Six episode review: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

In which I base my opinion of an anime on like half of the season.


What’s it about

Miss Kobayashi is an office worker who lives a fairly boring and single life until she gets drunk one night and pulls a sword out of a wounded dragon. The dragon, Tohru, decides to pay her back by becoming her maid… because reasons.

Background stuff

The manga is from the same author that also made ‘I don’t understand what my husband is saying’, which is all kinds of great (and at least a little bit dodgy). It’s slice-of-life style weirdness with people learning to deal with their differences. Kobayashi is pretty similar in theme and, like the other one, is brimming with anime references.
Kobayashi is in her own way a ‘maid otaku’: she’s obsessed with maids. Her work friend Takiya is just… really into games and anime and stuff. It’s fitting in a way that Takiya’s dragon buddy is Fafnir, who is a straight up Sebastian lookalike (with Ono D as the friggin voice actor).

First impression

The setup at first feels like it will be a high key lesbian harem, but as it so happens this is not the case. It’s mostly a high key gay pairing show. It’s more like each of the dragons get their own little human buddy and each of the ‘relationships’ deals with their own kind of issues.

The good

Kobayashi is very much light entertainment and it does the job well. It’s distracting and subtle enough that it doesn’t try to slap you in the face with some big moral. It’s funny and it’s interesting enough to watch several episodes at once (even if you have the attention span of a gold fish). Several of the pairs are straight up adorable. I really like the friendship between Fafnir and Takiya, and the … whatever it is between Kobayashi and her maid, for instance. They feel very much like lonely people finding the companionship they need in each other.

The bad

There’s a lot of boob jokes. Like a lot. Kobayashi’s bosom has its own sound effect (it’s ‘buoing’, in case you were wondering). It’s pretty standard fair. Some of the jokes are weirdly sexual in a way that makes me wonder who the hell this show is being made for. Think references to branding and.. vore? It’s kinda really confusing considering the overall light tone of the show. Might just be me but I’m pretty sure this isn’t, like, a kid’s show. But it’s also not what I would expect from an adult show. It’s… unique.

The ugly

And then there’s the sexual assault being played for laughs. One of the pairs is a very voluptuous dragon lady and a middle school mage boy and… no. Just no. She’s trying to show him she’s not a demon by pretty much just harassing him while naked. It’s played off as a joke because 1) Shouta is a boy (which… no, don’t do that) and 2) the dragon lady supposedly doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong (which… again, don’t do that).

The wrap

If this had been a three episode review (like I usually make) it would have been a lot easier. In that case the verdict would be a resounding ‘go watch this, it’s fun!’. But I went ahead and watched too much of it.
Personally, I enjoy it but I’m also very much aware of it’s more problematic sides. The Shouta stuff is a minor side plot and I’m really sad they added it, because it’s so iffy it makes the whole show kinda iffy.
Proceed with caution, I guess.
I’m still going to watch the remainder of the show, because I’m willing to watch it despite that, and I’m hoping they’ll quit it with that bit of plot. But yeah, consider yourself warned.

Entertaining show, with some very dodgy scenes.

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Three episode reviews: Yowamushi Pedal Season 1

Since
one of the only sports anime in Winter 2017 season is season 3 of
Yowamushi Pedal you (like, in fact, me) might be wondering if it’s
something to get into. Whelp. Here’s my review of the first three
episodes of the first season to help you with that.

Sports: Road cycling. Again a sport that I, European chick, actually know and
have watched. Hooray!

Basic
premise
: Onoda is a (frankly adorable) otaku who bikes everywhere to
save money. On his first day of high school he meets rich
boy/dedicated cyclist Imaizumi, who has some past troubles to get
over, and who is mildly confused by Onoda’s ability to ride up steep
slopes on a shit bike while singing about princesses.

OP
impression:
Just adding this because I know my type and from the OP I
can already tell that I’m probably going to be into tall black haired
stoic boy. Also there’s a guy that looks like BSD’s Lovecraft and he
has green and red hair which is like the least natural colour I’ve
ever seen?

First
impression from the actual show

  • Onoda is intense levels of nerdy
    loser.
  • Tall black haired cool boy turns out to be the bicycle version
    of Haikyuu’s Kageyama.
  • The resident girl is very adorable, she even
    comes with a grumpy best friend.
  • Onoda is an amazing cyclist because
    he’s a cheap ass.
  • I see jokes about the rich kid and the poor kid in
    the immediate future. Like they keep cutting from Onoda’s shitty
    house to Imaizumi’s modern, two car garage house. They’re really
    putting it out there that these guys are foils. 

All in all, the first
episode is pretty standard fare, though i give them props for the
little bit after the credits where they’re already warming up the
tsun.

(I was right, he’s so going to be my fave).

Second
impression

  • Ok so cycling Kageyama is actually kindof a softie. He’s
    a lot less cold and distant than I was expecting, but I was expecting
    him to be Kageyama, so that’s on me.
  • Imaizumi is just a complete
    cycling dork: he’s arrogant and detached, but also honorable and
    sympathetic. I honestly can’t wait to see him become a blushing mess
    in the near future.
  • This second episode went by surprisingly fast and
    uses the power of bicycle science to make it clear that Onoda is like
    some kind of cycle prodigy because he’s been driving everywhere on
    the world’s most inefficient bike.
  • Also: Onoda has the saddest
    friggin motivation in history. Like jeebus someone hug him.
  • Also also
    manager girl’s older brother is a mechanic voiced by Suwabe and can
    do no wrong.
  • Manager girl herself knows more about bikes than anyone
    I ever met (and I live in a cycling obsessed country). 
  • Cycle
    Kageyama has groupies. This is an interesting dynamic to say the
    least.

Third
impression

  • Imaizumi is bae and also wants to desperately be friends
    with Onoda, even tho he’s way too cool to just come out and say it.
  • This episode is actually quite sweet, what with the power of
    friendship and al that.
  • It introduces protag number three, who has a
    snaggle tooth which means he’s probably quirky and/or impulsive AF.
    He likes bikes a lot.
  • As an aside: IwaPeda’s school has the ugliest
    uniforms in the history of sports animes. Who greenlighted that?

Grupetto

So I came into this show knowing only that it is about bikes and has
a dude with a freaky tongue (I’m guessing he’s an antagonist at some
point). And it’s pretty cool. If you’ve watched a fair amount of
sports anime, the premise to Yowamushi Pedal feels kinda standard:
new kid in high school makes new friends and finds out his true
talent, which he gained through some improbable training. Here’s what’s promising:

  • I like
    the dynamic between the main two (later three). It’s not too
    confrontational and it’s also not sickly sweet (like in Days, for
    instance).
  • Imaizumi is a nicer version of ‘arrogant cold dude’, with
    some of the rougher edges polished off.
  • Onoda is one of the most
    nerdy protagonists I’ve ever seen and I hope he stays an otaku.
  • The
    show goes by pretty fast, which to me is an indication that it’s
    grabbed my interest.

Gayness?
Hard to tell. Not picking up massive amounts of gay so far. Though
since this is biking, a reasonable amount of butt shots will be
expected.

Hotness?
Since the art style is rather rough and cartoony, we’re not dealing
with your traditional anime prettyboys here. The show has more of a
comedic, exaggerated feel. Having said that: Imaizumi is bae. Also,
it sort of tries to get people’s types in. The three third years, for
instance, are ‘buff dude’, ‘straight edge dude’ and ‘long haired
dude’. Out of these, the one that reminds me of Lovecraft (his name
is Makishima?) looks the most promising. Despite his improbable hair
colour. Don’t judge me.

Yay
or nay?

If
you’ve ever watched a bit of road cycling (like you sorta kinda followed
the Tour de France once), the overt explaining of basic principles in
the sport gets lame after a while. Because it does lay it on pretty thick. But other than that, this show
looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. It would be interesting to see how
these characters evolve. Like if we ever see Onoda break out of his
‘omg is he being nice to me wtf’ shell, or how Imaizumi deals with
past failures. And, not gonna lie, I wanna see what the third years
are like, because four episodes in (I cheated, sue me) they’re still
not actually in a frigging cycling club.

Three episode reviews: Poco’s udon world

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In
which I base my opinion on the first three episodes of a series and
give watching advice. Today: Poco’s udon world, aka Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari.

What it’s about:

Souta Tawara is a thirty year old with no real life goals or
accomplishments. When his father dies, he comes back from Tokyo to
his parental house in the countryside, to clean out the place. In his
father’s noodle shop he finds a small child that he ends up taking
care of.

First impression:

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This show is everything. I decided to try it based on the cute
toddler but there’s so much going on. Souta’s life hits me right in
the feels: he’s unmarried, no kids, no career to speak of, and at
that age where he’s supposed to have settled most of this. Coming
back home to his father’s life work stirs up this wealth of memories.
Also, yes, the toddler is friggin adorable.
There’s a weird
supernatural element, and random bits of a kid’s show about an
invading alien, to the point where it should be way too much but it
somehow keeps it together?
First impression is good.

Second impression:

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You know how I said it hits me right in the feels? The friggin ED
made me cry. Souta basically comes home and ends up having a quarter-life crisis, trying to ind himself, to
figure out what he wants to do with his life.
The show lays it on
pretty thick, actually, with Souta’s doctor friend who drives a
maserati and doesn’t even think about getting married. With Poco, Souta suddenly realizes that he wouldn’t make a bad family man, but of
course he has this entire history to get over first.

Best character:
Souta.

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I really like this
guy. He reminds me so much of myself I can’t even.
But also, kudos to
him for taking all the weird shit that happens in his stride.
Also
also: dude is hot. Just saying.

Cutest character:
Poco

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Holy shit. Poco’s
art style, and the enormous eyes, remind me a lot of Tsumugi from
Sweetness and Lightning, but he’s much… younger, education wise. He
doesn’t talk much and he seems to genuinely like everything; He’s got this completely carefree and extremely exploratory personality.
Also:
shapeshifter. Kid has a fluffy side (this is hardly a spoiler, it’s
in the OP)

Extra notes

  • This show actually
    has a lot of similar themes to Princess Jellyfish. It’s about
    figuring out how to adult, and what kind of adult you want to be.
  • As such, I think
    how hard it hits you has to do with age. I’m guessing if you’re
    fifteen, it’s not quite as pertinent as when you’re older. It’s still
    going to be an enjoyable show, but not in the ‘lay awake at night’
    kind of way.

Poco or no poco?

Yeah, I want to
know where this goes.

Recommended to
people who like some slower drama with a humorous touch. Be warned
that there is a LOT going on. This is far from a straight-forward
show and as such, it sometimes lays on the central theme a bit too
much in dialogues. But still very entertaining.

Three episode review: All out!

In
which I base my opinion on the first three episodes of a series and
give watching advice.

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What it’s about:

Kenji Gion is short and aggressive, Sumiaki Iwashimizu is enormous
but has the heart of a small and rather frightened bunny. They are
asked to join the school’s rugby club.

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Please look at that height difference.

Look at it!

First impression:

DAAAYum. The OP leaves very little to the imagination about this show
and its protagonists. There are butts, tight shirts and Sekizan, who
could be an extra on JoJo if he wore outfits just a tad bit more
flashy.
It’s all very… bara, but that’s mostly Sumiaki and Sekizan,
really, and whoever is ‘the hot one’ on the opposing team, no doubt.
The show has some rather nice body diversity, which I’m fairly
certain is the point.

The setup of the show is pretty classic, with
first years in high school figuring out which club to join. Gion has
a Massive Napoleon complex and will fight anyone that calls him
small, Iwashimizu has All Kinds of complexes and would really rather
be in book club. Since this is a rugby show, you know where they’ll
end up. It’s all pretty standard stuff but I’m liking the dynamic
between the two, and the way the captain and vice-captain are set up
in the first episode. You already get a bit of the feel for their
motivations.

Second impression:

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All Out is very… tropey. It does the ‘wax on wax off’ thing, only it’s ‘the turtle’. It  has
fated rivals and Sumiaki manages to find his courage somewhere around
episode three. This is also the point where they break out the
lasers, by the way.
Having said that, it doesn’t really bother me
that much? The show is entertaining and varied enough to keep me
interested, so far.
I’m hoping it’ll get a bit deeper as it goes on.

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The thing it DOES
do, which is interesting, is how it applies drawing style. Yuri On
Ice has something similar, where they have cutesy cartoony funny bits
and then beautifully rendered drama. On top of that, it’s not just diverse with bodies, it’s REALLY diverse with the faces. And for someone
who watches a lot of anime pretty boys, this is a breath of fresh
air. Some of these faces have a style that reminds me of
french/belgian comics, even. It’s cool.

Hottest dude?

I know what you’re
thinking, and I realize that this is his official role but
Sekizan is Entirely
Too Intense for my tastes.
Like, dude. Chill.

I can’t even handle baby Sekizan. Dear lord.

I’m actually rather
fond of vice-captain Mutsumi, who at least seems pleasant, but my
vote goes to this guy:

His name is
Oharanu Etsugo and he appears to be made entirely out
of salt (I just noticed he’s voiced by Ono Kensho… that
explains so much).

Extra notes

  • Holy crap does
    this show like its muscle shots.
    Like, there are a LOT of random
    shots with tight t-shirts and tight pants and bulging biceps and
    thighs and is that really the rugby uniform because apparently I’ve
    been watching the wrong sports
    .
  • I love Umeno
    the manager? It’s sad that there is only a single girl, but she has
    floofy hair and kind of a big sister personality and she’s cool. For someone so tiny she
    must really be fierce to handle that team.
  • Gion is such
    an angry child, and not in a good way. He’s almost legitimately
    annoying with the constant temper tantrums. I really need him to get
    some kind of character development, stat.

All out?

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I’ll be honest with
you. It’s not as good as Yuri or Haikyuu. I like the body diversity,
I like the humour, but I’m not, you know, obsessed. I’ll keep watching
because it’s entertaining, and I like where they’re going with the
art style and the, uh, general esthetic (the muscles, I mean the
muscles).
It’s a 25 episode anime, so I’m really hoping it finds its
groove soon and really starts working on the good stuff, the
development and the storytelling arcs. So far the draw is mostly
visual.

Three episode reviews: Yuri!!! on Ice

In which I base
my opinion on the first three episodes of a series and give watching
advice.

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What it’s about:

Yuri is a b-list professional skater who fumbles a tournament and
comes back home, head hanging. But he gets a last chance at winning the grand prix final when his idol wants to coach him.

First impression:

So I wonder a lot about first episodes. They’re almost always this
super fast, completely packed affair that has to set the tone,
introduce the main characters, sketch the background and basically
set the stage for the whole story. Some shows do this really well
while others take a while to get going. Yuri has one of the better
first episodes. I mean, yes, it feels a bit rushed and it’s way over
the top, but it is almost genius in its execution. The show likes to
switch between the more ‘down to earth’ parts of Yuri, with his
adorably pudgy parents and a much simpler art style, and then it
brings out the gorgeously elegant animation for the skating
sequences. From the very first episode you get a very visual
impression that there are two sides of Yuri’s life. Apart from that,
the storytelling is rather clever. The show takes like four panels to
show you a lifetime of back story on his childhood crush Yuko and her later
husband. You can see this whole love story happening off screen and
suddenly there’s triplets. And of course, there’s the ‘establishing
shot’. You can almost hear the creators go: ‘let’s make clear what
kind of show we are’ and then go full nudity on the main hottie. Is
it tacky? Hell yes, but it’s also effective and very, very glorious.

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Second impression:

Holy crap what is this show? It’s so gay? It’s so beautiful? And also
so silly?

I give you exhibit a:  Yurio

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And exhibit b: Yurio, but
gayer

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Every character has
this, and I have the feeling that they either have three sets of
animators working on the show (sexy, elegant, silly) or it’s some
brilliant cost cutting strategy, but it works.
Yuri!!! on Ice is
almost a guilty pleasure.
I mean, a lot of the characters remind me
of other shows and the storyline is somehow both cliché and
completely out there realism-wise and I don’t care at all because
it’s so well done. It is highly entertaining, mixing beautiful
dramatic shots with silly gags and shockingly blatant, almost yaoi
level of… affection. I’m pretty into this.

Hottest dude: Duh.
Victor.

He is set up to be the worlds hottest bachelor and he
delivers. The way he moves is amazing. I adore his personality.

He has a stupidly floofy dog
and he somehow mixes parts of Haikyuu’s Oikawa with a shot of
Bungou’s Dazai. Dude is insane, but also
does the wise mentor thing, making his two little apprentices search
for what’s missing in their life. Also: he is so friggin gay for Yuri
I can’t even. It’s almost predatory.
Did I mention this show is gay? It’s so gay and I
appreciate that.

Surprisingly hot
also: Yuri?

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Like, half of the time he’s a chubby chibi and I know
he’s supposed to be the frumpy main bespectacled character who’s totally got a
crush on his idol and those types of main characters aren’t supposed
to be hot until the finale but the whole point of early season Yuri
is for him to find his sexy side and that somehow works. He does
this, by the way, by getting in touch with his feminine side and
through the power of gay (I’m not even kidding, just watch the
episode). Colour me impressed.

Extra notes:

  • While not the
    hottest dude, Yurio is my absolute favourite. This angry child is
    just so… he kind of reminds me of Rin from S1 Free? But more petty? He’s so
    angry and frustrated. Like, all the time. But then he’s also the one
    that is all ‘omg are you ok’ at Yuko-san’s massive bloody nose
    problem (while Yuri is mesmerized by Victor’s performance and wouldn’t even notice if she died). And he’s cool enough to teach Yuri and you already know
    he’ll turn out to have such a massive heart of gold and I just want
    to hug him and give him kittens.
  • Coming in
    second on favourite character: the triplets. Pretty sure they’re a
    single character. Those girls are shrewd AF, especially for, what,
    six year olds? How old are those kids? They’re already running their
    parents’ skating rink.
  • I’m digging
    the OP song.
    It’s kinda lame that they reuse the animation twice in
    like a minute, but it’s a pretty good OP.

Winner of the grand
prix?

Oh god yes.
Personally, the speed with which I seek out
a show after a new episode has come out is a pretty good indicator of
how in love I am with said show and, well. I am very into this.

Recommended for those who can handle their gay, with some really nice
animation and well placed humour.

And now for something completely different

Ok, so I literally found this half an hour ago and I played one round and I MUST rant about it.
There is an otome out there called Cute Demon Crashers! (the exclamation point is part of the title).

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It’s a sex game, Jim, but not as we know it.

It’s basically about three incubi and one succubus crashing your house. They feed on sexual pleasure, you know where this is going.

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Only you don’t, you really don’t.

It’s so positive? And so utterly female-centric? They cook you breakfast and play Mario Kart with you and talk about being ready and comfortable.

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Also, it’s really, really funny.


And you can literally stop their advances at any time? This game basically ticks all those boxes I’m always privately ranting about: consent, comfort, cuddles, even condoms!

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The sentence ‘no pressure’ is repeated way more than any porn I’ve ever seen.

I’ve left out the, uh, nsfw scenes, but it goes there and it’s utterly adorable and I never thought I’d write that sentence in a discussion about demon sex games.

Also, it is friggin free.

Three episode review: Cheer danshi!

Ah, the cheerleader
squad sports anime. I saw this float by ages ago and I actually
forgot it was out this season until a nonny reminded me (for which, omg thank you!).

Let’s do this.

Embarassment!

What it’s about:
Haru is from a long line of judo champions but hurt his shoulder and
can’t compete any more. His best friend decides that the two of them
should start an all men’s cheerleading team instead.

First impression:
Whoa, this is set in college. I repeat: this is not a high school
sports anime.
No one has to be aged up for the fanfics. Second: this is, like, legit. I was
expecting some parody in the style of Binan or Osomatsu, but no.
This is a serious (as far as that is possible) sports anime about a
fledgling cheerleader team going against the odds and, while they’re at it,
some rather strict gender stereotypes. That is a neat set-up right at
the start. From there it goes straight into the expected tropes:
childhood friends, the Dream, the Nerd etc. With my new added
favourite: the public humiliation. Also: it’s pretty. The boys are
very pretty. *cough*

Second impression:
They keep adding pretty boys! It’s kinda funny how literally every
new member has a tragic back story that’s rattled off fairly fast. I’d
say they’re trying too hard, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it
did in, say, Prince of Stride. And while I maintain that the show is
serious about being a sports anime and not a parody, it’s also a very
silly show. It’s pretty funny, which is as it should be. Also, most
of the characters are just so incredibly likeable and I love seeing them interact? It has almost Haikyuu levels of characterisation and
that is pretty high praise.

Yes, you will be, cheerleading Rei.

Hottest dude: Oh
man. I love Ton for being chunky and doing his thing. I love Kazu
because Kazu is a friggin angel come down to earth to save us all. I
love Haru because he’s is just… very pretty, you guys. Hottest guy
so far is maybe Gen? But Shou with his obviously tragic past is
probably gonna make me want to hug him and squish him and protect
him from the big bad world. Oh, and there’s a guy with dreads in the ending credits that
hasn’t shown up yet but looks really cool, ok? Jury’s still out on
‘hottest dude’.

Gayness? Ya know, you’d expect quite a bit of gay, but so far I’m not getting it. Apart from the childhood friends thing, where they’re just *so* there for each other. Surprisingly straight, at three episodes in.

Extra notes:

  • Please note how this is set in college, but the guys look younger than, say, the cast of KnB (who are supposed to be 15?).
  • This show loves to invert stereotypes: the Nerd is an academic failure, Serious Man has a weakness for mascots, etc.
  • I really appreciate the amount of easter eggs in the background ? Like the random
    faceplant in the gym, and how all the team members have already
    gotten a little cameo in the first episode. It’s a pretty clever
    show.
  • Kazu’s messaging
    icon is a cheerleading pig. I just. Yeah.
  • Kazu also explains
    moves by using those stupid messenger stickers.
  • Kazu is a silly
    person.

Kazu, ladies and gentlemen.

Go, fight, win?
Seeing as how I’m already all over the entire cast: definite win. I hope they don’t lose momentum, but this is a very promising show right now. Probably my favourite, out of the sports anime this season.

Three episode review: Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning)

Not a sports anime,
but this one was recommended to me as being liquid sugar. Here’s a
mini review based on the first three episodes.

What is it about? A
widower learns to cook so he can feed his young daughter nice meals.

First impression:
Oh dear lord. That description already gave me some indication
of what this show was gonna be like: sweet, cute and a major tear
jerker. But I was not prepared for the intensity of it all.
There are no words for how adorable that girl is. Not just in
animation, but also because her voice actress blew me away. Also
also: I cried. Twice. In twenty minutes. I mean, I’m a total wuss,
but sweet Bastet on a stick did the first episode get to me. It is
Very Adorable and Very Emotional.

Second impression:
This show is the equivalent of a warm bath. You know the type: too
many bubbles, candles precariously balanced on the side of the tub
and music playing from the stereo you dragged into the bathroom. It
makes me kind of giddy. Everyone is very into food. There are
toddlers who are cute and a single dad who’s just… trying so hard,
you guys. I have many feels. I like how it portrays fatherhood as a good thing, in a medium that’s just rife with absent dads.

Favorite character:
Tsugumi. It’s hard to portray small children realistically,
especially if they appear to be a literal angel, but Tsugumi is very
good, even if her hair is biologically impossible. She’s silly, and fun, and she doesn’t know words well yet and
jeebus is she adorable.

Extra notes: I just
checked and holy hell Tsugumi’s VA is an eleven year old girl who is
better at her job than I will ever be at mine. Their approach to
cooking, and the recipes portrayed, are also pretty on point.

Yay or nay? Do you
want to experience joy? Do you wish to feel your cold, shrivelled
heart regain the urge to pump precious life blood? Friggin watch this
show already.

Three episode reviews: Battery and Days

This season, there are two anime
about sports and both of them are kinda under the
radar. In case you’re wondering, here’s a little
double feature mini review, based on the first three episodes of each
show.

Days

Sport: Soccer. Yay!
Finally a sport I, European chick, am familiar with.

Well, I say soccer, but it’s mostly about running.

What it’s about:
Tsukushi is a loser who randomly gets invited to a soccer match by
genius player Kazama. He decides to join the school team and GIT GUD
on pure grit alone.

First impression:
Days has the absolute WORST opening episode I’ve ever seen
in a sports anime. It was so bland and formulaic that I have been
reduced to ranting at people about it. The episode felt super flat.
It gives ZERO motivation for Tsukushi to do the things he does. And there’s certainly no reason
given for Kazama to be that into him. It was so boring I had to click
away halfway through to do something else before getting back to it.
You can tell me that all of this is explained properly in the manga,
but in that case it’s not a very good adaptation.

Second impression:
Well, I have a three episode rule and it gets better. Quite a bit
better, in fact, and after three episodes I’m kinda into it. The show
has a wonky and completely random sense of humour, which I appreciate.
Kazama is a gift. I like the variety in characterisation of the players and how some of them are regular teenage asshats. Tsukiuhi
has to endure some pretty heavy verbal abuse which is probably meant
to build up his character, but is also painfully brutal in
making me relive some of my worst teenage nightmares.

While Kazama is a gift, he’s also a little shit.

Favourite dude:
Half of the cast is super hot, while the other is really weirdly
drawn? But Kazama is, hands down, the best character. He is very cute
and he has that cocky rebel thing going, with a whiff of genius
ennui thrown in. To top it off, he’s also channeling the ‘fabulous beautiful character who’s very
aware of his beauty’ vibe (see also: Kise, Oikawa). I already adore the
hell out of him. He rocks that Bruce Lee jumpsuit, man.

Gayness? This show
is almost meta-gay. Like it knows sports anime is supposed to be very straight and also very gay. It’s become self aware. There’s a
lot of shots of Kazama looking longingly at Tsukushi and the both of
them are immediately ready to lay down their lives to defend each
other. And then there’s the scenes in which Kazama professes his love
for boobs. It’s a pansexual show.

Extra time: This show feels like it’s trying to
push all the buttons. Like, trying real hard. It has the random sex
talk for the male viewers, the bishis for the female viewers and
people just straight up tripping over air for the younger audience.
It’s all a bit too formulaic, but it’s much better than the
first episode makes it appear.

Yay or nay? Let’s be honest, Days is not nearly as good as something like Haikyuu, but
it’s still worth a watch. I’m interested in where it’s gonna go,
storywise.

Battery

Sport: Baseball.
Not, as the title may lead you to believe, some kind of blood sport.

No, I don’t know anyone called Haru, why do you ask?

What it’s about:
Harada is 13 and already a famous pitcher with ’genius complex’,
where he doesn’t feel like he belongs. He moves to a different
region, finds a really good catcher and joins a new team, all while
dealing with whatever it is that makes him such an angry little shit
(my money is on puberty).

First impression:
This show is so pretty and melancholy! The pace is very slow, with a lot of
focus on family members and feelings and shit. If you want a
reference: it’s like a baseball version of Free, in terms of storytelling (and also themes).

Second impression:
I really like how much they focus on the support system of these
kids: the grandfather, the deeply worried moms. Battery is very
emotional and it’s really more of a drama about people playing sports than it is a traditional ‘sports anime’. The team members don’t even come into
view until episode three. There are no attempts at humour, childish or
otherwise. If I have to label it, it’s a show about teenage rebellion.
Harada is obviously dealing with some shit and he has that bored
sounding voice to back it up (same voice actor as Tsukki!).

Did I mention the pretty?

Favourite dude:
Nagakura. While Harada is definitely ‘the cute one’, Nagakura is just
such a gorgeous personality. He’s a genuinely wonderful person and I
support that.

Gayness? This is a
middle school show, so the relationship overtones are mercifully low
key. I’m not getting a lot of gay, really, mostly good old fashioned
blossoming friendship.

Extra time: I’m
actually rather impressed that they chose a middle school setting,
cause those are pretty rare. It certainly gives a different
perspective and probably explains the focus on family. Most sports anime start with full teenagers that are already pre-fucked up by both puberty *and* whatever happened to them in
middle school. This one shows you exactly how that goes.

Yay or nay? I
really like it. A lot. I have no idea where this show is going but
it’s pretty much sucked me in. I just hope no one dies.