday Roundup Week 2: Triggering doom flags amid the ...

The problem I find with this premise is that it’s never well explored, even 7 episodes in. One of the most interesting possibilities with the premise is that the main character is a mental 26 year old in the body of a 9 year old, and a 34 year old in the body of a 17 year old later in. Considering she should be more mature than and have knowledge than her peers from playing the game previously, you’d assume that either she’d have some really well thought out understanding of the game or be able to navigate her social life well, being twice the age of her social circle. If anything, Katarina is one of the least intelligent and mature people in the whole cast. Her brother needs to save her from rape on multiple occasions and she has absolutely no clue. When people crush on her or her friends she is completely oblivious despite everyone around already understanding the situation. The first 1 or 2 episodes give the idea that Katarina knows what’s going on as she immediately starts keeping tabs on all of the important characters, though this is more a result of her outgoing personality than social skill. She never even makes any intentional progress towards not dying, which you’d think would be a top priority, but I’ll get to that in a second.

The main motivation for the show, Katarina avoiding death, is seriously neglected. Since we don’t actually see much of her own thought (She monologues/thinks out loud less and less until episode 4ish when she stops completely), Katarina almost never personally acknowledges the idea that she’s in a game after episode 2. Even the head council has absolutely no valuable input after the first 3 episodes, only contributing by… thinking the best course of action is growing vegetables? This is the worst way you could give a character a hobby as it completely thwarts any possibility for character development and leaves it up to broken logic instead. Anyways, the 2 biggest pieces of progress made towards preventing any of the endings is made by complete accident and only ever acknowledged by the head council whose only input is “phew, glad she accidentally did a good thing”.

টুইটারে 鳴神: "唐突に始まる脳内カタリナ会議も良きですね(笑 ...

This is what got to me most about the show, there’s this really interesting premise that could be explored that’s just forgotten after the first couple episodes. The show doesn’t have to be some masterpiece filled with complexity and well thought out intricacies in the yada yada you get it. It’s a popcorn show that’s meant for a more casual viewing experience, and if it dedicated every episode to fixing this problem, it would be a fundamentally different show. However, the complete lack of effort is what makes this show such a waste. Lots of “kids” movies like WALL-E explore seriously interesting ideas so that everyone in the family gets something out of watching it. There is none of that here. This is one of the most interesting premises I’ve seen in a while and I think they could at least take advantage of it enough to make the show more than a dime-a-dozen generic comedy, but no. You can turn your brain off and watch a silly comedy, I can more than respect that. But a show wasting all of its potential because the writers can’t be bothered to try is what bothers me.

I’d definitely recommend watching Otome Game no Hametsu Flag. As much as this post was focused on picking apart its lack of good qualities, that doesn’t mean it has none. Though the characters are simple, that’s part of why they’re so charming and enjoyable. The setting and role of our main character allows for all of the romance and character interactions to be centered around her without it being a harem, providing for a unique “romcom” that breaks the mold in more ways than that. It’s not a bad show by any means, I just think it could’ve been much better.


Gleipnir | Flashy, Over-Dramatic Trash

Gleipnir is a shell of a show that uses an interesting premise to disguise its lack of any other redeeming qualities. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of “stuff happening”, but once you look past that premise, the entire thing falls apart.

Gleipnir starts off with one of the most eye-catching scenes you’re likely to see, obviously showing the strange perspective of some unworldly being, uncomfortable with controlling its body, giving a coin to a vending machine which dispenses a boy who’s obviously well aware of what’s going on. If this somehow wasn’t enough, our main character, Shuuichi, soon after eats a dead animal on school property, transforms into some giant, sentient teddy bear to save a girl from suicide (which he can transform in and out of at will), then almost rapes her before walking away, all in the first 6 minutes. If you’re confused, don’t worry, I still am. 

TVアニメ「グレイプニル」第一弾PV - YouTube

(Here on out is spoilers through episode 3) The girl from earlier, Clair, essentially pressures him into partnering with her to find her inhuman sister who killed their parents. Have you forgotten about the part where the main almost rapes this girl? Cause the show sure has, and it hasn’t been mentioned again as of episode 4. This theme continues throughout the rest of the show. This strange, out-of-place near rape scene has absolutely no reason for happening and isn’t mentioned again, as if it was just there for the sake of getting your attention (remember my opening line). The first episode ends with some girl attacking the two for a coin that Clair has. This is continues in episode 2 with Clair unzipping Shuuichi’s strange body and crawling inside of it to help control him.

Aiya (@AiyaSenpai) | Twitter

If all of this is too much to take in, don’t worry, that’s what the show was going for. Gleipnir attempts to throw as much information at you as it can and overload your brain to the point where you’re curious about what happens next… but don’t actually consider any of the show’s flaws. 

GLEIPNIR Anime PV Has Been Released with a New Key Visual

Shuuichi is actually a quite naive and reserved boy, occasionally monologuing about trying to fit in, striving for a normal life, and not wanting to involve himself in anything unnecessary. Contrary to his personality, he’s actually a huge risk-taker. He runs into a burning building to save a random girl instead of just calling the cops, sneaks into the girls’ locker room to steal his phone back from her (taking a slight detour to… sniff her underwear…), lets her literally climb inside of him to take control of his body and kill someone all because he liked how she phrased “we will become one”, and teams up with her to confront her sister who’s killed countless people. Clair’s reasoning for Shuuichi joining her is “if the one girl attacked us, others will try to attack you again, and you’ll be defenseless without me”, but the attacker from earlier clearly stated she was only after their coin, which was Clair’s and unrelated to Shuuichi. In only 2 episodes, the show has completely broken its entire foundation for the story to even be happening by giving some half-thought out explanation to the main character’s entire involvement in the plot. While my suspension of disbelief was wavering long before episode 2, this shattered it. Though the show has definitely proven it’s capable of providing an interesting premise, it struggles to do anything worthwhile with it.

GLEIPNIR Anime Set for April 5, New Trailer Debuts

Gleipnir suffers from something I noticed in Kami no Tou as well (read my post on it here), a lack of consistent judgement from its characters. Sometimes the show feels less like multiple real personalities interacting and more like a writer slapping down whatever they think would be the “coolest” to watch. However, Kami no Tou had genuinely interesting characters who all had great dynamics that somewhat made up for their lack of consistency. Gleipnir just throws a bunch of clashing personalities in a room together and hopes something good comes out. Clair describes her own dynamic with Shuuichi as him being a strong vessel for her to accomplish her goals while she can offer him protection as he is too weak-minded to defend himself. This dynamic between strong and motivated vs weak and reserved yet powerful serves only to progress the story along. Any time Shuuichi is nervous, Clair just pressures him into going along with it and the writers don’t have to bother coming up with a genuine reason for anything to happen. If the pair are ever in danger, it doesn’t matter because they can just overpower anyone they feel like. 

Gleipnir Episode 4 Release Date, Preview, and Synopsis

I often think that current anime have a genuinely good foundation (interesting and well written characters, a thoroughly established and interesting world, etc) and just fail to actually do much with that base, but this show is the complete opposite. Gleipnir is a husk of a show that completely disregards quality in favor of catching your interest as soon as possible and throwing things at you to desperately try and keep it (it has such a high amount of MAL users for a reason). If you’re just looking for a seasonal to watch for the sake of it, this show is interesting enough to not be a waste of your time, but don’t be surprised when it’s nothing but fanservice and “flashy cool stuff”. As much as I’d love for a show with this interesting of a premise to eventually get good, I doubt anything will come of it. 

Kami no Tou/Tower of God | Crunchyroll’s Masterpiece or Failure?

Kami no Tou is one of the most interesting starts to a show I’ve seen in a while, the mysteriousness is enthralling despite tons of obvious flaws. It relies heavily on its atmosphere, but lacks a lot of necessary components to keep investment high. The show has a lot of questionable moments, but I found myself wanting more after I was done with the first three episodes. NO spoilers ahead, but definitely watch the show for yourself, it’s certainly interesting if nothing else.

Kami no Tou Tower of God Episode 3 - Watch Online, Spoilers, Air Date!

Kami no Tou relies heavily on its use of a strong atmosphere. A scene relies entirely on how well its tone has been developed and whether or not it can keep you invested in that tone. We already come to a big split in the road in terms of quality. Having such a heavy reliance on atmosphere needs visuals and animation to both be absolutely on point. While I can say this is true for the sound, boasting incredibly punctual sound effects and an immersive OST, the visuals simply fall flat, mostly in the first episode, which is arguably the most important episode considering the show’s need for you to suspend your disbelief entirely to be invested. While the mysteriousness of the show and its world does a marvelous job of keeping this suspension of disbelief, mystery is built without the world building to support it, leaving the mystery loose and occasionally unseen. The biggest problem from this focus on tone and atmosphere comes when comedy is introduced into the show. Especially in the scene with the princess, her assistant, and the MC, the uncomfortably imposed silly, “classic anime” style comedy layers terribly on top of the serious music and attempt to invest us in the tower.

Episode 3 — Kami no Tou : Tower Of God Anime! 「English Sub」

I can’t be sure as I’m not too invested in anime as an industry, but there’s a nagging feeling of inexperience in the part of the creators of the show. Seeing that this is a Crunchyroll original and looking at the responsible studio, it’s not an unfounded assumption that the creators are very new to anime as a whole, and you can see the show improve even just from episode one to three drastically. As I mentioned earlier, there is a distinct lack of world building. I feel way too much like I’m watching an anime as opposed to seeing a genuine experience of a different world. Characters often make completely unfounded decisions because “they don’t like to be bored” or “they like men more”. I can’t help but feel like the show was sloppily made, resulting in poor side-characters and and lack of realism to the rest of the world. All stakes are gone and I have difficulties investing myself in any of the characters, rather just casually observing them for fun when obviously the show intends on the former.

Kami no Tou – Episode 1 discussion – Anime Discussions

To praise the show a little, I’d actually compare it a little to the Hunter Exam from Hunter x Hunter. While the obvious can be said about the tests and the exams, the tests function similarly to the exams in that they provide an open environment for all of these exceptional characters to interact in really interesting ways. The side characters are great too, and I love how they’re portrayed as significantly more strong and intelligent than the main character. The simply fun characters carry the show when its tone is lackluster and I think it picks up the slack enough to call the show seriously worth watching. Even if the first episode or two isn’t your cup of tea, the show soon picks up and provides a less in depth but still very enjoyable substitute to its more serious side.

The serious side of this show is what it truly relies on though, so I won’t leave it unaddressed. The show’s main theme is commenting on choice and how much our own actions affect our success, pointing to the gods and their whim (luck) dictating success. Weapons, luck, and even intelligence are separated from the character and labeled as pure luck. The show has other plans with this, but where exactly it chooses to take this theme is so far unsure but will make or break the series down the line. I would definitely recommend the show for now, even say it’s pretty good considering how much negative I’ve said. In the end, the true quality of the show will rely entirely on this one theme and how much they expand on it.



Kyokou Suiri | Failure in Storytelling, Still Interesting

Kyokou Suiri is a mystery that implores some really interesting work with mystery, boasting an interesting twist of genres and themes that has me excited for episodes to come. There is a lot of seemingly wasted potential, but I can easily see it being capitalized on later into the season.

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Kyokou Suiri starts immediately showing a lot of potential but lacking in a few areas. The first episode especially is very indistinct with its tone. At many points, I was sometimes more curious about what emotion the show wanted me to feel rather than engaged in the story. A gloomy mystery was interspersed with a romance comedy approach to dialogue in a way that took away from both. The music was a little inconsistent and so was the dialogue overlaying it, jumping from attempted cute and funny to mysterious. Though the show fixes this problem a little in the 2nd and 3rd episodes, it doesn’t show any mastery of the duality. If the show can take a hold of this dichotomy and utilize it better, the show is going to excel later into the season.

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I mentioned the music before and though I talked bad about it, that’s all there is negative to say about the music. The music is incredibly composed and a great fit for the show, working the show’s atmosphere perfectly. While many shows just have good background music, I found myself noticing the soundtrack often for its quality. The OP and ED are especially great. While the OP boasts it’s premise with swelling rock music backing it and genuinely exciting me on its own, more bringing up the ideas of the show’s strange thematic ideas and world, the ED contrasts it well, taking a more mysterious approach and focusing on the two main characters completely, giving them a hint of elegance and subtle layer of inhumanity which I’m hoping to see more of in the show itself.

To keep on topic with the more technical elements before moving on, the show’s visuals are intriguing. The camera work is great, often giving subtle hints to characters and their situations. The very first shot shows Kotoko Iwanaga looking up at the world she’s woken up in after disappearing 6 years ago. She takes up only a sliver of the bottom of the screen as the camera pans over the massiveness of the strange world around her as a powerful but curious voice asks for her help. She has suddenly found herself in a completely different situation with her new interactions with ghosts and other unworldly beings, which the other world symbolically shows.

When Kotoko asks Kurou Sakuragawa to accompany her in the forest, the camera only ever shows the two of them together to portray some sort of further insight into the situation. Mainly, it shows Kurou looking down upon Kotoko, though not understanding her, keeping the two apart to keep their distance from this lack of understanding the rest of the time.

In the third episode, when Kotoko comes across Saki (Kurou’s ex), she is at first struck with the young appearance of the seemingly little girl, but questions this. Before this is even explicitly said, the two stand face to face on an incline that puts them at eye level, commenting on their power dynamic before addressing it in dialogue.

Along with just the camera work, the animation itself plays to the show’s strengths well. Each scene is more vibrant than expected, though uses a softer color palette and keeps the lighting at a level that supports the mood. While occasionally, specifically the steel beam idol scenes, overplay this effect with overly colored lighting, it generally serves to help the show’s tonality steady itself.

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At its core, Kyokou Suiri is a mystery. While employing occasional comedy or action with light romance and intertwining those different genres more closely than often seen in media, it excels at establishing interest in its story without giving everything away. The first scene with Kotoko and Kurou talking alludes to them both have much more under the surface that the two are likely to bring out from each other swiftly and does a great job at grabbing for the viewer’s attention immediately. The idea that the ghosts and other creatures are afraid of Kurou appears punctually within the scene to grab the viewer’s attention.

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The rest of the stories the show presents are also really interesting. They’re paced well and genuinely intriguing more than you’d expect. My main problem with the show is how it presents these stories. The majority of the second episode and the third episode are characters having conversations which are entirely the method of presenting the different mysteries. While these conversations themselves read well and their mysteries are engaging, it’s difficult to maintain interest when the entirety of the show’s meat presents itself through conversation. If the show can start to employ different techniques to show off these stories, the show will be seriously well-made.

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Overall, I see a huge amount of potential in this show. It has a handle direction and intriguing sub-plots, with lots of interesting dynamics in its genres and themes (like the duality of modern society and the supernatural or animals, which I didn’t touch on but will if I ever do a full review). However, it fails to present almost anything in any unique or interesting way and often lacks consistency with its main plotline. With some improvements midway through, this show could be genuinely amazing. However, for now, it’s just good. Either way, I’d recommend watching it. It’s refreshing and at least an interesting first episode, though its second and third are better.

Plunderer |A Little Too Rapey | First Impressions

Plunderer is a directionless waste of time. The show displays incompetency in making the viewer care about anything going on in the story. Forget suspension of disbelief, it’s just difficult to care about the story to begin with because of all the poor writing. Nothing is even laughably bad about this show, it’s not necessarily interesting even as a “so bad it’s good”, not to mention the uncomfortable sexual assault stuff.

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Nothing in this show is grounded in reality at all. The more important characters are inexplicable and seem to have no recognizable train of thought or cohesive personality, and Hina specifically just falls short of convincing me she’s a real person. She wanted to fulfill her mother’s wish of finding a man… and that’s her entire personality. She’s supposedly “found the ace” in her mind even though she hasn’t according to the ace himself, but she still chases after him as if she knows what to do once she finds him in the first place, which she doesn’t.

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I was really hopeful that we would see some sort of character depth considering Hina’s complicated past. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case. This girl lost her mother to some supernatural ground hands she’s never heard about and walks alone for 5 years straight, and her only problem is that she’s kinda sad that she was lonely. You’d expect some sort of complexity to her character from this, some sort of deeper effect from this trauma, but no.

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None of the other characters are great either. There hasn’t even been an attempt to establish any of the characters as actual people with motivations, reasons for acting the way they do. The fake ace and his military buddies just seem to be comically evil for absolutely no reason. It’s almost as if the only thoughts in their heads are “hurt the protagonist, do bad things”. The only character that has shown any sign of further development is Licht, but his actions are still confusing more than anything.

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At the end of episode two, we see him abandoning Hina and his “rejected by a girl” counter tick. We can assume from this that he’s some sort of hero that’s saved 1,000 girls and has always had to leave them behind without a word after helping them. Other than this, we aren’t given much. How is this at all connected to the other half of his character? Why is he some pervert who’s always talking about seeing girls panties in the teaser at the end of episodes? Why did he leave Hina in the hands of who he basically knew to have ill intentions with her? The show even addresses this through the cook woman who was ordering Litch around when she asks why he didn’t do anything when she followed the fake ace. He just makes a funny expression and noise and the scene ends. Image result for plunderer

When the show isn’t being confusing and giving its characters zero motivation, it’s telling you everything through boring dialogue. Everything we know about this world’s complexities is just told to us by another character. Instead of showing someone’s counter go up or down for doing their task, we are told how counters work by the one lady whose name I won’t bother looking up. The idea of “wagering stars” is just spouted off like a dictionary entry by the fake ace.

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Did I mention that most of the show’s ecchi content is based around sexual assault?

Even easy to understand events in the story are just spoon fed to the viewer as if they can’t think for themselves. When Licht shows up and reveals the star on his sword, the government goons still yell in shock about Licht being an ace as if the viewer forgot what the silver star meant in the past 2 minutes. When we see his -999 counter, we’re just confused. Then, one of the goons explains that he must be a “ballot holder”, implying his ballot cancels out his negative counter. This actually would’ve been an interesting connection for the viewer to make themselves if we understood anything about ballots in the first place.

Really, there’s nothing spectacular about this show. It’s just another boring ecchi with no purpose. Did you know that it shares its director with Ore no Imouto? If you like action, this isn’t for you because all of the action is boring and thrown in without purpose. If you’re a fan of interesting fantasy worlds, this also isn’t for you because there isn’t a shred of world building or anything interesting done with this world’s silly number thing. Don’t watch this.


Darwin’s Game is Just Stupid | First Impressions

No spoiler TLDR at second to bottom paragraph.

Darwin’s Game is an absolute dumpster fire of a show, possibly the worst this season. The only reason I was able to sit through this 50-minute abomination of an episode was that I found it funny how stupid it was. If you saw Ousama Game back when it was airing, you should expect exactly that but worse. Disgustingly bad writing filled with inconsistencies, random and messy organization, and bafflingly stupid everything else.

The thing that possibly made the show the most annoying and difficult to sit through was how poorly the show explained its premise. The show immediately throws the viewer into some awkward chase scene that roughly introduces the concept. From here on out, the show’s exposition becomes random and thoughtless. No piece of information is conveyed thoughtfully, the show instead opts to throw in bits willy-nilly. The show acts as if it’s teasing the viewer with some crazy mystery when really it just doesn’t know how to explain what the show is about.

Since the show immediately throws us into the midst of the game, we’re unsure of nearly any details but get the general idea of “players killing each other”. Since the MC is involved in two of these battles over the course of the first episode without the viewers understanding the intricacies of the game, we don’t really understand what’s happening. Any given action holds nearly no weight as we can’t understand why it’s happening. When the MC goes to see blonde pigtail girl in the warehouse, we don’t understand anything about their interaction. Why does this girl need to trust the MC to give him information about the game? (I’d also like to point out that the condition for her giving players information about the game is them already knowing information about the game). We don’t understand if there’s any incentive for her to attack the MC or if they can even engage in the first place, so instead of tension, the viewer is just left confused. We understand the existence of a “search feature”, but none of the specifics. Instead of having insight into the mind of MC’s attacker and thinking through the complexities of the fight as it’s happening, we just wonder “is that search thing gonna happen or does it not work now”. This lack of tension makes every piece of “action” in the show boring as the viewer doesn’t know enough to follow along with it.

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There are other unexplained things strewn throughout the show that don’t exactly provoke any thought but just make the viewer confused. The existence of the weird butterflies is never explained so they just become distractions at best. The weird scene that started the show with a man petting a pigeon seems to be an attempt at making the audience interested in whoever is behind the game (as this man is likely “Darwin”), but instead was forgotten almost immediately as it had absolutely no meaningful imagery or information.

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There is no rhyme or reason for any of the actual exposition in the show and it makes the first episode especially difficult to sit through. When the three kids are alone, the one friend who understands the game chooses to stay silent about it. He even watches the MC open the app without saying anything until it’s too late. Then, he gives zero reason for MC not to touch the app before discussing it with him, causing him to obviously do exactly that, getting his friend killed. When the two are safe hiding from the panda, the experienced friend just stares in a random direction instead of using this time to explain anything to his friend, who still doesn’t even know what’s happening.Image result for Darwin's game

I thought the most useful piece of dialogue in the whole episode was calling the panda a “damned newbie hunter”. This actually answered a lot of questions about the game, attached a bit of identity to the panda, and would’ve been a totally natural thing to say in a real-life situation. However, this is maybe the only piece of somewhat clever writing in the entire 50 minutes.

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The best way I could describe this show is aggravating. The writing just annoys me more than anything else. The MC’s entire involvement in the story is because of a couple silly mistakes. The guy from the intro calls on him even though his friend doesn’t even know what the game is about, there’s absolutely no way he’d be able to save him. I’ve already touched on this, but the friend with experience in the game does almost nothing to stop MC from opening the app the first time and before the actual attack from the panda.

Something else I could only describe as silly would be the “foreshadowing”. When MC was in the infirmary and reached for the pen, he accidentally duplicated it. This is supposed to be his vigil, which he can naturally use (which he does). This would actually be a good scene if it was reasonable to remember it, but because of all the other useless images and such from earlier in the show, there’s no reason to remember something like this. The viewer just thinks “oh his hand hurt ok” and then forgets it long before the fight with pigtail girl half an hour later.

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To point out a complete inconsistency in the show, remember back to the initial panda attack. The panda and MC were not just seen but commented on by civillians despite being in the game. Not only this, but the panda kills a police officer (are we expected to just forget that a civilian died and nothing happens). However later, we’re told that the app is the players’ only connection to the outside world when they’re in the game. The people who hit the panda didn’t see him or the MC, even though just three minutes earlier we saw loads of pedestrians casually commenting on them.

If my suspension of disbelief wasn’t already completely out the window, the pigtail girl fight took about as much care as Seiya Ryuuguuin in destroying it. Sure, let the MC have a backpack of maybe weapons or one specifically useful item that was in there by pure chance. But not only does he bring duct tape which he uses to cover his wounds and tape a gun to the wall, he brings a piece of string that can run across the entire wall of a massive storage unit just so he can pull the trigger, which also happens to be pointed at wires which shut the lights off to aid his hiding. Also, he brought a common flashlight… Wonder how this is useful? It completely blinds his enemy for multiple minutes. And if all that wasn’t bad, I’d just like to bring back up the scene where MC is probably two seconds away from dying and a car just happens to hit the panda. It’s so hard to believe the story when it feels like all of the characters are constantly reading the script of the show they’re in.

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Yep, this is the same show.

To move away from the writing and the story itself, the animation itself isn’t that great. It feels fuzzy and unfinished like it’s dated a good few years rather than being a 2020 seasonal. The choreography is pretty bad and the fights themselves leave a lot to be desired. When MC is “dodging” the chains from pigtail girl, he just runs in a straight line while the camera moves around a lot so it kinda looks like he’s dodging. There were a few silly errors here and there but not bad enough to specifically point out. The music was alright, it was never noticeably bad or good. The last thing I have to say is that the character designs are mostly boring, just one or two characters get good designs (like the panda) and the rest look like copy-pastes of every other generic anime character

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NO SPOILER TLDR: This show is really best described as annoying. The writing is silly and messy. It immediately broke my suspension of disbelief and just slowly broke me down with amateur mistakes, some big inconsistencies/plotholes even, in nearly every scene. I think the premise is interesting enough and enough happens that I’d recommend watching at least part of the first episode and seeing what you think for yourself (I enjoyed it ironically, maybe you will too). There’s no specific good element of the show that I could say is worth spending the time watching the show other than its premise, so watch if you’re bored I guess.

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I struggled with this one a little to be honest. I thought, “Hey, I hated this show and kept thinking of things I didn’t like throughout the whole episode so it should be easy to write about.”, but it was a little difficult. I found it tough to not just make fun of the show and call it stupid, and when I started to write actual points, I’d often just realize that it was more of an “I think this is dumb” thing, which kind of out of my style? I’m still figuring out how to do stuff like this, cause I think I’m much better at talking about shows I like than don’t like. Anyways, thanks for reading.