Hataraku Saibou First Impressions (1+2): This is how we create hypochondriacs

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I admit that I likely have an excessive obsession with platelets, but this series has been surprisingly entertaining for an “educational” series. I expected a heavy dose of infodump, but the series has been pretty funny so far. A lot of the comedy is really over the top and the characters are really charming.

The information is largely scattered in through random narration points. Admittedly, it gets a bit heavy in the second episode when a huge variety of germs gets introduced in one go, but it feels manageable so far.

When I really thought about it, the idea of a pneumoccocus hiding in a box the entire time is a bit silly, but it didn’t really bother me while I was watching. The interactions between the characters as they try to find the guy were pretty fun.

I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s probably no surprise that the platelets really sold the show for me.

My main worry for the series is whether it can really stay entertaining across the entire series. The second episode was promising, but it was still largely relying on the same set of characters. I’m guessing those guys can only stay funny so long, but I’ve been proven wrong before (*Miira no Kaikata managed to pull it off).

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Happy Sugar Life First Impressions (1): I thought I was prepared for this

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I went into this series expecting something messed up, and it still delivered more than I expected. Consider me creeped out. I was pretty impressed with the way the episode escalated. In the beginning, Satou appears to be a pretty normal girl with an obsession, but she’s shown to be more than a little nuts by the end.

These flowery frames aren’t really working for me, but I guess I get the point. All is well?

Fair point.

I loved that this episode almost made me want to root for Satou in the middle section. From what we see, she’s a typical popular girl turned mad by the influences of society around her. She’s doing her best to live normally, but the jealousy of other girls has forced incredible stress on her psyche.

Additionally, Satou feels pressure to stay in an abusive work environment because she needs to provide for Shio. These kinds of situations almost make you feel empathy for her.

And in a final spurt, we get this sense that Satou’s behavior is inherited from her childhood interactions with her mother. At this point, you can kind of see how she might be justified in becoming what she is.

Then, everything gets turned around by the reveal at the end. I applaud the subtlety that this scene had, when the original occupants of the apartment are revealed in this murder room. At this point, I was starting to warm up to Satou, but seeing this scene pretty much solidified the idea that she was nuts.

It also works really well with the first scene in the episode. We come to understand that Shio has been abducted by Satou in a sense and the burning apartment probably comes at a later point when Satou is finally found and cornered. It’s quite interesting.

To backtrack a bit, the only point in the episode that didn’t fully sit well with me was the fact that Mitsuboshi had been locked up the whole time. I guess I felt like it was a bit extreme, but maybe it was meant to put Satou in a better light at that point.

[OWLS July Blog Tour] Shoukoku no Altair: We may disagree on this

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I’m definitely not using these posts as an excuse to talk about shows that I like. For July, the topic is Mentor. Let’s see how I can distort this topic…

Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.

I had a few ideas for this topic, which made things interesting. In the end, I decided that I wanted to talk about Shoukoku no Altair. The story is set in a time of war between the Turkiye Stratocracy and the Balt-Rhein Empire with hints of historical basis.

Unlike my other posts, I’m going to be pretty liberal with spoilers this time. I hope you still watch the series, as it’s one that I really enjoyed, but there’s no way I’m making my point without setting up some base knowledge.

The main character, Mahmut Tugrul, comes from a tribe of falconers which was wiped out in a previous war. Having lost his family, Mahmut vows to never allow another war to occur again, and joins the government as a Pasha, a high-ranking military officer, to maintain peace.

Growing up, Mahmut largely learns from Halil Sehir, an older Pasha who rescued a young Mahmut from his burning village. Mahmut’s desire for peace is shared by Halil, who feels responsible for the atrocities of the past war.

The main opposition amongst the other Pashas comes from Zaganos Zehir, a Pasha who is seemingly obsessed with turning Turkiye into an empire of its own. As you may expect, Zaganos regularly butts heads with Mahmut and Halil because of his wish to take the fight to the Empire. However, he’s also the person who sends Mahmut on a journey of discovery when Mahmut initially loses his position as Pasha.

Unlikely as it may seem, Zaganos becomes a second mentor figure for Mahmut. His advice directly contributes to the character growth we see in Mahmut through the series. Although he continues to actively reject Zaganos’s ideals, Mahmut eventually comes to understand Zaganos to the point where the two become a powerful team against the Empire.

This was probably an unnecessarily long-winded explanation, but here’s my point. I think it’s great to look up to your mentors as a source of motivation and encouragement. However, I also think that some of the best lessons can come from someone who doesn’t necessarily share your opinion, as we see with Mahmut and Zaganos.

I think that the concept of a mentor is often synonymous with a role model, and you should strive towards being like that role model. There’s an element to truth to this idea, but it’s perhaps a bit unrealistic. Coming across someone who fits that ideal seems unlikely, so I choose to see it in a broader sense.

In my own workplace, I treat pretty much anyone as a kind of mentor, and I look to see what I can learn from someone rather than dwelling on where we might have a difference in opinion. To me, the role model idea kind of implies that I’m just taking in advice without processing it, which is why I tend to deviate from the idea.

But hey…this is just another thing to consider. Maybe I’m just making up excuses for myself to keep actively disagreeing with people. Who knows?

If you think that was interesting, check out the surrounding posts for more takes on the Mentor topic. And if that was super boring, I’m sure the surrounding posts will be more interesting?

Yesterday’s post was written by Jack over at The Aniwriter about Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life.

If you’re reading this in the future, head over to Miandro’s Side for another post.

Satsuriku no Tenshi Episode 2: Being killed is hard

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Looks like things cooled down in the second episode. It felt like last week’s episode was going for thrilling while this week’s episode was maybe going for creepy. I’m not entirely sure how the tone shift will end up working out based on what I’ve seen so far. This episode did tend to drag on a bit. Zack and Rachel seem like an okay pair, so I can kind of see the potential for them to grow together.

Rachel’s change in personality seemed a bit drastic, but I’m curious to see where it goes. It makes her seem less helpless, which could end up working in her favor.

This random scene focusing on Danny’s “corpse” makes me think he’s still alive. He also shows up in the OP sequence, which really makes me suspicious.

I think the most interesting piece of this episode is the fact that the person on this floor seems to know who Rachel is. Danny also seemed to know her as well, which has me wondering. Zack is the exception, but he’s easily explained away since he doesn’t really care.

This random visual shift when Isaac started destroying the graves seemed odd. Maybe it’s a reference back to the original game. Still, I’m not a huge fan of the fact that he randomly hits the button locking the door.

Information! Zack’s one weakness?

This scene was another weird moment, but I guess it kind of makes sense as a way to stop Rachel from suicide. You could argue that asking Zack to kill her is technically suicide, which is why I had a bit of trouble watching the scene. Still, it might have a different meaning, so we’ll see.

Bringing back a classic: Hyouka

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I know there are still a lot of summer shows out there, but I wanted to take a break this week and talk about an older show. I don’t often watch completed shows, so I figure this post could be a fun change. This past week, I finished up my rewatch of Hyouka, a show I actually covered way back when I was starting my blog (boy do I feel old).

If you’re not familiar with the series, it follows Houtarou Oreki, a student who follows the rule of energy conservation. That philosophy is threatened when his sister convinces him to join the Classics Club, where he meets Eru Chitanda. Eru is innately curious and has a tendency to drag Houtarou along when a mystery is presented. Unfortunately, Houtarou has a knack for deduction that makes him indispensable for these scenarios.

Looking back on how I felt about the show, I think I picked up on a lot of the same things as my younger self. Many of my screenshots were the same, so that guy had good taste. That being said, I think I enjoyed the show way more on the second viewing. Hopefully, this means that I’ve gained a lot through blogging, since I felt like I was appreciating much more than I did before.

In the past, I wrote off the show as a casual take on a typical mystery show, where the stakes weren’t quite so dramatic. Now, my interpretation’s a little different. I think Hyouka shines a light on idle questions, the mysteries of normal life that we typically ignore. If you come across a locked door that you expected to be open, you might not think much of it. You might just say “oh, that’s weird” or come up with a quick explanation that’s enough to satisfy you.

Hyouka forces you to think past that initial reaction by introducing Eru, the monster of curiosity. For Eru, the simple answer isn’t good enough unless it explains all of the evidence.

Houtarou actually has an interesting comment on himself related to this. When he calls himself lucky, I think there’s an element of truth to that. While his deductive skills are strong, you wouldn’t expect someone to be able to give an explanation for any situation so easily. And that’s where I think Houtarou becomes more relatable. Houtarou’s explanations are not supposed to be some hidden insight. He’s playing the part of the guy who says something that makes you think “oh, I guess that makes sense”. I know it’s a bit arrogant, but I like to think that I do a pretty good job of being that guy.

So if you haven’t watched Hyouka, I would still recommend it as a good watch. I think the series has aged well, and it made me really want to continue pondering the little things in life. As a side note, I want to mention that I really like the second opening. I think the animation is really creative and the song is great.

Angolmois – Genkou Kassenki First Impressions (1): This seems promising. Wooo history?

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This first episode was surprisingly fun. It definitely had a much more serious tone to it, but the action and characters were interesting. I certainly like the idea of a band of exiles forced to act as the first line of defense against a Mongolian invasion. Add in the fact that the princess commanding them also feels similarly forced into her role, and I’d say it’s a solid setup. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

The beginning of the episode felt a bit strange, since we were kind of being thrown into the middle of things. I’m glad that the episode doesn’t waste too much time in explaining itself, making the introduction seem reasonable. The visual style is interesting, but I haven’t decided how I feel about it as a whole. Much of the episode felt like it had a filter on it, which was a bit distracting.

I’m a big fan of this twist. The opening of the episode looks like what you’d expect from a somewhat “random” prisoner’s revolt, so the fact that everything was planned is a great. The main character also seems reasonably intelligent.

The princess seems like she could be a decent character. I like the idea that she’s putting on a strong face in front of the exiles, but she feels similarly unfit for her role. I was curious how she’d change without her attendant to support her, but she seemed to pull it off at the end of the episode.

What? You mean the enemies sent trained warriors to fight? That’s insane!

While I don’t really like the use of super fast sword strikes, I still think that the fights in this episode were pretty solid. The sword clash sequences seemed to have more content than I’ve seen in other shows.

Why is this guy blonde?

Summer 2018 Grab Bag Week 1: Hanebado, Harukana Receive

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For convenience, let’s just call today “sports” day. First grab bag of the summer season…let’s do this.

Hanebado Episodes 1+2

Badminton is a sport that I think is fun to watch, so I figured I should check this series out. It comes up a lot when I’m in China, and I’ve played casually (poorly) in the past. Honestly, I’m not entirely convinced by the first two episodes. The concept the hard-working player and the naturally talent player being forced to work together isn’t anything new, but I have mixed feelings about the message.

The idea that you can face trouble regardless of whether or not you have the talent is something I think is interesting. I tend to like that kind of duality. However, I somewhat dislike the way Ayano is forced back into the game. I don’t fully agree with this idea that her natural talents mean that she somehow “owes” anyone. I’m sure this message will get swept aside later with a revelation that she enjoyed badminton all along, but that doesn’t really make it better.

The first episode, in particular, was pretty tough to watch. I get that it’s probably meant to make Nagisa’s change in mentality more drastic, but watching her act like a jerk for nearly the whole episode isn’t exactly fun. The second episode tones that down a lot, and became a lot easier to watch. In that sense, I’m glad I waited to watch both episodes at once, because I might not have otherwise. Still, the series feels like it has gotten past the worst of it, so I’m curious enough to keep watching. Specifically, I think the new coach’s explanations are entertaining.

Harukana Receive Episode 1

I was expecting a lot of cringe, but this first episode ended up being okay. The episode had an excellent array of reaction faces (which is incredibly important for me). Similar to Hanebado, you could see the serious tone hidden in the background with the mystery of Kanata’s conflict with Narumi, but the series generally didn’t seem to take itself as seriously. It felt like an easier watch despite being a show covering a sport I honestly don’t care about.

I mean…at least there’s an attempt to explain why Haruka might be okay at beach volleyball.

Did anyone else think that the sand looked really weird?

Maybe this is also a cooking show in disguise.

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes First Impressions (1): Just an everyday antique salesman?

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I get that we need to establish characters and setting, but this first episode wasn’t super entertaining for me. While the episode certainly sets up “Holmes” as a character, the majority of the episode is basically an antiques lesson. While I tend to like the stories behind these things, it’s not what I’m interested in seeing. That being said, the episode ends with a hint from Aoi that the focus of the series might shift moving forward, so maybe it’s worth checking out a couple more episodes.

I’m not sure if this was just a weird translation, but Holmes really has a strange way of speaking. I wonder if it’s just a localization of how he speaks in Japanese, but I had to look up a lot of his expressions.

I don’t really mind that Holmes has the typical Sherlockian style of deduction. I actually like this sort of thing. I just think it’s wasted on a show about an antiques shop.

I think the most annoying part about this Holmes character is the way he “reads Aoi’s mind”. The Holmes I picture would always have an explanation, but this guy’s mind reading borders on supernatural, and it’s often shrugged away. That definitely bothered me.

Aoi’s taking a job for a grudge? That’s kind of a weird premise…

As I said, I do enjoy hearing the story behind things, and the story behind this painting wasn’t too bad.

Moriarty?

Planet With First Impressions (1): Which side?

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Phew, this introduction was pretty crazy, but it was also kind of intriguing. We’re immediately introduced to a reversal of sorts. Rather than a typical “good vs. evil” story, the main character is fighting against the apparent guardians of Earth. So is Kuroi a villain or the good guy in disguise? I don’t know what’s going on here, but I really want to find out. It looks like I might have been wrong to call this a potential kids anime.

The reaction of a man hiding his porn…

I was a bit skeptical of the amnesia trope, but it ends up working with the twist in the episode. I’m curious to see where it goes.

Uhh…what?

Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about the floaty things. The series seems to be suggesting that the “superheroes” are causing harm, which would suggest that these things are somehow good. However, the idea of creating a “peaceful” illusion seems inherently sinister. Wouldn’t you normally be suspicious of something that gives you a happy delusion?

The fights in this episode seemed okay. The battle at the end was more interesting than the one in the sky, but I’ll probably wait to pass judgment.

Putting together Kuroi’s flashback and the opening scene of the episode, it seems like the big dragon thing from the Kuroi’s memories might have been his ally or something. Maybe it was trying to help and the superheroes mistakenly assumed it was a monster. Kuroi seems to be trying to stop them in the opening scene. Whatever it is, I’m definitely curious.

Darling in the FranXX Final Episode (24): Made it!

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As far as endings go, this one felt pretty unsatisfying for a few reasons. First off, it felt like I was learning too many things that seemed like really late reveals. It was almost like they needed to be said before time ran out. Secondly, pairing Hiro and Zero Two’s fight in space with the extended epilogue of the other characters felt like a weird contrast. And honestly, it felt like things worked out a little too well.

But hey…one last sex joke for the road, right?

It’s nice to see what becomes of the other characters, but I had trouble taking Hiro and Zero Two seriously while watching these kinds of scenes.

I can’t believe that the last battle was decided by a huge “power of friendship” attack. Maybe it’s in line with the other major battles when the love between Zero Two and Hiro managed to save the day, but it still feels lame as an ending.

Let’s be honest…they were asking for this.

They’ll be back?

I disliked this part of the episode the most. The returning klaxosaurs basically restore the Earth. What were they even doing out in space? Since Zero Two and Hiro specifically said that they were the only ones who could survive the portal jump, it’s not like the klaxosaurs were contributing to the fight. Were they just floating around and waiting for the war to end?

This probably explains what happened to Ikuno, even though it’s never explicitly said. Her white hair is likely a result of her accelerating her own aging when she attacked. That would explain why she’s the most sickly in the end. This is kind of a weird moment to reveal that…

At least Goro got a decent ending. I guess Ichigo finally got over Hiro.

I’m honestly not the biggest fan of the reincarnation angle. It always feels like it’s not a “true” reunion.

Final Score: 6/10 Seemed fun at the start, but too many of those promising elements felt underdeveloped, leading to an unsatisfying ending.