www.Working!! Episode 10 Review

Ten episodes down, and only two more (I think) to go. The season is certainly coming to an interesting conclusion, having recently just moved everyone’s stories forward at an alarmingly quick rate. Though that isn’t a bad thing, especially if you are enjoying the progress so far.

This episode focused mainly on Shindou and Kamakura, with hardly any appearances from the other main characters. While I have said it before, they story arc is not one of my favorites. But it has been growing on me in the past few episodes, and this one may have changed my opinion on their story as a whole.

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The featured quote of this episode.

I think after the events of this episode, I can’t help but think that their story is going to end in a fun and interesting way. Shindou decides to finally put his foot down, with a little coercing from Kamakura’s bodyguards, and start standing up to Kamakura. This actually works, and leads to what could have been a world ending sequence of events.

Shindou and Kamakura kiss.PNG
I also cannot help but notice how much Shindou looked like Hasabe from Servant x Service in this episode.

I don’t have too much to say about this episode, but I have enjoyed it a lot more than the past few episodes. Not saying they were bad, just saying this was better to me. Which is surprising considering it didn’t have any of my favorite characters in it.

 

www.Working!! Episode 9 Review

Episode 9 is here, and it has a much more supernatural theme than I have seen from past Working!! seasons. Is also a new Wagnaria couple this episode?? Also an entire scene in English! What could go wrong with that?

Adachi holding Muranushi.PNG

The episode opens with Wagnaria being plagued and haunted by the ghost only Muranushi can see. However she herself has been possessed (by a 40C fever), all because of the cook Adachi. As much as I don’t particularly care for their story and romance, I did rather enjoy this element of fantasy, as it is certainly different from any other Working!! or Servant x Service story line you’ll see.  So it is kind of an interesting change of pace from the typical workplace slice-of-life that it has been.

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Even Muranushi’s little brother is cursed.

The second half of the episode bounces around a lot, with scenes varying  from Yanagiba also falling ill, to an all English exchange between Saiki and Kisaki that features some very not-so-good English accents. Especially for characters who are supposed to be able to be fluent in English. Though I will say I appreciated the effort put into it, I think it needs a lot of improvement.

saiki-is-normal

I don’t really have too much to say about this episode. It wasn’t bad, but rather it was pretty underwhelming to me. Though as I said last week, not every episode can be a home-run. This one had some jokes land,  but a lot of them didn’t in my opinion.

 

 

Tonari no Seki-kun Review

Plot: Rumi Yokoi sits next to Seki-kun everyday in class. However, everyday Seki is doing something other than classwork, distracting Rumi to no end. From hybrid games of shogi to an RC mock driver’s ed test, nothing is off-limits for this master of killing time.

This anime is the first show I started watching after I cleared my goal of finishing five anime from my “currently watching” list. It was a good choice I think, since it is fairly short. Each of its 21 episodes are about 8 minutes long, including an opening and ending song. So if you are someone who skips those, then you can finish them even faster in about 6 minutes. There are also about 3 OVAs, which are slightly longer, but still worth watching.

To start, this show is one of the more unorthodox shows I have seen in a while. First, the title character Seki-kun never gets one line of dialogue. Just grunts. So to me that is pretty interesting. He is kind of like Silent Bob from “Jay and Silent Bob.” Another unusual aspect is as I mentioned above the time slot. It is pretty short, but it makes it easy to consume and watch at your own pace. Finally is that there is really only focus on Rumi and Seki. Hardly any outside characters exist, with characters created by Seki seemingly getting more lines and attention than Seki and Rumi’s classmates. With that being said, I use unorthodox here in a good way, since different in my opinion is usually a good thing.

Tonari no Seki-kun Robot Family Pool.PNG
A robot family created by Seki, who even gets their own theme song.

Obviously the main attraction for this show is its comedic elements. There is little to no plot outside of the stories established in each episode, so if you are looking for some well fleshed out romance or action, you are looking in the wrong place. But if you are looking for some guaranteed laughs, look no further than Tonari Seki-kun (or as it is translated to in English My Neighbor Seki-kun).

Seki’s antics never failed to amaze me, with almost every episode’s gag being different. And even when they were re-used, it was still new and fun. So I never felt like I was watching the same thing twice. My favorites were probably when Seki opens up his own note passing postal service, and when he constructs his own remote control car mock driving test. Those episodes really show how detailed and how much effort Seki put into his in-class shenanigans. That kind of dedication is certainly respectable.

The Correct way to play Shogi.PNG
A “chess vs shogi” battle.

Seki as a character is also just really fun to watch. First of all, as I said earlier his dialogue is nothing more than grunts and groans. So not hearing his voice adds a certain intrigue to him, I think. Also, his lackadaisical attitude towards classwork is not unlike my own high school self’s attitude. I could not be bothered to pay attention and do work, just like Seki. Though his antics are certainly funnier than mine ever were. Seki’s name is also a fun point of interest. Seki (せき) in Japanese means seat, and the word in the title tonari (となり) means next to. So it quite literally means “the seat next to me.” And since Seki sits next to Rumi, it is a sort of play on words. While not totally relevant or important, I always find things like that fun to notice when I watch shows.

The voice acting is also worth mentioning, as I found it surprisingly good. Well, it shouldn’t have surprised me because Rumi’s voice actress is the amazing Kana Hanazawa, so a great performance was almost guaranteed. But the English dub acting is also worth mentioning. I noticed this show had a dub when I started watching it, but the OVAs weren’t dubbed. So I decided to get the best of both worlds and watched the most of the main 21 episodes dubbed and watched the OVAs subbed. The English dub was surprisingly good, with Monica Rial voicing Rumi. This was actually not surprising though, as she often dubs voles done originally by Kana Hanazawa. So it is only fitting that they both voiced Rumi.

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Rumi at her finest.

Speaking of Kana Hanazawa, the OP song is actually performed by her. A very quick song at about 45 seconds, but I liked it so much I found myself rewinding it to listen to it again. The song is super catchy, and lyrics very fitting for the show. The ED is also pretty cool, with the animation showing Seki playing makeshift drums with pencils and other school supplies.

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Seki-kun re-imagined as a titan from Attack on Titan

If there is anything negative that I had to say about the show, I would have to say it is the art style. The art style feels older, sort of feeling like a 90’s anime to me. With that being said, I don’t find that it takes anything away from the show, and it definitely started to grow on me as I watched more of the show. So it really wasn’t a huge deal. Though if you are someone who prefers Shaft’s animation and art style, this may not be your favorite.

I got a lot of laughs from this short show, which in the end is all that matters. To give it a pretty arbitrary rating, I would give it an 8/10. Not perfect by any stretch, but certainly worthy of your time. I sincerely enjoyed every episode, and I think most people would too. There is also apparently a live-action adaptation on Netflix in Japan that I can only see as being not very good. So I am pretty excited to check it out, and hopefully review it.

www.Working!! Episode 8 Review

There was more progress made than I would have thought this episode. With our two MCs (Higashida and Miyakoshi) becoming an item, even if it is only to improve Miyakoshi’s cooking. This made for some fun jokes and story progress. Who knows? Maybe this not-in-love couple will become the real deal? One can only hope.

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I love arcade dates!

This episode featured scenes in a game center which is pretty neat if you want to see into what Japanese arcades are like. As it showed in the episode, they are mostly UFO catchers and rhythm games.

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True words of wisdom.

This episode was probably one of the most normal for me, in regards to my enjoyment. I got some good laughs from jokes here and there, but it didn’t wow me like the past few have. But that is only natural. You can’t expect every episode to be a knee-slapper now can you? With that being said, I did thoroughly enjoy the developing relationship between Higashida and Miyakoshi. As someone who loves the romance in the Working!! series’, I totally ship them. The way they called each other “darling” also reminded me of a certain fake couple that I love so much.

A pretty solid episode. Not too amazing not too boring. It did a good job of keeping the ball rolling I thought, and also included an appearance of my boy Saiki, so that made me happy. I am looking forward to next week’s episode, which should mark the 3/4 point in the show. See you next week!

Unique Blogger Award Nomination

First off I would like to thank Raistlin0903 for this nomination. He runs a super dope blog ranging from things like anime, movies and film, and boardgames. Which is pretty cool, since I don’t really see stuff about boardgames that often. His film reviews are also brilliant, especially since he has an incredibly wide variety of films being reviewed, with his latest review being of a Korean film (I think). Either way, check out his blog if you haven’t yet, it is fantastic.

The Rules

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you
  • Answer the questions
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award
  • Ask them three questions

Questions:

1.If there was anything you could change about your favorite movie or novel, to make it even more perfect, what would it be?

Hmm… This is a difficult question. I am pretty content with all of my favorite movies and novels. But I will give an answer for each. First, my favorite movie is probably Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. I would change it by making it even longer, since I absolutely love Bill Murray’s performance. That movie just never gets old to me, and I watch it every Groundhog Day. As for my favorite novel, this isn’t my favorite, but if the ending was different it might be. Fahrenheit 451  is the novel I would choose, and as I said I would change the ending. It basically just ends with someone getting a 25 kill-streak in Call of Duty: MW2 so to speak, because a nuke just gets dropped and everyone dies. Despite that sounding climactic, it was quite the opposite. I think I would be okay with literally any other ending, but I can’t really say for sure.

2. Name three topics that you haven’t written a post on yet, but might be planning sometime in the future.

  1. I am planning on doing a review of a short anime I have been watching called Tonari no Seki-kun, and I (ideally) would like to have that out by tomorrow, so look forward to that!
  2. If I can actually finish it, a review of the J-Drama Mischievous Kiss would be a lot of fun. But I am incredibly lazy and just cannot bring myself to devote the time to finishing it.
  3. I think eventually I also want to chime in on the Dub vs. Sub argument, though that’s certainly a topic that has enough debate as it is. So maybe not? Who knows. But I still think it is fun to voice my opinion, even if it can be summed up as simply as “to each their own.”

3. If you could arrange a debate between two people that you admire, who would they be, and why would you want to let them debate?

This is certainly an interesting question. Do they have to be alive? If yes, then I would make Neil Patrick Harris and George Clooney debate on who they think is the best actor/actress, and the best films are. That would certainly be cool. I also chose them because they are two of my favorite actors. If they don’t have to be alive, then I would like Richard Dawson (old Family Feud host and other game show participant) and Alex Trebek debate on what the best game show is. If I had to consider myself an expert on any useless topic, I would think it is game shows. I have seen too many game shows in my short 20 years on this earth.

Nominations:

  1. Aldael’s Attic
  2. YAHARI BENTO!!
  3. The Anikatsuki
  4. Inkling Infornography
  5. Plain Pasta and Plain Rice
  6. Reporting, From 20XX
  7. Ryuji’s Anime Review
  8. 100WordAnime

My Questions to You:

  1. What anime character do you most relate to and why?
  2. What fictional setting/universe would you most like to live in?
  3. If you could swap lives with one person, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

Again, thanks Raistlin0903 for the nomination, I really appreciate it. I hope you guys enjoyed reading my responses, and I look forward to reading your answers to my questions!

Episodes that Never get Old to You

Do you have any episodes of an anime that you just can’t help but go back to and re-watch, no matter how many times you have seen it? For any number of reasons, these episodes are special to you. Be it because they allow you to relive the nostalgia of when you first watched the show, the episode always has you on the edge of your seat (even when you know the conclusion), or even if it just always manages to send you to your “happy place,” these episodes are important to you. For me in particular, I use these episodes to allow me to escape reality, if just for a short time, and collect my thoughts. Particularly when I am having a bad day.

Today was one of those bad days, and it felt like I couldn’t catch a break. I had originally planned to do a Nagisa Oshima film review today, but Hulu had other plans. The “Criterion Collection” of Hulu migrated to a different website only four days ago, right under my nose (though I suppose that isn’t hard because I have a Squidward Tentacles/Pinocchio-esque nose). However, all hope was not initially lost, since I was able to start a free trial on said new website. Unbeknownst to me, though, they had for some reason decided to add all of the other Nagisa Oshima films over to this new site, EXCEPT the one I planned on reviewing. Thus causing immense frustration. So I will probably have to put those film reviews on hold until I return to the U.S. in December. To add to that, I spent too much money on chocolate today (which wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t eat it all in one sitting) and now I think I am starting to get sick.

But! I was able to salvage this day still, by watching one of my favorite “never gets old” episodes. And that episode is “A Day in the Life of the Fujioka Family” from Ouran High School Host Club. If you have seen the show, it is the episode where the members of the host club plan a surprise visit to Haruhi at her home and meet her cross-dressing father. This episode isn’t all that special, aside from the fact that it is really funny. However it always seems to set me in a good mood, no matter how many times I have seen it. The jokes don’t get stale even if I know exactly when they are happening, and it is just an all around enjoyable experience.

OHSHC Haruhi Supermarket.PNG

Though that isn’t my only favorite episode to go back to. Some of my others are the final episode of The Devil is a Part-Timer called “The Devil and the Hero Do Some Honest Hard Work.” This episode is a pretty lackluster final episode, as the climax and what can be considered the conclusion actually come the episode before this. However the episode just has a certain charm that I find myself unable to resist.

Emi and Maou Umbrella Scene.PNG

Other shows that I have these favorites in vary from Nisekoi, Toradora!, Naruto, Yamada’s First Time, Sword Art Online, Servant x Service, Deadman Wonderland, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun, and even my childhood favorite  Zatch Bell. Each of these shows are among my favorites, and even if I don’t re-watch the entire show, I will always find myself going back to at least one or two episodes from each.

I would also like to know if any of you have any specific favorite episodes you love to re-watch. How many times do you think you have seen those episodes? Also, do you have an episode that never fails to cheer you up when you are feeling down? Did I steal any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Nominated for Sunshine Blogger Award

First, I would like to thank Karandi from 100 Word Anime for the nomination. If you are somehow not already following their amazing blog, I highly suggest you do so. They review an incredible amount of different series at a time, from shows airing this season episode by episode, to old classics and everything in between. Plus they have fun features and top five lists every week, so please if you haven’t already, check them out!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write then 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions:

1.  What made you decide to start blogging and how long have you been doing it for?

I started blogging initially about two years ago since it was a requirement for a writing class I was taking at the time, which lead to me creating this blog about a year ago. I created this one since I kind of just wanted to write my opinions and thoughts about anime and other forms of J-culture. Unfortunately, I initially lost motivation and free time, and stopped writing, only to pick it back up about a month ago now.

2. What is your favorite anime series?

While this is a nearly impossible question to answer, and many other bloggers will agree with that statement I think, I would have to choose The Devil is a Part-Timer! as it is the show that got me into comedy anime. I think I also decided to start learning Japanese and in turn study abroad in Japan because of it. So I suppose I owe a lot to that show.

3. If you could change one thing about your favorite anime series what would it be?

As a joke answer, I would change it so that it never ends. On a more serious note, I would probably make it so it follows more closely to the Light Novel source material. The LN starts with Maou already living in Japan, whereas the anime starts from Maou’s downfall and eventual self-exile to Japan.

4. Least favorite genre (anime/tv series/books/anything)?

I am not a huge fan of soap operas. I cannot for the life of me figure out why Days of our Lives can get over a thousand episodes, and I cannot get a season two of Deadman Wonderland or The Devil is a Part-Timer!. It is outrageous I tell you.

5. Fictional character you might have a crush on?

Right now the only one I can think of is Chitoge Kirisaki from Nisekoi, but that was “just a phase.” Other than that I really don’t know. Though I did have a big crush on Terra from Teen Titans when I was a little kid.

6. Favorite opening theme for an anime?

“Crossing Field” by LiSA (Sword Art Online OP1) has always stuck with me as one of my favorites ever since first watching the show. Something about the initial ten seconds of the song just makes me feel nostalgic and ready to watch anime. It is a great feeling.

7. Favorite source of anime news?

Crunchyroll and Anime News Network used to be my go to sources, but now I really like catching an article here and there from my fellow bloggers.

8. An anime cliche you wish you never had to see again?

I am a sucker for a good cliche, so I can’t really think of one in particular that I want to completely do away with. But I do get tired of seeing the “childhood friend” shtick in rom-coms. I don’t really see how this friend is somehow infinitely better and far more superior in every way to the other friends.

9.  Most interesting premise for an anime (whether or not the anime was any good)?

Deadman WonderlandDeath ParadeThe Devil is a Part-Timer, and I couldn’t become a Hero so I Reluctantly Decided to get a Job are some premises I really like. All of them, save for the last show, are also fantastic shows. The last isn’t bad, but maybe could tone down on the ecchi content a little bit.

10. Main reason you would stop watching an anime?

Lack of time. I have childishly decided to not stop watching an anime even if I think it is terrible. Which is a pretty masochistic thing to do I think. But the way I look at it is, if I can sit through Tommy Wiseau’s sitcom The Neighbors then I can sit through any bad anime.

11. Do you collect any anime related merchandise and if yes, what?

I have been collecting a lot of anime source material like video games, LNs, manga etc. And I am trying to build a Nisekoi pendant/key necklace collection. So far I only have one key, but I suppose that is more than zero!

Nominations: I don’t have 11 people that haven’t already been nominated so I am just going to list people who might not haven’t been nominated yet.

  1. Aldael’s Attic
  2. YAHARI BENTO!!
  3. The Anikatsuki
  4. Inkling Infornography
  5. Plain Pasta and Plain Rice
  6. Reporting, From 20XX

If you have already been nominated (or just don’t want to make a post) feel free to ignore this.

New Questions:

  1. What made you decide to start blogging?
  2. What is your favorite non-anime TV series?
  3. What do you think would make for a great anime adaptation?
  4. Least favorite scene from your favorite anime?
  5. Fictional character you have/had a crush on?
  6. Favorite opening/ending theme for an anime?
  7. Favorite source of anime news?
  8. An anime cliche you have experienced in your own life?
  9.  Most interesting premise for an anime?
  10. Anime you dislike but have to admit it is good?
  11. Do you collect any anime related merchandise?

I appreciate the nomination! It was actually a lot of fun answering the questions. Thanks!

 

 

www.Working!! Episode 7 Review

Episode 7 is here, and focused mainly on two issues this time around (which is rather unorthodox, since usually the episodes spend about 4-5 minutes per topic covering about 4 per episode). These issues were the quarrel between Shiho Kamakura (the money-lender) and Yuta Shindo (the debtor), and another Higashida Miyakoshi chocolate eating fiasco. However I would argue this is the best one yet, with a surprising turn of events taking place.

First off, let me say I the story between Shiho and Yuta is probably my least favorite in the show, so I didn’t really like it getting as much screen time as it did. With that being said, this episode did manage to sway me over, and start to like their story arc. They did this through a somewhat unrealistic, but heartwarming nevertheless, turn of events. Yuta (the person in debt) received a winning lottery ticket from a Wagnaria’s favorite baby mascot, and it happened to be worth 300 million yen. Enough to more than pay back his debt to Shiho.

working-hime-baby

However, since this is anime he obviously cannot just pay off his debt like that, and end his troubles here. While looking over his potential winnings, Shiho overhears and even starts crying, thus upsetting Yuta and causing him to throw away his fortune and continue his life of debt. This loving gesture seems to further their relationship, and it is proven by Shiho giving him cat food instead of dog food to eat for lunch. A clear upgrade and improvement (sarcasm)!

In between these two-story arcs were a few appearances from my main man Saiki (the not Japanese speaking Wagnaria employee). I thought the gag of his misunderstandings and mistranslations would get old, but boy was I proven wrong. My favorite from this episode, which I can personally relate to, comes from when Miyakoshi tries to speak English to Saiki and introduce herself. However he quickly spits straight hot fire English at her, and it becomes too much for her to handle. Those are my feelings exactly, when I strike up a Japanese conversation and get quickly overwhelmed.

Miyakoshi and Saiki English Conversation.PNG

Ridiculous story arcs aside and English conversations aside, the second half of this episode was definitely my favorite part of the show so far. Miyakoshi, once again, decides to make chocolate and make Higashida eat it. However, he is no fool and quickly turns her down. This causes a completely unexpected turn of events. She. Eats. Her. Own. Chocolate. Shen then gets to spend some of her own time in her sub-conscious and meet Saint Valentine himself.

However she doesn’t wake up right away! So Higashida realizes there is only one thing to do: eat the chocolate and go in after her!

Higashida and Miyakoshi together in Chocolate Land.PNG

With both of the idiots inside this strange world, I could not help but bust a gut laughing. This turn of events was so unexpected that I was just dead. My favorite scene of the show so far.

Every time I think this show’s tropes are going to get old or boring, they always manage to surprise me. Even the stories I didn’t like have started to grow on me. This episode is probably my favorite so far (though I find myself saying that after nearly every episode). I think the next thing we need now is for my favorite Saiki to get his own character development. That would truly be something.

Saiki misinterpretation.PNG

See you next week for episode 8!

 

Tower of Druaga Review

Plot: Jil, an inexperienced warrior decides to make it his dream to follow in the footsteps of King Gilgamesh, and ascend the Tower of Druaga and slay its master. However, he cannot climb the tower alone. So he must recruit many allies, before he may begin his quest of epic proportions.

Based on the 80’s Namco arcade game of the same name, this anime is two seasons. Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk and Tower of Druaga: Sword of Uruk. Since I believe it is kind of essential to see both seasons, since if you don’t you miss half the plot, this will be a review of the series as a whole. I also decided to review it since it seems to be a sort of overlooked series. One I haven’t seen a lot of reviews about, so I figured I would give my own.

Continue reading Tower of Druaga Review