Mahoutsukai no Yome and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou First Impressions: Strong contenders in the season

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I’m not planning on covering either of these shows further than the first episode because they’re both technically slice of life, so I’m going to bundle the first episodes together. I doubt I’ll have much more to say.

Mahoutsukai no Yome

I was really looking forward to this adaptation and this first episode didn’t disappoint. With both the way it looked and the way it presented what was in the manga, I felt like this episode did its job. The simple story follows Chise as she tries to find a home for herself after facing only rejection in her life. But the world she enters when she meets Elias leads to some truly charming tales.

I really liked the sense of wonder and mystery I got from the soundtrack in the first episode. It really seemed to fit. The opening song was also pretty nice. I still think that the description of a Sleigh Beggy is a bit strange, but it’s not super important. It’s also a pretty ridiculous name.

I’m curious how this episode felt for people who didn’t read the manga, but watched the OVAs. The OVAs gave a sense of the suffering that Chise experienced before she met Elias (specifically the scenes depicting her home life), so I wonder if the scene with the aerials makes more sense with that context. Given how tragic her life has been, she’s willing to accept Elias just because he welcomed her into his family.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

In sharp contrast to the first show, I knew practically nothing about this series. However, I similarly enjoyed this first episode. Overall, the scenery in this episode was really nice and I liked how much of the story was told without exposition or even dialogue. The interactions between Chito and Yuri were also really charming.

The basic setup for this series seems to be two main characters travelling together through the ruins of a war-torn world. While Chito and Yuri do talk about war in the episode, it’s about the concept rather than a specific event. The background is basically shown in a flashback without any words to elaborate. Normally, I’d be bothered by something like this, but I felt like the scene said a lot.

If I were to lodge a complaint at this series, it would be that I couldn’t quite behind the scene with the final ration. I understand the link to the earlier conversation about why people go to war, but it almost seemed a bit too…overt? But that was pretty minor overall. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this.


Shoukoku no Altair First Impressions (1): Birds are stronger than I expected

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Ahh crap…am I just giving myself another opportunity to show off my complete lack of historical knowledge? I don’t know how accurate this series is, but Turkey seems like a new and interesting place to use as a setting. The political setup in this first episode was pretty interesting to watch. The series introduces us to a tension between two nations and shows us potential enemies on both sides. I wasn’t expecting the conflict in this first episode to resolve itself, but I guess the series needed to show off Mahmut’s skills a bit.

I thought this scene was funnier than it probably should have been. Mahmut’s reaction to seeing a dancer in his bed is to hide on the roof. But more to the point, this part of the episode marked a pretty sudden tone change. Before this point, the episode seemed like a lighthearted introduction for Mahmut, but then it immediately jumps into a fight between Mahmut and a random thief the next day. After that scene ends, we’re suddenly in war talks.

The biggest nagging point for me in this episode, though, has to be Mahmut’s investigation into the assassination. I had a lot of trouble believing that the arrow Mahmut needed to examine was just sitting around for him to find. It’s also possible that the arrow in the church was a normal arrow that made Mahmut realize the discrepancy, but then you’d have to explain how Mahmut saw the arrow used to kill Franz.

I also thought that the way that Halil explained the Empire’s position in the carriage with Mahmut was a nice touch. It served to introduce the Empire as the major political force in the area, and Halil was able to draw an interesting conclusion from the subterfuge used to provoke a war. It also explained the confusing council meeting near the beginning of the episode. If the Empire has the superior political position, it makes more sense for Turkiye to cater to its demands.

In all, this episode had its issues, but it still looked promising. I think I’m interested enough to keep watching more.

Anime Review: Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans

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Phew…this series was a heck of a ride. As a quick summary, the story takes place in a world where Mars has been colonized by humanity. The main characters are what is known as Human Debris, child labor treated as lesser humans. These kids revolt against their “employers” and try to find their way in the world. The best description I’ve been able to come up with for this series is that it’s a Gundam show without all of the “frills” (if that makes sense). The mobile suits don’t have superpowers and the main characters aren’t really backed by some lofty ideals. They’re just kids thrust into a crazy world trying to find their place to call home.

Another part of the “no frills” idea is the lack of hesitation the show has with brutally murdering people. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what type of viewer you are. But the show will build some characters up as allies and then emotionally wrench them away, and it will also build other characters up as frustrating villains and cathartically gun them down without prejudice. So, all in all, a wholesome show, right? And while it’s true that they’re pretty much asking for it with an opening song literally called “RAISE YOUR FLAG”, the show could at least be a little less crazy with the death flags. Those things are everywhere…

Character-wise, I think the series has some strong ones, but runs into problems with managing the extended cast. This is especially true in the second season when characters like Hush and Julietta are introduced as characters with a lot of importance, but ultimately do nothing much to establish themselves. But like I said, there are still some really cool side characters that do pretty well, like Ride, Eugene, and Akihiro to name a few. While Mikazuki is the main character and is certainly impressive in battle, I think the fact that he’s designed as Orga’s “blunt weapon” hinders him overall.

In the music area, the show does really well. The opening songs in the show are very memorable and intense, which fit the tone of the show. The soundtrack is also very cool…it uses strings well to add the same kind of energy to the scenes in the show. Also, the first ending song makes for some really amazing lead-ins at the end of an episode. Overall I think the show was an enjoyable experience even if I think it tries too hard at times to force the emotional scenes to happen.

Overall Score: 7/10

Youjo Senki Final Episode (12): Yup, still evil

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At this point, I don’t think I expected much else from the ending of this series. Looks like we’re just preparing for a second season…which is totally coming, right? But other than that, the struggle continues. I really need to study more history before watching shows like this…

One final note for this series. While I was complaining a bit before, I’ve come around to being okay with the general lack of Being X. It makes a lot more sense that Being X…works in mysterious ways? Plus, doesn’t Being X have better things to do? I’m sure I said that earlier in this series.

Time to get serious…but everyone’s on vacation.

Just comes out and says it, huh? No celebrating! Always keep planning for the next step! Also, I’m not sure about this one. Do you “win” a victory? Or do you obtain or achieve it?

That sounds about right.

Is she saying that Strategic HQ is being too rational and assuming that the Republic will act rationally? That’s a new one. I would have expected the opposite.

While Tanya’s monologue is interesting and all, it kinda shows how little she’s changed. Though that’s probably the point since she’s rebelling against Being X?

This guy has the most insane timing.

The last part of the recruitment poster was the only part that was positive, wasn’t it? I feel like these guys should be more upset about not getting the glory yet since that was probably the main reason they join.

I’m assuming this is a history reference that I’m missing. But more importantly, is he realizing that they should continue the war without Tanya’s intervention? I guess Tanya’s desperation wasn’t needed at all.

Epilogue narration?

Oh, I totally thought this was done. But as someone pointed out to me before, her name is Mary Sioux (Sue), after all.

Yellow eyes? What could it mean? Here’s hoping she’s not just another throwaway enemy that was thrown in the series.

Uhh…Tanya? You okay over there?

Haha this ending…

Overall Score: 7/10

Youjo Senki Episode 11: The obligatory beach episode

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Not a bad episode. The battle in this episode looked cool and I actually thought the slower scenes in the second half of the episode were interesting as well. I’m curious how this ends, though. While the events of the episode certainly open the series up for a follow-up, I’m curious how this season will end. A build-up to the next fight? Or just some polite taunting from Being X again?

I was surprised that Anson was taken care of so quickly…did he even manage to kill anybody important? I’ve heard he doesn’t have any major role in the manga, so that’s probably the reason…but it makes him feel tacked on (which is probably appropriate). Also, as a general gripe, I’m pretty sure that the fact that he blows himself up is just there as a convenience to the audience. Otherwise, there was the chance that he’d just be brought back again.

I had a suspicion, so I had to confirm it. The first two minutes of this episode are an exact copy of the last two minutes of last week’s episode. That’s a little disappointing.

I guess this eye glow is confirmation that Being X is giving him his new power? It’s the same glow that we see in Tanya’s eyes when she “prays”.

Action! Explosions!

Is this supposed to be more important than it was portrayed? Tanya said a prayer to save Weiss just now…that seems pretty significant.

I’m useful, guys! But seriously…Anson had a trench gun and his big plan was to blow himself up to kill Tanya? Why didn’t he just shoot her when they were face-to-face if he wasn’t worried for his own safety?

See? Everyone’s fine. This is a happy show!

A church? Wait, she’s here to gloat. Hahaha that’s a pretty good one.

Not even a war series is immune to the obligatory beach episode.

This scene didn’t make any sense to me, so I did some extra research. Apparently, Tanya’s realization comes from her memory of actual history, which is why she’s so desperate. This is one of those brief moments when her salaryman life is useful in this world, so I was happy to see it.

Seems reasonable enough. Let’s attack!

I guess we’ve failed…

Youjo Senki Episode 10: Victory!

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Alright, time for one last battle, right? Given that most of the magic battles so far have involved Tanya running into an entire unit by herself, it’ll be interesting to see her fight against someone of equal strength. Looking forward to that. I’m still wondering how this series will end, though. It looks like it’s building to an actual ending with the defeat of Anson (or whatever his name is) securing the victory for the Empire. But the general lack of Being X cameos so far makes me wonder if there should be more to an ending for this show than that. Plus, there are rumors of a second season…

Wait, they have magic camouflage? Use that more!

I’m assuming this scene is meant to convey the fact that this guy trusts that Tanya will succeed and bring the war to an end, ignoring the concerns of everyone else at the table. I’m still not good with these “big wig” meetings.

Wow…they won that with relatively little fanfare. Fair enough.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that B was the communications headquarters and C was an ammo depot, but Tanya’s site was an abandoned facility. Way to contribute to the team, Tanya.

So now what? Now that the Empire has destroyed the Republic headquarters, I’m assuming this battle at Rhine is to mop up the remaining forces.

Spoken like someone who’s asking to die.

Nah…just a coincidence of an explosion.

Well, when you put on the map like that, it seems so simple!

I don’t actually mind this one. The visual aid helps and unlike the previous one, it comes with a decent explanation.

Celebrating in a show like this? That’s not allowed!

Holy crap…the Empire has flamethrowers too? Talk about focusing tech first, am I right?

No, not that guy! He had a conscience! Or something…

Also, this guy clearly had the jump on the main characters and he takes out some random guy on the right flank. He knows who the boss is, doesn’t he?

Okay, maybe Grantz is fine. They wouldn’t kill him after showing us this, right?

Youjo Senki Episode 9: No one expects the potato

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Well, this episode certainly makes it seem like we’re heading into the final battle. What better way to do it than launching our main characters into the middle of enemy territory in a missile, right? Anyway, still got plenty of time for the operation to go wrong, a cameo from our recurring villain guy, and some more Being X trolling. Should be fun, right?

I’m curious whether the series actually reaches a resolution. We could get the standard “this is only the beginning” ending, an ending where the war is over but Tanya still has more turmoil ahead before “defeating” Being X, or just a nice, satisfying resolution to everything. Is it sad that I’ve been conditioned to think that last option is ridiculous?

Oh yeah…I totally remember this guy. Also, telling Tanya stuff is always safe, right?

Pretty deep, dude. I should probably hold my criticism of this discussion because, as they say, it’s the first time they’re dealing with a world-scale war.

Something I’ve been wondering for a while now is whether the shields the mages use are constantly on or activated when needed. It feels like most situations where they are used are ones where it would be impossible to react in time, which means they’re likely just active in general. If that’s the case, though, then it makes their situation significantly less dire than that of most soldiers. Would be nice to get a brief explanation on that one, but maybe that’s just me.

You mean the human faces he uses to talk or the nutcracker?

Hasn’t this girl learned not to try and see Tanya’s actions in a positive light?

Stand back! He’s going to try science!

Apparently V1 missiles were a WWII technology. Truly a blessed message from Being X, huh?

Spoken like a good engineer. Control? We don’t need control! Just go straight at them!

I guess this means they’re taking the bait?

So no pressure or anything.

Wait…that’s your end game, Tanya?

Yeah, that’s the voice I would use when reading that letter too.

Youjo Senki Episode 8: War sucks

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So I guess this episode is where the dissent begins? Anyway, I think it’s easy to get on Tanya’s case about the paper subverting the law on bombarding cities and her refusal to disobey the order to take out the mages defending the civilians on the battlefield. But I refuse to believe that the Republic wasn’t using the civilians as a shield. They are equally culpable for sending them into the line of fire.

I wonder if I’m being too charitable with Tanya, but I think that there’s complexity with the concept of evil and I think it’s too easy to write someone off as evil and stop thinking about it. There’s a structure to the way Tanya approaches problems. But eh…maybe I’m just a bad person.

Oh we’re back at Rhine?

Yeah…she’s really impressive (what has she been doing again?).

Okay, I admit I had to rewatch this a few times to get it, but I think they’re purposely dancing around saying that civilians will be eliminated if they’re in the way. It’s why they make a big deal out of fighting in a city and why the officer asks “who would want to be a soldier”.

Well, maybe if you use the loli announcer voice again.

This fight is…kinda awesome.

This isn’t too bad. Weiss gives the doubtful soldier some validation in his opinion of the operation while also removing himself from the battlefield to give the soldier room to act.

Yes…protect…we must protect.

Just following orders, right?

Is this the part where the other soldiers start doubting Tanya or becoming more like her? Hard to say.

All according to plan, huh?

Well, this isn’t too surprising. Recurring antagonist is back!

Youjo Senki Episode 7: Ye of little faith

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Well, hope everyone enjoyed they’re break, but we’re back. I guess the point of this episode was to set up some kind of rival for Tanya. On the one hand, it kinda makes sense to create a character with a story to face Tanya. On the other hand, it clashes a bit with the proclamation Being X made about Tanya facing the world. But…uhh…Tanya has a new gun! That’s important!

Your “submachine gun” looks a lot like a rifle.

Update: after a little research, apparently this gun is something in the SIG MKMO family. I take back my snarky comment.

I feel like maybe my guard is high because of the recap last week, but this guy’s mouth moves way too much before he actually makes a sound.

You’re calling the leader of a mobile mage suicide squad a coward? That’s a good one.

The struggle is real…

This is nice. It shows the people in charge aren’t complete idiots and gives Tanya another chance to show off.

This character’s important because he got a backstory, but I still haven’t figured out why. Either he’s a recurring enemy or he just got the backstory because he’s going to die.

Well, that’s a fun way of putting it.

I don’t know how I feel about this flashback because I legitimately forgot who this guy was and it reminded me.

Reinforcements have arrived!

When fake prayer beats real prayer…that’s just awkward.

Why do I get the feeling that this is setting up some grudge match in the future against Mary?

Yeah, I’m starting to rethink on the Mary thing. You’d expect a more angry reaction if she were going to get revenge. So maybe that guy just isn’t dead?