Fairy Gone Episode 2: This seems familiar

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Marlya thinks she's unlucky

After spending the first episode reuniting the main character, Marlya, with her old friend only to have her escape, the second episode…basically does the same thing for Free. I guess that’s one way to do it. My opinion of the series is largely unchanged by this episode. I think the series is blazing forward with introducing its plot without taking a second to give the characters or the world any reasonable sense of focus. We’re introduced to various aspects of the world without any context, so it’s hard to tell what’s normal or taboo.

Free becomes a Fairy Soldier

That being said, I did like how Free and Marlya are contrasted at the start of the episode. Marlya sees the death around her as a form of bad luck, leaving her to suffer alone. Meanwhile, Free describes this same property as good luck, given that he’s survived. It sets the two up as having opposing views on their pasts, even though they end up being fundamentally similar. I don’t think it’s a bad way to introduce two allies.

Marlya's condition is strange

I guess it turns out that Marlya has a rare condition after all. I’m not sure how to react to that, since everyone seems to be fairly chill about it. I think that having the main character end up being an exception to the rule is fine, but it just doesn’t feel deserved to me. In the first episode, Marlya doesn’t do anything in particular for the fairy in the jar, so I don’t see why it would have formed a bond with her.

Free confronts Wolfran

As for the main focus of the episode, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the first episode. Free confronts Wolfran with knowledge of their past, just as Marlya does with Veronica. In the end, Wolfran is fundamentally different than the person Free knew (presumably because his wife and daughter were killed), and he escapes.

Artificial fairies come to life

How big of a deal are artificial fairies in this world? Given how little the series wants to describe its setting, it’s hard to tell whether these are meant to be some new technology or an established concept.

Marlya jumps out of the way

Can we appreciate how ridiculous this scene looks? At the moment when Marlya reacts, it seems way too late to properly get out of the way. And even when she does jump out of the way, she looks like she starts the jump from a safe point anyway. To top it off, the car(?) looks incredibly impractical.

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Fairy Gone First Impressions (1): Bring back Veronica

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War is harsh

Well, that could have gone better. There seemed to be a decent amount going on in this first episode, but I didn’t get the sense that I had enough information to make a decent judgment by the end. The story takes place in a post-war fantasy world where humans can use fairies to fight. The main character, Marlya Noel, is one of the two survivors from her home village of Suna, and she desperately searches for the other survivor, Veronica.

Free explains what fairies are

Aw, I really wish Free would have finished here. He stops for literally no reason other than to tease the audience, so it’s frustrating to see. The fairies are presumably the most interesting part about this world, so I kind of want to know what their deal is.

Veronica steals the page from the Black Tome

I know there’s a synopsis and all, but this episode felt like it was “jumping in” a bit too quickly. Without any context on what a Fairy Soldier is, it’s hard to follow the motivations for characters like Free and Veronica. Free makes more sense later when he reveals that he’s part of Dorothea, but it means that the entire “Gui Carlin” thing was effectively a throwaway.

Veronica brushes Marlya off

Marlya herself also isn’t a particularly convincing character. Veronica’s grudge again Lay Dawn (who definitely is not named “Lay Down”) makes sense, as he’s a native of Suna who came back to massacre the townspeople. From what we can gather in this episode, Marlya has apparently been roaming by herself in the meantime to find Veronica, and she cuts all tension in this episode in her vain attempts to reunite with her old friend.

Marlya binds with a fairy

From the synopsis, it sounds like fairies normally get implanted into Fairy Soldiers after they possess another animal, so it would seem that Marlya’s interaction with this fairy breaks the rules of the world. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if that’s the case, but it gets back to what I said about context. Without that sense of how the world works, this scene has no real impact. For all we know, this happens all the time.

Veronica faces off against Free

I’m kind of sad about the action in this opener. I don’t care too much about the CGI monstrosity bit. Sure, the fairies look like they don’t belong in this world, but that might actually be appropriate. The heartbeat sound they make when they use the fairies is a bit distracting, but what can you do?

I’m more bothered by the fact that the sword/knife fight. Most of the attacks were erratic, and the slashes were pretty much instantaneous, making them hard to follow. As a result, they seemed like a formality while the fairies fought in the background

Free threatens Marlya

I’m actually curious what this means as well. Is it just the case that Fairy Soldiers were discarded after the war ended? I guess it would work if Dorothea is hunting down Fairy Soldiers just trying to survive in the world.

Endro Review: The quest to become a great hero

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The hero's party faces off against the demon lord

Somehow, this series wasn’t actually a video game adaptation. It certainly seems like it from the beginning. The legendary Hero faces off against the Demon Lord with three fellow adventurers. They cast a forbidden spell and the Demon Lord is sealed away. The credits roll. Wait, this is all from the first episode. In reality, this forbidden spell turns out to be a time spell that sends the demon lord to the past, where she resolves to sabotage the Hero’s journey.

Seira gets embarrassed

To be honest, that introduction was enough to catch my interest for this series. As a whole, the series has a charming sense of playfulness that I greatly enjoyed. It takes the standard fantasy adventure premise and turns it into a goofy slice of life with both the protagonists and the main villain. I probably would have preferred if the hero, aptly nicknamed Yuusha, wasn’t actually the airhead she seemed to be, but I suppose it fits with the story.

Mao tries to jump above the podium

Along those same lines, I thought that the characters in the series had an equal charm to them. Even the girl whose only gimmick was that she’s obsessed with the cards they use to cast spells had her own character arc of sorts. The demon lord herself, who takes on the name Mao, also has a nice transition, making real connections outside of the main character to help her redemption story.

The legendary hero wields a club

All in all, I don’t have too much to say about this series. It’s that kind of show. It does have a pastel color style that I think is a bit overboard, but I can live with that. I thought that the series was surprisingly funny, so it was always fun to watch. Also, the number of scenes that were screenshot-worthy in this series was truly impressive (and that’s definitely important, right?).

Overall Score: 7/10

Winter 2019 Grab Bag Week 5: Manaria Friends, Shield Hero

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Grea's new haircut

Manaria Friends General Impressions (1-3)

To be fair, there’s not too much to talk about for this series. As a fan of the Manaria-related content from Granblue Fantasy, I see the show mostly as a bit of fun, watching characters I like interact with each other. The series basically follows Anne, a princess attending Manaria Academy, and her friend Grea, a dragonborn princess. As far as we’ve seen in the first three episodes, the series is largely slice of life without too much development involved. I’m actually kind of hoping that changes, though, since what I know of Grea’s story is surprisingly interesting.

Anne and Grea test out weapons

I’ve always thought that the contrast between Anne and Grea was interesting. They both share a relatively similar set of insecurities, but they have opposed personalities. Plus, there’s the whole fire and ice thing going on.

Grea tries a new outfit

Also, every episode seems to have a fairly gratuitous dressing scene for at least one of the main characters if you’re into that. Not to say I’m not into that…

Raphtalia is tired of dealing with people

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Episodes 4-5

It’s interesting to see how my opinions can change from manga to anime. Granted, part of it has to do with the fact that I tend to analyze anime more heavily than manga, but I’m sure a decent part of it comes from how much time has passed since I first read it. My point is that I’ve been a bit skeptical about these recent episodes, especially when it comes to general dialogue.

Raphtalia gets a new slave crest

While I thought that Raphtalia’s defense of Naofumi during the duel with Motoyasu was a great emotional moment, her speech to Motoyasu felt a bit strange. It’s true that Naofumi has demonstrated a much stronger sense of empathy than Motoyasu, but Raphtalia’s claim that Motoyasu should have a slave of his own doesn’t feel convincing to me. It completely ignores “opportunity”, right? The opportunity to buy a slave presented itself to Naofumi, after all.

The villagers start to help Naofumi

It is nice to see people warming up to Naofumi, though. It makes him come off as much less of a jerk overall, which makes him an easier character to watch.

Motoyasu tries to add new tolls to the village

I mean, I get that it’s a legitimate mistake from Motoyasu here, but it’s weird that he doesn’t back down when Naofumi tells him what the buying power of a silver is. Add in the annoyingly blatant cheating during the race, and it just seems like Motoyasu and Malty are being mean for the sake of it.

Filo takes human form

New character time? Filo definitely went through a full range of changes, but it looks like we’ve settled on one.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 13: Back to the future

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Yuito remembers a time when he drew alone

I think this ending was satisfying overall. It didn’t feel like it was trying to overreach, and it seemed to cover the missing pieces that I was hoping would be addressed. When I say it didn’t overreach, I mean that I was happy to see the story avoided going through unnecessary hoops to force a happy ending. The bittersweet ending worked out for me.

Yuito remembers his time with Hitomi

The episode opened with Yuito looking back on his days with Hitomi with a sense of longing. Honestly, part of me wondered whether this tone was meant to convince the audience that something went wrong in the time magic spell (even if it would have made no sense at all in the context of the show).

Hitomi learns to let go

All in all, I do like the idea of not getting in your own way, as Hitomi says. At least, that was my understanding of the ultimate theme of the show.

Hitomi remembers her time with Yuito

It was nice to see Hitomi sharing her final moments with Yuito before returning to the future. I like that the memories were shown in black and white as Hitomi goes through them. It could just be because the world was black and white at the time, but that’s a less meaningful interpretation in my eyes.

Kohaku realizes that Hitomi was casting the time magic

It is a bit of a bummer that Kohaku ends on a low after Hitomi leaves, as she realizes that Hitomi’s magic was what sent her back. I guess it makes sense that Kohaku wouldn’t be able to figure it out so quickly, but it definitely raises some questions for me about Kohaku’s relationship with her daughter. I wonder if she might have gotten too obsessed with her granddaughter, and forced her daughter to suffer as a result.

Kohaku knew about the past events before sending Hitomi back

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised to find out that Kohaku knew what would happen before sending Hitomi back. It does definitely call into question how time magic really works, but I could probably speculate forever about that.

Hitomi visits a grave

It was kind of sad that Hitomi didn’t get to reconnect with her older friends in the future, but this scene in particular has me interested. Given the immediate context, the quick assumption would be that Hitomi is visiting her mother’s grave. However, that doesn’t really make sense, since she wanted to go see her mother with Kohaku. In that case, I would think it’s most likely that this is actually Yuito’s grave, which explains why there isn’t a tearful reunion.

Hitomi joins the future Photography Club

As I said, it would have been nice to see more of the other characters, but this is a solid ending for Hitomi herself. Also, the bookstore owner is confirmed as Kohaku’s husband, maybe?

Final Score: 8/10

Looked great, and the show had the kind of subtlety that I tend to like. I think many of the side characters get heavily pushed aside, but I did like watching Hitomi’s progress as a character.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 12: Last hurrah

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Yuito is hoping for Hitomi's safety

With this nice, wholesome episode leading up to the finale, I have to say that I was happy to see how much restraint it had. The episode had a clear tone with its attempt to make Hitomi’s final moments in the past as nice as possible, and it stuck with it. The way the episode ended was a bit mean, but it felt fine with the pacing of the episode. Yuito and Hitomi still have a lot to say to each other, right?

Hitomi and Kohaku prepare for the show

There were multiple moments when the show had the chance to throw a wrench into everything, by having Hitomi disappear in the haunted house or having her magic go haywire when sending people into the painting. Anything like that would have felt overly dramatic to me, so it was nice that the episode just went well.

Yuito's drawing seems fine now

Something that bothered me a bit in this episode was how things seemed to work out for the other characters. Watching Hitomi’s character progression has been interesting, but we just get a brief glimpse of Kurumi with her sister in a montage. As for Yuito himself, I like the idea that his drawing has improved after he started drawing for Hitomi, but we still haven’t seen what caused his slump in the first place.

That being said, they could be saving that for the final confession. Yuito could start out by spelling out how Hitomi helped him. It’s what I’m hoping for, at least.

Hitomi meets the bookstore owner

Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it seemed like there was a bit of a lull in this scene. I’ve seen the theory that Ichiyanagi is Hitomi’s grandfather, so I might just be overly sensitive to it.

Hitomi sees the colors in the fireworks

On the one hand, it’s a bit sad to see Hitomi return to the past with monochrome vision. Other the other hand, it does feel more realistic to see a more gradual recovery for her condition.

Hitomi still has one thing left undone

I’m looking forward to seeing how this ends up going. I’m going to feel silly if I praised this episode for restraint just to have Hitomi disappear in a critical moment next week.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 11: Time catches up

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What's an event?

Well, this episode introduces an interesting hurdle. Recent episodes have been hinting at the idea that Hitomi has a time limit to her stay in the past, but I wasn’t expecting an actual danger to her existence. Part of me wonders whether this intentionally adds too much drama to the series, but I think I can accept that it was becoming too difficult for Hitomi to go back without something extra to push her. I’m looking forward to seeing how bittersweet the ending is.

Hitomi feels the effects of the time gap

The whole idea of the time gap is actually quite intriguing. Based on the excerpt we get from Kohaku’s emails, it seems to be a manifestation of the self-correcting nature of time, but we don’t get too much more. It’s times like this one that I wish the series went a little bit deeper into how its magic works. I’m fine with the fact that the story focuses more on the romance part, but I just get that feeling.

Kohaku is worried about the sand

I’m actually curious what this scene is trying to get at. From a story perspective, I would have preferred if Kohaku had just acknowledged that she needed too much sand to gather alone before time ran out. However, this is a time travel anime, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this scene was meant to show that the timing of the typhoon is important for Hitomi’s return, given that a later scene shows that the typhoon brings a lot more sand to the beach.

Hitomi returns from the time gap asleep

Once again, I really do wonder why the time gap manifests itself in this way. I would have expected Hitomi to just return to the point where she disappeared without realizing what had happened, but she returns asleep.

Chigusa and Asagi react in different ways

I find myself relating more with Chigusa’s response to the fact that Hitomi is leaving. When hearing that Hitomi could be in danger, it would seem more important to focus on fixing the problem rather than dwelling on losing Hitomi. I guess Asagi was much closer to Hitomi, so it would be harder on her.

Hitomi finding it hard to part with Yuito

I did like this scene between Yuito and Hitomi in the end. I look forward to seeing what ends up happening with their relationship, since it definitely doesn’t look like it will end well.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 10: Art hopping

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Asagi and Hitomi feeling the awkwardness

This episode certainly shifted gears quickly, but it was nice to finally hear why Hitomi hated magic. And to be fair, it was a decent reason that made a lot of sense, so no complaints here. I’m sure there’s still more to that story, but this is a good start.

Shou wonders what's going on between Hitomi and Asagi

Well spotted, Shou.

Hitomi and Asagi finally talk

It’s a nice development to see Hitomi valuing her friendship with Asagi enough to take deliberate steps to reach out to Asagi. Even with how awkward the two were around each other, Hitomi still chose to follow Asagi into what could only be a more awkward situation. It’s nice that they made up, even if it was strangely quick.

Hitomi practices her magic in preparation for the show

The whole idea of bringing people into a drawing is cool, but the magic part of it felt a bit sketchy. Kohaku states that Hitomi has a special talent for casting the spell to enter the drawing since she needs to touch the heart of the artist. It makes sense for Hitomi to resonate with Aoi’s drawings because the two have a connection, but Hitomi’s practice runs are done with other random paintings. How exactly does that work out?

Hitomi sees colors with everyone else in the painting

I like this line from Hitomi. It’s nice that Aoi’s art gives her the ability to feel more normal with everyone else.

Hitomi remembers her mother leaving

I’d be curious to see how Hitomi’s mother actually felt. Given the circumstances, it actually makes sense for her to resent Hitomi, who seems to have a gift with magic, if she herself had no talent for magic. It could also make sense for Hitomi’s mother to have gone through a situation similar to Hitomi’s, repressing her own magic. Given how passionate Kohaku is about magic, I could definitely see that. Hopefully, the story goes over that too.

Hitomi lets out her frustration

I really expected Aoi to insist that Hitomi did nothing wrong here, but he totally lets her vent. That’s kind of different…

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 9: A valiant effort

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Shou offers to take Hitomi out

This…was kind of a weird episode. As always, I like how the episode used its scene to “show” more of what it was doing, but I think maybe the melodrama was a bit much for my taste. Hey, props to Shou for actually making a move, but I’m getting a little tired of watching the rift between him and Asagi. I’m curious to see how their relationship will get resolved, since I find it hard to come up with a solution that doesn’t make Asagi seem like consolation.

Shou consults with Yuito before going out with Hitomi

It’s nice of Shou to come clean with Yuito about going out with Hitomi, but I think this scene is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing Shou with Asagi in the end. If he truly had some clue about her feelings for him, it feels like he’s being pretty cruel to talk to Yuito about the date thing and not Asagi. Maybe it’s just a “bro” relationship thing with Yuito, but it still seems weird to me.

Shou takes Hitomi to his favorite spot

I think it’s a nice touch that we’re shown so many scene with Hitomi and Shou together, and Shou is looking at Hitomi for most of them. Meanwhile, Hitomi’s usually focused on something else entirely.

The class is curious about Hitomi's confession conversation

I like this scene for injecting a lighthearted moment into the drama. I always appreciate that kind of shift in tone, and this one feels pretty natural.

Yuito messes up at work

I also liked seeing Yuito screw up at work when he hears about how distressed Hitomi is. The episode isn’t super obvious about it, and Chigusa doesn’t tease him for his mistake. It’s a simple scene to show how he feels about Hitomi.

Asagi talks things over with Hitomi

This scene between Asagi and Hitomi also had some good moments. Overall, it’s a painful experience for Asagi, but I do like the fact that she figures out what’s going on between Hitomi and Shou by seeing the picture of Shou’s spot in Hitomi’s phone.

Hitomi responds to Shou

I know it would never happen, but the way Hitomi responds to Shou at the end almost made it sound like she’d agree to go out with him. But I guess there’s no time in the show for something like that. Maybe I was just getting the wrong impression…the translation in this episode was a bit sketchy.

Asagi admits her feelings for Shou to Hitomi

Being Asagi is suffering.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 8: Is this show really going to have a happy ending?

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Hitomi still needs to take her photo

This series is really fun to watch, since there’s a lot of room for speculation and the episode feels like it’s rewarding me for paying attention. I tend to like that kind of thing. That being said, this episode definitely seemed ominous to me. With the focus on Kohaku’s magic and Shou’s unrequited love it, I’m sensing a spike in drama in our future. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.

Kohaku uses magic for the first time

It’s the little details in this show that tend to capture my attention the most. Even in a minor flashback to explain why Kohaku loves magic, she’s casually destroying parts of the room with her magic.

Kohaku runs an experiment with Yuito and Hitomi

I’m still enjoying seeing how much Kohaku tries to support Hitomi, even if it’s for the sake of science (magic science?). When she proposes the idea that Hitomi subconsciously took her own color away with her magic, it was something that had to be said even if everyone was already thinking it.

Hitomi remembers a book with color from her childhood

I’ll be shocked if Yuito doesn’t turn out to be the person who wrote the picture book from Hitomi’s memories.

Kohaku is determined to send Hitomi back to the future

I’m curious to see what ends up happening with the time magic in this series. The simplest solution is the deterministic continuum, meaning the older Kohaku sends Hitomi back because she already experienced the events of this story with Hitomi. I can always hope there’s more to it, but I recognize that it’s the most logical ending.

Shou wonders whether Hitomi will leave

The parallels between Shou and Asagi are actually interesting. Given that the two having unrequited feelings of love, I’m actually wondering if we’ll get an awkward ending in which Shou kind of “settles”. That might be strange.

Kohaku reverses time on a broken camera

I was happy to see that the whole business with Kohaku’s time magic went in a different direction than I expected it to go. Given how her magic reverts in her experiments, it suggests that the spell that sent Hitomi back to the past will also revert itself.

Granny wonders about the future Kohaku's motives

Kohaku’s time magic in this episode also makes this particular scene pretty loaded. Kohaku’s grandmother suggests that Kohaku doesn’t tell Hitomi how to reverse the spell because she knows that the past Kohaku would figure it out. But if Kohaku’s magic ends up reversing itself, the future Kohaku could just know that a reversal spell isn’t needed. I like this concept of using words of comfort in a seemingly sinister way.