Devilman Crybaby Anime Review

Media: Anime
Name: Devilman: Crybaby
MAL Score: 7.96/10
Episodes: 10
Genres: Action, Dementia, Demons, Horror, Supernatural

There will be minor spoilers for Devilman Crybaby ahead

The anime that took the world by storm in early 2018, Netflix’s Devilman Crybaby. Reception of this series ranges from being called utter garbage to an absolute masterpiece depending on who you ask, but where does it really fall? How successful was director Masaaki Yuasa in trying to give people another classic?

Summary

Akira Fudou is a kind-hearted and gentle boy. He and his friend Miki Makimura both run on the track team in addition to living together while Akira’s parents are overseas. One day, while walking home with Miki, Akira comes across an old friend, being Ryou Asuka. Ryou takes Akira in his car to tell him of a discovery he’s made: devils.

While studying in South America, Ryou had witnessed one of his colleagues transform into a devil. To further look into these devils, the two boys go a Sabbath, which is an immoral party where devils commonly form. Like anticipated, devils begin possessing the guests of this party, until one eventually possesses Akira. Just when it looks like Akira is done for, he is able to overcome the devil, becoming what he dubs “Devilman”. The once gentle and kind-hearted Akira is now vulgar, rude, and tough. However the one trait he keeps is the sympathy he keeps for other people, crying whenever other people feel sad.

Review

If it wasn’t clear already, Devilman Crybaby isn’t a show for everyone. Its heavy gore and sexual nature can be a big turn-off for many. However, looking at aspects like plot and character, I believe Devilman Crybaby does a great job. The plot, while not being super complex, is great. There were some necessary updates to the original script, like Akira crying and the track and field aspect. These were pretty hit or miss for the most part but it worked in making a 46 year old manga feel fresh.

As characters, Akira and Ryou play off of each other nicely because of their difference in morality. Akira still cares for other people, even after his transformation into Devilman. However, Miki felt like a relatively awkward character in the show. She doesn’t really do much until the later episodes, and even then her character wasn’t the best. I can’t say much more without spoiling though.

Now to get into the shows strong point: the directing. Masaaki Yuasa (Ping Pong the Animation and The Tatami Galaxy) is an extremely well renowned director, and he didn’t disappoint. He brought his unconventional animation style in order to portray devils truly as otherworldly creatures. Unfortunately, Devilman Crybaby isn’t as polished as his other works, having the animation look off at times. In terms of the soundtrack, there’s one very good and memorable song, but there isn’t much past that.

Conclusion

Overall, Devilman Crybaby is a very high quality show. It gives us crazily animated devil fights along with an interesting conflict of morals between Ryou and Akira. Like I said previously, some of the modernization attempts fall flat, especially towards the end, and the animation isn’t always consistent, but that doesn’t take away the good of the show. I would consider Devilman Crybaby to be a very strong 8/10, mostly because of the strength of the main characters and directing.

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The Promised Neverland Anime Review

Media: Anime 
Name: Yakusoku no Neverland
MAL Score: 8.74/10
Episodes: 12
Genres: Sci-fi, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Thriller

There will be minor spoilers for The Promised Neverland ahead

Immediately becoming one of the more popular anime of the winter season, The Promised Neverland has been hard to ignore. For a Shounen Jump adaptation, its plot is rather unique. But does this mean that the show is good? Let’s find out.

Summary

The Promised Neverland begins by appearing to be a sweet lighthearted show. Several kids in an orphanage, Grace Field House, are introduced as having happy lives. However, something seems off. The orphanage that they’re in is surrounded by walls, and the one rule is to never go to the gate while someone is being “adopted.” One night, two of the main characters, Emma and Norman, decide to go to the gate because a girl had forgotten her toy in the orphanage. To their horror, Emma and Norman discover they aren’t getting shipped off to foster homes, but instead to their death. Of course they have to get out of here, so they share this information with their friend, Ray, and work on a plan to escape. For the rest of the 11 episodes, the three children try to find ways to escape their inevitable deaths.

Review

While the synopsis of the show may sound interesting, the show at times has trouble achieving that. One flaw of setting up an anime in this way is that there’s bound to be a lot of planning going on, where nothing but talking is really happening. This happens in several episodes, making a lot of the early and middle a drag to watch. After about nine episodes I was just hoping for the show to end. Fortunately, because of the episodes spent with the character planning their escape, the last two or three episodes did not disappoint and were highly entertaining. The last two episodes almost made me feel like it was worth sitting through the first nine episodes that I thought were bland.

In terms of the characters, I wouldn’t consider any of them all that special. Emma is a relatively generic shounen protagonist who has the “I want to save everyone” mindset. Her being the main character isn’t really a bad thing, but she just didn’t stand out much to me personally. Norman and Ray both had a little more to them, but I don’t feel as if the writing was strong enough to unlock all their potential. Ray came off as an edgy preteen and Norman often mirrored Emma’s ideas when they both could’ve done more.

The worst character was most likely Sister Crone though, as she wasn’t really essential to the plot. Sister Crone was pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things, despite getting a lot of screen time. In addition to this, the show presents some scenes that make you question what you were supposed to feel about her, if the show wanted you to sympathize with her or not.

In terms of production, the art style was kind of awkward. This style is something that would make more sense for a moe show, not a “Psychological Thriller.” The soundtrack was pretty nice though, and the song that plays during episode 12 helped add a lot of emotions to the scene.

Conclusion

Overall, I thought The Promised Neverland was relatively average until the end. Before the last two episodes I would’ve given the show a 5, but I’ll bring it up to a 6/10 due to the entertainment I got at the end. I don’t regret watching The Promised Neverland, but I’m somewhat disappointed. I think the show could’ve been a lot more with some more polished writing.

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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Anime Review

Media: Anime
Name: Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
MAL Score: 8.51/10
Episodes: 13
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Supernatural

In the Fall 2018 season of anime, several popular and critically acclaimed shows came out, and standing above them all was Bunny Girl Senpai. While it was airing, it was difficult to avoid the show because of the way it engulfed the community, and I caved in eventually and watched it. Commonly drawing comparisons to both the Monogatari Series and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, it certainly had some big shoes to fill. So could Bunny Girl Senpai live up to these expectations, or did it fall flat?

Summary

Sakuta Azusagawa is an outcast at school, mainly due to rumors of a violent past. The other main character, Mai Sakurajima, is also an outcast at school, but for a far different reason. She’s a celebrity who’s currently on hiatus, so she faces the struggle of people being intimidated by her status. One day, Sakuta sees Mai wondering around in public, wearing of course a bunny girl suit. No one really seems to pay her any mind though, other than Sakuta. It turns out Mai has a disorder known as “Puberty Syndrome,” which makes her invisible to others.

After Mai’s arc, the show keeps introducing more girls who also struggle from “Puberty Syndrome” in different ways. Puberty Syndrome reflects the issues that a character has, and gives them a supernatural ailment. Bunny Girl Senpai takes a Monogatari-like approach, and has the plot afterwards mainly focus on Sakuta helping these girls with their supernatural problems.

Review

If you go into this show expecting something like Monogatari or Haruhi, you will be severely disappointed. It’s best to look at the show as its own entity because of the stark difference in quality. Bunny Girl Senpai doesn’t really have the witty dialogue required to pull off a show like this. It tries to be a comedy while at the same time being an emotional drama, which is difficult to write well. There’s definitely moments of good writing here and there, but overall it’s too inconsistent to be super entertaining.

Along with this, Bunny Girl Senpai attempts to be more than it actually is. By this I mean it introduces unnecessary concepts to make itself seem smart, when it really isn’t. An example of this would be when Mai turns invisible, one character uses Schrödinger’s cat to explain it. But turning invisible isn’t really a confusing concept, so it’s pointless to introduce something else which would only add confusion. Shortly after this, Laplace’s Demon is used as an explanation as well, which again adds confusion to an initially not confusing concept.

In terms of the characters, I didn’t really find any of them super annoying as a whole. They all functioned decently well inside the story, but I don’t think anyone really stood out. The girls all felt like I had seen them somewhere before in a different anime, and Sakuta felt almost like a Kyon reject. In terms of animation and art, the show looks above average overall, but nothing too notable came from this category. The highlight of the show however was the sound track. I find myself continuously going back to listen to the ending theme. The opening, while not my favorite musically, was able to spawn some memes, so that’s something.

Conclusion

With all its flaws and limited upsides, I consider Bunny Girl Senpai to be average overall. I definitely wouldn’t consider it a masterpiece as some do, or call it bad, just an average 5/10. I can understand the enjoyment one can get from this show, but when the aforementioned Monogatari and Haruhi exist, I don’t know if there’s much of a reason to watch this show anymore.

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Run With the Wind Anime Review

Media: Anime
Name: Run With the Wind
MAL Score: 8.53/10
Episodes: 23
Genres: Sports, Comedy, Drama

There will be minor spoilers for Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteru ahead

When it comes to sports anime, some specific sports are over-saturated. There’s countless numbers of baseball anime and a decent amount of basketball ones too. However, there’s a surprising lack of running or track and field anime out there, despite it being a popular sport. So as a runner myself, I was excited to hear that a running anime was coming in the Fall 2018 season. So did Run With the Wind live up to expectations?

Summary

Run With the Wind, or Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru, features a main cast of 10 college students. These 10 students all live together in the same appartment building together, because of the cheap rent and meals provided. The catch? When they agreed to live there, they unknowingly signed up for the Kansei University Track & Field Team. The issue is that besides from the two protagonists, Kakeru Kurahara and Haiji Kiyose, none of the residents really have running experience. What’s more is that Haiji intends for the team to run at an elite event 10 months away. The event being the Hakone Ekiden. The show then covers the team’s struggles and training to reach the Ekiden.

The show has a relatively diverse cast, and they’re the main driving force of the show. Everyone, other than than Haiji, is initially opposed to joining the team, since they see the goal as completely unrealistic. Furthermore, track and field is a demanding sport, and none of them thinks they have the time. As the show progresses, we watch as the team not only grows to love the sport, but become closer friends with each other.

Review

As I previously stated, I am a runner myself, so I was really hoping to like Run With the Wind. Unfortunately there were some things that stuck out to me which hindered my enjoyment. First of all, some of the character’s times progress way too fast, especially Prince. Even towards the end of the show, his running form is still terrible, and it’s kind of hard to ignore. At first I thought it was a lack of research on the author’s part, but I got the feeling later on that she did know what she was talking about. The time constraint of 10 months just was too short.

It also felt like the show dragged in the earlier episodes a bit, but that’s understandable since they had to introduce several characters immediately. Early on, we don’t get as much of the “sports” part of the show because of this.

After watching 5 or 6 episodes, I was skeptical of the quality, but I really felt that the show improved a lot in the later episodes. The running side of the show was brought up more and the character development began. The running aspect isn’t the most accurate, as I previously stated, but it’s still an enjoyable experience. I think the author was really able to capture the community and culture of running, and the characters all felt pretty realistic within the story. The characters not only grew stronger physically, but also socially and emotionally, and it was overall a pretty inspiring watch.

Conclusion

Looking back, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this show, and I can definitely say it was one of the better shows to come out in 2018. If I were to rate it, I’d give it an 8/10 based off the great character growth and entertaining sports side.

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Kaguya-sama: Love is War Anime Review

Media: Anime
Name: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen
MAL Score: 8.49/10
Episodes: 12
Genres: Comedy, Psychological, School, Romance

Chances are that if you’ve been around the anime community within the past month, you’ve seen The Chika Dance at some point. This clip has led to Kaguya becoming one of the more popular shows of the Winter 2019 season, but how does it stack up against the rest? Can it live up to the infamy of Chika and her dance?

Summary

The story of Kaguya-sama follows the student council of Shuchiin Academy, which includes 4 members. The however the plot mainly revolves around the president, Miyuki Shirogane, and vice-president, Kaguya Shinomiya. Chika Fujiwara, the secretary, and Yu Ishigami, the treasurer, are more-so there for comedic relief.

The premise is this: Miyuki and Kaguya are in love with each other, and acknowledge that the other probably feels the same way, but neither of them want to confess. This is because neither of them wants to be seen as weaker in the relationship, so they try to get the other to confess. However, they’re both extremely smart, meaning instead of regular romantic talk, we get mental battles between the two. So through all these battles, the comedy ensues.

Review

So enough summary, how good is it? Well, the answer is similar to most comedies. It depends on your sense of humor. Personally, I felt that the show got off to a strong start, and began to get repetitive around episode 7. There’s only so many places you can take a concept to form humor of it, and it didn’t feel as creative later on. I also felt that it ended on a poor note, but I can’t get into that without spoiling. This isn’t to say Kaguya is unenjoyable though. There’s definitely scenes and entire episodes I found pretty funny, with clever jokes written in.

In terms of animation and sound design, Kaguya was decent, but not super memorable in either. Animation wise, it had some cool visual presentation, with all the cuts and angles shown during Miyuki and Kaguya facing off. This helps with the set and outfit design, which felt relatively bland. No music really stood out in the OST to me, but none felt out of place either. I also felt that the voice actors all gave pretty solid performances.

Conclusion

Overall, I would give Kaguya a strong 6 to a light seven 7 out of 10. The upsides are definitely there, with some funny episodes and scenes, but it’s not super consistent in getting laughs from me. I would recommend everyone to watch the first one or two episodes and judge it yourself however, since humor is subjective. If you find any enjoyment from those first two episodes, then you’ll probably enjoy most of it. If not, then you probably won’t enjoy any of it. But either way, it doesn’t matter too much as long as the show gave us the Chika dance.

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Space Dandy Anime Review

Media: Anime
Name: Space Dandy
MAL Score: 7.89/10
Episodes: 13 + 13
Genres: Space, Sci-fi, Comedy

Warning: Light Spoilers Ahead

With a new anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe coming this spring, Carole & Tuesday, I thought it’d be a good idea to look at some of his previous works. One of these of course, being Space Dandy.

Summary

Space Dandy, similar to both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, is mostly episodic story-wise. But unlike these two, there really isn’t an overarching plot that the show follows. We just watch Dandy and his crew of a cat-like alien, Meow, and an outdated robot, QT, as they embark on crazy adventures in their ship, the Aloha-Oe.

Review

From the get-go, it’s obvious that this show cares more about comedy than telling a serious and emotional story. However this really isn’t a bad thing, as the comedy works really well most of the time. Whether it be episode seven with a ridiculous and hilarious race being the focus, or episode one with a crazy sequence of giant space monsters appearing before the crew, it’s almost always a blast to watch the crew of the Aloha-Oe. There are some weaker episodes however, for example I personally didn’t find episode four to be very entertaining. These episodes are few and far in-between though.

This isn’t to say that Space Dandy can’t ever tell a serious story though, as episode five in particular tells a particularly touching story about Dandy and his interactions with an alien he captured.

Comedy isn’t all Dandy has to offer though. Bursts of fantastic animation accompany the wildly fun plot and characters. A few specific scenes still stick in my mind as being masterfully animated, like the aforementioned scene with the monsters in episode one. Accompanied by a decent soundtrack and solid voice acting, it’s safe to say the presentation is pretty well done.

Conclusion

Overall, Space Dandy is a blast to watch, and deserving of an 8/10. It’s not without its flaws, and you probably shouldn’t go into it expecting deep themes and purpose, but it’s a nice change of pace from those types of shows. You don’t have to think about Space Dandy too much, you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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