Random Lists: 5 Amazing Worlds to Explore (Through Travel)

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Sensei struggles

I’ve never really been an outdoors person, but I grew up in a household that loved their family trips. When your extended family lives on another continent, you get kind of used to it. As a result, I think I have a somewhat uncharacteristic sense of wanderlust. To that end, I think I’ve always enjoyed anime that let me channel that feeling in a better (cheaper) way. These shows feature characters who are just trying to get from place to place, whether it’s to explore their destination or to take in the sights along the way.

Asking penguins to wait

5. Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further Than The Universe)

Admittedly, this series involves much fewer destinations, but it technically includes content from three different countries. I’d say that counts. Additionally, I think it’s probably the most relatable tale in the modern era, as it follows four girls who travel together to Antarctica. I’m not necessarily saying that Antarctica is the most desirable of destinations, but the idea of putting together a group of people to visit a new place is somewhat universal.

Mikochi gets serious

4. Hakumei to Mikochi

This isn’t the grandest of journeys, but it’s all relative. The titular characters, Hakumei and Mikochi, inhabit the world of the small, which makes a vast expanse even more so. I think the novelty of the show largely comes from how the perspective change influences the lives of the girls. Because of the size difference, they can live in a tree and food becomes more plentiful. It’s a relaxing world to experience.

Chi stares

3. Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (Girls’ Last Tour)

How about something more futuristic? I can think of nothing more uplifting than a show about two girls who explore the shattered remains of a humanity that has all but destroyed itself. While most travel shows are about unraveling the world around you and seeing beautiful backgrounds, this series is more of a mystery show. As we follow Chito and Yuuri, we’re learning about how the world has managed to get itself to this point. In that sense, it will always be one of my favorite shows set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Holo dresses up

2. Spice and Wolf

Set in a simpler time, this series is probably the one I think about first when I think of travel. The two main characters, Holo and Kraft Lawrence, have a clear goal in mind, but they stop to explore everything along the way. While the main thrust of the series is the portrayal of economic and business interactions, I think the series benefits greatly from the diversity of its setting. It’s so entertaining to watch Holo and Lawrence learn about the various cities in this humble period of history.

1. Infinite Dendrogram

I suppose this is cheating, but I honestly can’t wait for this anime adaptation to air. Just from text alone, I feel like I’ve been able to explore an incredible world within a game that has its own unique ecosystem. What impresses me the most about this series is that it meshes its self-grown fantasy world with the “idea” of player-controlled characters so well. It’s not just a world that has been invaded by gamers. It’s a world that has become used to the existence of those gamers.

Aria Review: Quiet relaxation

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Ai asks for help

Okay, I’m guessing I’m a little late to the party on this one. If you’re looking for a show to help you relax, this one might actually be the ultimate experience. I came to the series from the manga, but the anime does a great job of translating the tone.

Akari asks about the Aria Company

The story is set on a futuristic version of Mars, which has been terraformed for normal habitation, in the city of Neo Venezia. Because the real Venice has likely been swallowed by the ocean at this point, humans build a copy of the iconic city on Mars. The main character, Akari Mizunashi, is a gondolier tour guide called an Undine. The series follows her as she explores the city around her and guides tourists with the knowledge she gains.

Athena is not suspicious

Aria is a series that really appeals to the wanderlust within me. Akari is endlessly curious about the world around her, so many of the episodes involve her learning something new about herself through the city. The series does a great job of balancing its realistic setting with a sense of mysticism and deep-rooted traditions. It truly feels like you’re travelling along with the main characters.

Akari calls Aika a crybaby

Akari doesn’t carry the series alone. I think that the entire cast of characters (whose names strangely start with the letter A) is entertaining to watch. They come from different backgrounds, but they all move forward towards something they want to accomplish. As a result, I think the series captures the slice of life tone without making every episode feel like a sandbox. The characters can make clear progress, and I would say the story has a logical ending point.

Akari floats around a hot spring

It’s an older show, but I think it still has a lot to offer. It’s probably the kind of show that’s easy to find boring if you prefer shows with action, but I enjoyed its sense of wonder.

As a final comment, I think the strangest part about this series is that it uses the opening animation to show unique scenes that lead into the episode’s content. It works out because I like the openings for this show, but it could have gone so very wrong.

Overall Score: 9/10

Maou-sama, Retry First Impressions (1): A tale as old as time

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Akira says goodbye to the demon lord

Borrowing from the long-standing traditions laid out in other shows, this series follows one man’s journey inside a video game world as he searches for a way back to his world. I suppose the main interest is that the main character, Akira Oono, doesn’t seem to be the standard gamer type. Rather, it seems more like he’s supposed to be a game administrator who plays the role of demon lord within the game.

Akira uses his administrator privileges

Honestly, I don’t have much of a problem with the isekai genre, so I thought that this first episode was fine. It doesn’t particularly stand out amongst its relatives, but it’s enjoyable enough. If anything, I’d say that the episode kind of glosses over a lot (like why creating items costs skill points). I think it would be funny to watch Akira abuse his administrator privileges if that continues to be relevant.

Akira should have read more light novels

There’s also kind of an interesting scene when Akira is first transported into the game where you can see what looks like missiles or meteors falling in the background. I might be reading too much into it, but it implies that he’s transported into the game after his original world is destroyed or something.

Maou tries to get his wish

This scene probably suffered the most from being glossed over in my opinion. It’s implied that Akira came to this world because his avatar, Hakuto Kunai, was directly summoned by the dead sorcerers in this room, valiantly attempting to have their wish granted. And then, Hakuto strangely gets his unverbalized wish granted through a ring that does…something.

Aku wants to know Maou's wish

It might still be too early for this, but I do wonder where this series is headed. From this first episode alone, it sounds like it’s just going to be random travels of Hakuto and Aku in a video game fantasy world. I don’t particularly have a problem with that as a premise. I just wonder if that’s what I’m committing to watching, you know?

Hakuto cloaks himself

The scene in Aku’s village also seemed a little weird to me. Hakuto cloaks himself for a reason that he doesn’t really explain, only to reveal himself almost immediately as Aku is assaulted by rocks. Maybe it wasn’t obvious enough that the other villagers were approaching her with hostility? Either way, they just leave and ignore the reason they came. I guess it’s meant to show that the people in the village are jerks or something.

Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho Review: The grand adventure

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Exploring Antarctica

Quite possibly my favorite series that aired in 2018, Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho is a tale of adventure to one of the most desolate places on Earth. I’m not going to lie. Part of the reason I stalled this review is that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to write a good one.

Mari realizes that she hasn't done anything in her high school years

The story follows Mari Tamaki, a girl with dreams of seeing the world who realizes that she’s spent the majority of her high school life without any progress on those aspiration. However, she’s given her chance when she meets Shirase Kobuchizawa, a girl determined to visit Antarctica.

Shirase is driven by the disappearance of her mother, who was lost on her own expedition to Antarctica. Desperate to understand her mother’s passion, Shirase is willing to go to any length to go to Antarctica herself. Inspired by her, Mari decides to help her and join her on her trip.

Mari has trouble with her own plans

To be fair, this series was bound to appeal to me, as my family is one that travels fairly often. As a result, I’m the type of person who enjoys going out to see the world. That being said, I did find myself identifying heavily with Mari, the character with the most fear when it comes to travelling.

And that’s because I’ve found that I can be similarly hesitant to travel on my own. Despite having been to plenty of places in the past, I can understand her ability to talk herself out of her plans when the slightest thing goes wrong. I am pretty indecisive, after all.

Shirase invites Mari on her trip

As you may expect, Antarctica isn’t exactly the safest place in the world, so Shirase and Mari face a heavy amount of opposition for their proposed trip. The series itself is largely a story of overcoming that adversity in order to reach their dream. The two are eventually joined by two other girls, and it’s a lot of fun to watch them working together, especially since they all come from very different worlds.

Mari wins a million yen

From a technical standpoint, I appreciated how much effort went into visuals in this series. From the vast landscapes in various locations to just general scene layout, it was enough that even I could notice. The screenshot above is one of my favorite moments. It shows Mari after having just picked up a million yen standing in front of an advertisement for winning a million yen. It’s a great visual joke.

While the major plot points in this series tend to have a harsh reality to them, the series is pretty lighthearted overall. I also really liked the emotional aspect of the ending, but I won’t go too much into that. If you’re not into cute girls doing cute things, I can understand, but I think this series has enough going for it to warrant a shot nonetheless.

Overall Score: 9/10

Thoughts on the Virtue Point system from Kino’s Journey

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I finally managed to catch up a bit more with Kino no Tabi, but I generally haven’t had too much to say about it. If anything, I’d say the show has at least gotten me interested in watching the original. That being said, I wanted to take a moment to talk about episode 9, which was a mashup of multiple countries. In particular, I wanted to talk about the country with the virtue point system as I think it got the short end of the stick.

Technically, this post has spoilers for episode 9 because I’ll be talking about the country that was introduced, but I don’t personally think it changes the viewing experience. Still, consider this a fair warning.

I tend to find moral questions interesting, and this country seemed like a pretty fun thought experiment. On the surface, the episode asks a pretty simple question. If you’re a person who is capable of performing enough good deeds to justify killing a single human being, would you even be capable of performing the act? The episode seems to say “no”.

But I think this question is purposely convoluted to dodge the underlying question. Is it possible to justify killing a human being in cold blood with enough good deeds? It’s easy to say “no” when you’re thinking about the case presented in the episode. If you’re doing good deeds for the express purpose of killing someone, it muddies the water for the deeds themselves.

However, I think the question is important because of the reverse case. If you commit a premeditated murder, is there any number of good deeds that could make up for it? This question kinda gets at how we view justice. How do we think murderers should be punished? Personally, I tend to think of the justice system as a mechanism for rehabilitation if at all possible, so I would probably lean towards saying that it’s possible for redemption to happen.

But yeah, that’s what I was thinking about when I was watching the episode. What do you think?

What will you remember about a show in 5 years?

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Will I remember this series in 5 years? This is a question that I find I don’t ask myself enough. For that reason, I thought it might be fun to set up a little experiment to see what I really remember from the shows I watched when I first started this blog. The idea is to pretty much go through the list of series that I wrote about in the past to see what left an impression.

The goal is to use what I remember from past series to get a better idea of what I’ll remember in the shows I watch now. To keep things fun, I’ve avoided looking up anything related to the series I’m covering to see what I truly recall.

Dantalian no Shoka

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should say that I read the manga version of this series at some point in the past two years, so I did refresh my memory a bit. Put simply, I remember this series as being about a man (was his name Humphrey or something?) who inherits his relative’s estate (grandfather, maybe?). As part of this inheritance, he meets Dalian, a strange girl who holds an entire library of magic books within her body.

Our protagonist is also given a key that allows him to unlock that library and make use of the books inside of it. From there, the series follows a bunch of short arcs where the protagonist and Dalian (who I believe was often bribed with sweets) investigate multiple strange occurrences that involve magic books.

As spoiler warning, I’ll be talking about the plot of one of the episodes in particular if you care about spoilers. It’s unrelated to any kind of overarching plot in the show.

There’s only one arc in this series that I can remember vividly enough to actually describe, and that’s probably because it was my first real experience with bad science in an anime. The episode focuses on a struggling author that Dalian really likes who is trying to write the final installment in a series of books. He’s watched by a deranged fan who repeatedly kills him and resurrects him with a magic book.

In the end, the author becomes “immune to death” through evolution after his repeated deaths and rebirths. I’m willing to concede that this is a world of magic, so it’s in the realm of possibility, but it seems to be a pretty gross misunderstanding of evolution. But hey, that’s what it takes for me to remember what happens. I think it’s safe to say that I still think positively about the series if I was willing to read the manga later.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

I saw a review for this series fairly recently, and I’m actually interested in watching it again. It’s not that the show is particularly noteworthy. From what I remember, it’s a pretty simple show, a slice of life show about a Japanese girl staying in a Western country (France?).

I can’t remember any names, but I recall that it takes place in a fairly unpopular shopping district. The male lead is the son of a famous craftsman who is attempting to scrape by after the passing of his father. I believe he’s aided by his uncle(?), who introduces him to the Japanese girl.

From there, it’s nothing special. The two learn about each other and the differences in their cultures. There was also another girl in the series who was obsessed with Japan. It’s definitely a show that I don’t think about often, but I would remember it if it’s mentioned. I’d say I have a positive impression of it.

Kamisama no Memochou

I pick this show to kinda prove a point. I say a lot that I enjoy watching mystery shows, but I honestly can’t say I remember anything from this series. I know it was a mystery series about a NEET girl who solves crimes without leaving her room. I just remember that she was really good with computers, but I think that much should be pretty obvious from cover art. I believe the main character was a generic male lead meant to interact with the world in her place. I really remember nothing about him. I feel like I should rethink the whole “mystery genre” thing.

Mawaru Penguindrum

I would have expected to remember more about this series because of how crazy it is, but I don’t really feel like I remember that much. I know that it centered around three siblings, the youngest of whom is terminally ill. I think she might have died, but gets resurrected by a penguin hat that periodically possesses her and forces her brothers to do weird things.

I’d say this is probably the most popular series in this post, but it was way too early for me to understand the symbolism or message that was in the series. My overall impression of the series is likely negative because I just didn’t get it at the time. Oh, and the series had penguins…that was a plus.


So how’d I do? Maybe I’m biased, but I thought I did pretty well.

Do you recognize the series I’ve mentioned? If so, what did you take away from them? If you watched them at around the same time, let’s compare notes.

Returning to China

Awesome Berserker pic has nothing to do with the post. Why is it here? Because I can.

The time has come once again for me to embark upon the arduous journey to China in order to visit my family. I’ll be leaving on Wednesday and will be staying for a month in Shanghai. For added fun, my brother and I will be stopping in Japan for three days. So far, my plan consists of: Akihabara. Sounds pretty solid (HELP ME!!!). While this sounds all fun and whatnot for me, what does it mean for you as a reader?

Well, my posting pattern will likely change. I can’t say for sure because I don’t know how my situation will be in China, but what will likely happen is that most things will be pushed back a day or two. It’s also possible that I drop shows to help with time. That’s just how it is with the Great Firewall of China. It’s not that I won’t be able to access my blog…more that I might have troubles with downloading the anime.

Either way, I will try my best to maintain at least one post a day…I just hope you all understand that when I visit my relatives, I often go to places without an Internet connection. And I don’t know if you’ve ever tried watching anime on a netbook, but it’s probably the most frustrating thing in the universe. Media Player Classic is stupidly processor-heavy…I really should find an alternate solution. Anyways, here’s hoping I don’t pick up any weird fetishes in Japan.