Latest Updates [2017]

Last update(s):
High School DxD: V23 Life.2 (Part 1 of 4) (4/9)
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha: V7 Chapter 4 (Part 5 of 13) (17/9)
Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi V7: Chapter 2 (15/6)

No V23 spoilers please, I only read as far as I translate.

Night mode can be accessed on the right sidebar. It has been updated and now uses HTML5 local storage to stay persistent. Let me know about any issues with it!

Next update(s):
High School DxD V23 Life.2: On hold as I’ve already caught up to the Chinese TL 🙁
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha V7 Chapter 4 (Parts 6, 7, 8, & 9 of 13): 26/9 or earlier.
Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi V7 Chapter 3: On hold.

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Journey to the West

Perhaps I should be a little clearer…I meant the west of Japan. Anyway, here we go…

After all the great times I had in Tokyo, I didn’t think it could get any better, though I knew I was only halfway done. While Tokyo is generally regarded as the capital city, the cities of the west side of Japan have a distinctly different feel. Though they might still be called ‘cities’, they seem to maintain much more of their heritage and the style of old Japan. And while I didn’t believe it to be entirely true, I do have to admit now that people generally seem much friendlier in west Japan than in the east. I’m going to cover the Kansai region and its surrounds in this post, while the next post will wrap up my saga in Japan.

After leaving Tokyo by plane, I arrived into Kansai in the late evening, and headed straight to my hostel to drop off my bags before heading out to explore what Osaka was like after midnight. Naturally, most streets had become quite bare at this time, but the dotonbori district still had a characteristic charm about it, especially with lanterns lit up across the length of the waterway. Though many people I know don’t do this, I like to explore cities in the dead of the night, and there’s no safer place to do it than Japan. Often, you get to see a different side, and you can appreciate the beauty that it has to offer without any of the distractions of the day. I didn’t walk too far on this occasion though, as I had a big day planned out the next morning.

Now, I may be wrong about this, but Osaka doesn’t seem to have many attractions outside of the dotonbori district, so it can be explored in the space of one to two days, maybe more if you’d like to go deeper. And that’s why I’d recommend the Osaka Amazing Pass for one or two days to anyone planning to visit. You can almost certainly get great value from it since it covers public transport, and almost all of the attractions in Osaka that you could possibly want to visit. Personally, I was able to fit all of the following in one day:

  1. Tsutentaku Tower – an observatory that overlooks part of the city of Osaka
  2. Tennoji Zoo – a city zoo in Osaka that has a fair variety of animals, including penguins and polar bears (I seriously feel sorry for them in summer)
  3. Keitakuen Garden – a traditional Japanese garden
  4. Shittenoji Temple – supposedly one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan
  5. Osaka Museum of History – I found the view of Osaka Castle from above more interesting than any of the exhibits
  6. Osaka Castle – a beautiful and majestic Japanese castle from the outside, while the inside had some nice exhibits on the history of the castle
  7. Prefectural Government Observatory – another observatory, though this offers a view of a different part of the city
  8. Dotonbori River Cruise – an entertaining 30-minute cruise up and down the length of the waterway. Though there is little about anything historical, the guide usually points out any interesting places along the river
  9. Floating Garden Observatory Umeda – yet another observatory, again in a different part of Osaka
  10. Suminoe Hot Springs – nothing beats a nice hot soak after a long day, they’re open till 2am, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy it

I never planned on going to see an idol group, girl group or any musical performance in Japan for that matter, but I was on the river cruise when it passed by the live public performance of a girl group called Kamen Joshi. It was really nice to see something like that live, and I ended up going down to high-five all of the girls afterwards, even though I felt strangely guilty about it because they literally stood there for a few hours after their performance ended to high-five and take photos with everyone.

Moving on to the next city in the Kansai area, I happened to be in Kyoto while the Gion Matsuri (festival) was on, which is regarded as one of the largest festivals of the year. Kyoto is like the second capital of Japan. It embodies the long-standing culture and style of Japan in an era that has passed. There are plenty of old-style buildings here, and you’ll be able to find a shrine every few streets down. The city has done extremely well to preserve so many of its assets and culture despite the changing times – you could look down some streets and believe that you had gone back in time. I highly recommend renting a bicycle to explore the many sights around Kyoto – it’ll be worth your while as you get to see a lot just by cycling around the area.

In terms of food, the main specialties of this area are takoyaki and okonomiyaki – two things that you must try. Takoyaki are soft balls of flour with octopus stuffed inside, and served with a glazing of sauce, bonito, and green onions. They’re a great snack, and they can be quite filling too. Okonomiyaki is like a savoury Japanese pizza or pancake – it’s made of a batter with cabbage, and topped with slices of meat, sauce and bonito flakes after being cooked on a hot plate.

To the south of Kyoto lies Nara. Nara is a great day-trip because it only takes about an hour each way, and while it offers several unique attractions, most of them can be seen in a day. The most iconic aspect of Nara though would be the fact that wild deer run free throughout the city. There’s no place I’ve seen in the world quite like it, and I was actually quite surprised by the number of deer.

Before I move on to the the last part of this area, I’d just like to say that Japanese people are incredibly generous and kind. While on my way down to Kobe via train where I would be staying the next night, I had to pass through Osaka. It was late at night, and I had planned to get a few hours of rest in a net cafe before I caught the first train to Kobe so that I could drop off my bag and then head over to explore Himeji. I really only needed an hour or two at the net cafe so that I could take a shower and refresh myself, so I decided to take a nap in a local park first. Just as I was about to fall asleep, an old man on his bicycle came past me and struck up a conversation. His English was surprisingly good, and we were able to talk for quite a while on various random topics – a wonderful cultural experience. He had trouble sleeping and had decided to go for a ride on his bicycle instead, and though this was a fairly safe area, he still warned me and offered to let me stay the night at his apartment. That was truly, one of the nicest things that a total stranger had ever said to me, though I felt that I would impose on him too much so I politely declined. An interesting thing he told me was that I would probably be far safer here than any Japanese person, because many Japanese people see foreigners as alien-like beings and try to avoid them as much as possible.

Himeji Castle is probably the most beautiful castle in Japan. While some may argue on this point, the pure white walls of Himeji Castle make it look incredibly grand and majestic, especially from a distance. It’s one of the best preserved castles in Japan too, despite the earthquakes and the bombings during WWII. It was a great way to finish up this section of my trip and wind down.

You may have noticed in many of my photos thus far a multitude of black spots in the images – this is a fault in my phone’s camera. I had a proper camera in Hokkaido, and another phone camera for the rest of the trip, though I had some issues with the latter which limited my use of it. I thought about using Lightroom to fix them up, but it’d take too long. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading!

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UFO Catchers – Getting That Prize

You’ll either love them or you’ll hate them…but they’re always going to tempt you. Yes indeed, I too was tempted far too much and lost much of my wallet to them. But here I am to write a guide on how to be better at them, based on the lessons I learnt.

What you’ll come to understand is that these machines always look so easy. They’re designed to prey on that aspect of our mind – to trick us into believing that we can ‘win’, when in reality, it often takes a lot of patience. Most of them are money wasters, unless of course, you know how to minimise your spending. Let me just say first that you should avoid playing if you know you’ll get emotional, or empty your wallet for a prize. Sometimes it’s best to step back and turn around, so set a limit for yourself. Almost all prizes can be bought for 1000 – 2000 yen elsewhere.

About most of these machines, they have several common features:

  • Prizes are too heavy to be easily lifted or moved by the claw
  • Prizes are too large with no substantial grip to be lifted or moved
  • The claws are too weak to grip anything well
  • There are often high-friction surfaces or areas in the machine that make it much harder to win

Of course, there are also many, many variants of the UFO catcher, so I’ll cover the ones I’m most familiar with.

The Pincher

Usually a two-pronger pincher that you can move left and right, forward and backward. Once you set it’s position, it’ll automatically open its claws about as wide as its initial width, drop, and then close.

Source: blog.fromjapan.co.jp

There are two variants here: one with a large, heavy prize, and the other with a soft prize.

Source: magicianofgames.up.n.seesaa.net/

The main point though is that using the claw to ‘pick up’ the prize in both cases does not work. And you will have to make an investment in order to win, it’s unlikely to be a one-shot win. So, how? For the soft prizes, you’ll usually want to use the claw to push, using its downward force, the prizes together or to try to roll it into the hole. For the larger prizes, you want to use one edge of the claw to do the work. Both claws move apart about as far as their initial position, so move the claw so that when one side closes, it will ‘push’ the prize slightly towards the hole because the prize is slightly off-center. If it’s a long prize such as the one shown above, you’ll need to alternate between each end.

The One-Armed Claw

Much like above, the difference here is that you’re missing a claw, so getting the prize depends entirely on moving the mechanism towards the prize, but slightly off-center, so that when the claw open and closes, it’ll ‘push’ the prize just a bit. This and the two-armed claw are often used with a suspended prize as I’ll detail below.

The Hanging Prize

The hanging prize is most often a soft toy or a box containing a figurine. There is a ring that the prize hangs off, while the ring sits on top of a rod with a high-friction surface at the tip. It will take a few goes to completely dislodge the item, but I’ve done it in as few as four to win an Asuna figure. They are sometimes coupled with other mechanisms such as a chain, but the approach is the same.

Source: blogimg.goo.ne.jp

Hit highlighted parts

You’ll want to use the one-handed or two-handed claw to push the prize off the rod. Alternate between each side of the ring by moving the claw mechanism slightly off-center above the prize so that when it drops, the claw will hit and move the ring. By alternating on each side, you’ll speed things up. The closer you get to the outer edge, the more risk you have of missing, but it’s also the fastest way to win.

The Imprisoned Prize

This usually involves a prize suspended above two, or three bars. Each bar is wrapped in a high-friction surface to make your life harder. Oftentimes, the prize will be positioned so that it is lengthwise across the bars. It’s never as easy as it looks, and you’ll often have to do two things: turn the prize sideways, and roll it.

Grab highlighted areas to try and turn the prize

You’ll need to position the claw off-center again so that one side will push the box when it comes down. This means that you’ll eventually turn the prize enough that it’ll be able to fall through. When a third bar is involved, or with trickier boxes, you’ll have to use the claw on the center edge to flip or rotate it. This is one of the most popular machine types for good reason – it’s difficult. And that’s why I actually shy away from it, because it’s usually equivalent to buying the prize.

The Ball Drop

This is about impossible as it gets, and it’s mostly up to luck.

You might as well give up after the third try if you don’t get it. I say this because it gets harder as you go. While it starts off easy picking up the balls, they either fall out of the bowl and are irretrievable, or there are so few that the claw can’t get them anymore.

The Hooker

I’ve saved this for last because this is my favourite one of them all. They’re increasingly rare in Tokyo though, but the one at Taito in Kagurazaka is easy. I like these because you can one-shot them. Get used to the machine, and you’ll be dropping prizes like flies for 100 yen each. It’s too bad that there’s usually a daily limit of one or two per machine per arcade. The mechanism is simple: move a hook left and right, forwards and backwards. Once it’s position is set, the hook will drop down and if it hooks one of the rings, it’ll pull them up and you win. No tricks, no time-wasting.

Source: Random YouTube screencap

The secret is to wait between moving the hook across each axis. Give enough time for the hook to stabilise and stop swinging around so that when it drops, it won’t move around unpredictably. The hook is usually also slanted a bit, so lean more towards the inside of the ring, even if it looks like it might overshoot.

So, there you go. Lessons I’ve learnt from the Japanese arcades. What prizes did I get? I picked up a Fate/Extella Saber, Fate/GO Lancer, SAO Asuna, Love Live! Mari Ohara, Kankolle Ashigara, One Piece Boa Hancock. Gave one away and sold one…not sure what to do with the rest as I don’t exactly have any space to display.

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The Vertical Metropolis

I’m not quite sure what to say of Tokyo. It is an enormous metropolis that I don’t think I could fully explore even if I had a full month in it. While there exists the Tokyo prefecture, there are also the three large surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa that I didn’t get a chance to visit. As my time was limited to a week here, I spent most of my time only within the bounds of the Tokyo Metro system.

I arrived into Tokyo in the evening, so after checking in to my hostel and dropping my bag off, I spent the rest of the evening getting to know some of the other residents at my hostel and we went out for some ramen together. Following that, I decided to go for a late night stroll in Shibuya, check out a place called ‘Alcaztraz ER’ and see The Scramble at night. And it’s honestly quite a sight to behold. Even close to midnight, it looks as lively as ever against the typical backdrop of illuminated billboards. On the way back to my accommodation, I also got a chance to see the Skytree at night and jump into the twenty-four hour Don Quijote – a chain of large ‘discount’ stores that sell everything, no really, almost everything. Oh, I actually stayed pretty close to Bandai’s offices and I didn’t know until I walked past!

Whilst planning out my trip, I decided to split up my time in Tokyo to each of its neighbourhoods. My aim was to explore a few neighbourhoods a day, and I would also recommend that for anyone staying for a longer period in Tokyo because it gives you a somewhat systematic approach to cover as much of Tokyo as you want. Since I stayed in the Asakusa area, I went out to see the local shrines and attractions such as Senso-ji and Asakusa-jinja. Following that, I visited the Shibuya district in the daytime. Shibuya is filled with many shops, department stores, and of course has the famous pedestrian crossing that is named after it. If you’re a music fan, then I’d definitely hit Tower Records, as they only exist in Japan now I think – they still have an entire level for vinyl records. I then spent the afternoon in Chiyoda looking at the Imperial Palace gardens and had a picnic of soba noodles in the park – perfect for a hot day. And at night, I went out to Roppingi, famous for its nightlife and high-end shopping. I also tried Ippudo here, a chain of ramen stalls famous for their Hakata style.

I didn’t actually go back to my hostel that night as I wanted to see the tuna auction at the Tsukiji fish markets. I decided to spend a few hours of the early morning at a manga café, though, I actually missed out this time as I got to the market at around four in the morning, and they had just run out of their 120 limited daily spots. It was disappointing, but I still had a few chances in the coming days. So, I went around Ginza in the early morning to take a look at the Kabuki-za, and its shops, including Itoya, a somewhat classy multi-storey stationary store that serves free coffee to all customers (score!). I then spent the afternoon in Odaiba, which I’d say is actually one of the most interesting places in all of Tokyo, though somewhat more difficult to access and get around. In Odaiba there is the Diver City Plaza, famous for the enormous Gundam statue in front of it, though it was actually taken down in preparation for the new Gundam Unicorn statue that will be erected in the coming months (Was still under construction and I could only see its legs). Nonetheless, I still got a chance to visit the Fuji TV building, Panasonic Center, see the Tokyo Big Sight (where the comikets are held), and the Toyota Megaweb. The Toyota Megaweb is enormous, and it is possible to spend hours there just looking at the cars, trying the simulators, and possibly even test driving a car (need an International license valid for Japan). For the night, I headed over the Akihabara! It really was quite close to how I imagined it, the streets are lined with maids inviting you in to their cafes, and there are billboards of anime-related items all over the place. For some reason, I think of Kirino (OreImo) every time ‘Akihabara’ pops up in my head, probably because of this:

https://eyeforaneyepiece.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ore-no-imouto-2-akihabara-1.jpeg?resize=640%2C359

After checking out a few of the arcades and shops, I decided to go to a maid café. It felt like a must-try, no matter how cheesy it seemed. Honestly, it was a great experience, though incredibly embarrassing for someone not used to it. I went to Maidreamin, where the maids had a cute maid+neko theme. There was a live performance in which they sang and danced (thanks to the salarymen paying for it), and I was made to follow along with the all the moe-moe stuff that you’ve probably seen elsewhere. It was a great atmosphere, but again, it felt super embarrassing, especially alone.

I headed over to Shinjuku the following morning to see the Gyoen National Garden, a few government buildings, and the red light district. The Gyoen National Garden is one of the best in Japan I’d argue purely because of its size and diversity. The so-called red light district is one of the largest around. It’s relatively tame in the daytime, though quite often a few ladies would call out “Onii-san, massage”. I came back to the kabuki-chou later at night to see how it was – definitely much more like a red-light district, but still bustling with people and nothing quite like other ones around the world. I also visited the area around Omotesando and Meiji-jingu shrine where a wedding happened to be taking place. It was certainly interesting to watch part of a traditional Japanese wedding – though it looked rather solemn and quite unlike what I’d expected. I then headed over to Minato to see Zojoji temple and the Tokyo Tower, an amazing view at sunset I think, and one of my favourites. At night, I hit Gotanda, a place famous for its izakayas where salarymen hang out after work. Though it was a Saturday, it was still filled with many people and most izakayas were full. I got into one where they had awesome 100 yen and below skewers, as well as a matcha shochu found only in Japan. I have to admit that having some sake and the matcha shochu was probably a tad overkill (that stuff is way stronger than a beer!), and I felt somewhat dizzy as I made my way back to my hostel that night.

When Sunday came around, I decided to go to Harajuku, in hopes of perhaps seeing a cosplay gathering, though it has mostly died down over the years. There was no major cosplay gathering, though I did get to see various individuals and employees in cosplay. The streets were also jam-packed with locals and tourists on this particular day, but it was great nonetheless to walk down the famous street on a Sunday. The nearby Yoyogi park is also probably my favourite park in Japan because of how lively it is with so many curious personalities, performers, stalls, and the atmosphere it has. Following that, I made a brief visit to Hie shrine before strolling around Kagurazaka, a place with a beautiful and characteristic streetscape. It might look rather ordinary in pictures, but it has a certain charm about it. I then spent the afternoon in Tokyo Dome City, followed by an exploration of Takadanobaba in the evening, supposedly the home of Astroboy. I had originally planned to hit another izakaya in Takadanobaba, but someone told me about a Michelin-star ramen restaurant at normal prices, and I simply couldn’t resist so I hurried off to Toshima to try Nakiryu’s famous dandan noodles. I’ve obviously been having a lot of ramen, but Tokyo is a paradise for any food you could want really, and there’s plenty to try. Another I’d recommend is a stand-up sushi bar where everything is made in fresh in front of you.

I arranged a meet-up with Samat, a local, for a ‘pilgrimage’ of sorts on Monday. As we travelled to various outer cities across the Tokyo prefecture, I realised how almost every station had skyscrapers surrounding it, and that the ‘city’ never really ends anywhere, it just keeps on extending. Tokyo is one of the densest population centers after all, so it’s no wonder that many creators or directors might have taken their inspiration from some of the more residential districts. I actually noticed many others that seem to be based on real locations such as Kuzu no Honkai, Tokyo Ghoul, Saekano, and so on.

Of course, there were many other places that I got to visit and see, though not all have been detailed here. I’ve simply kept the highlights. Tokyo feels like one of those places that you can keep going back to without getting bored because there are so many aspects to it, and so many ways to explore it. There are so many different subcultures and districts that you can spend time getting to know, and that’s what makes Tokyo the massive metropolis that it is.

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Summer Paradise

My journey through Japan began from the north, and I made my way down as far as Hiroshima. The first stop in Hokkaido was a great introduction to Japan that was contrary to most preconceptions as this was Hokkaido in summer, but just before families from the rest of Japan would arrive due to the summer vacation period. For the most part, this was a road trip with several other friends and we rented a seven-seater car for a week.

Arriving in the evening at Sapporo airport, it was relatively late by the time that we picked up our vehicle and began driving to our first stop. Since this was the case, our first stop was an hours’ drive away – Lake Shikotsu. Lake Shikotsu is generally a quiet and less-travelled location as it is small and does not have much in the way of attractions aside from a view of the lake. One of the owners of the hostel welcomed us and gave us a brief introduction to the area – it is government protected, and thus little in the way of development can actually occur. It was a rather small and quiet town (nothing taller than two storeys at all!), and at eight in the evening, it was already dead quiet. All the shops had already closed, but the owner was nice enough to re-open one of his other businesses – a small café where he made us each a plate of Japanese curry. That said, it truly felt quite peaceful and detached, especially as our accommodation had traditional Japanese style rooms and a natural hot spring.

We made our way over to Lake Toya the next morning, where one of the lookout points offered an amazing panoramic view of the entire lake.

This photo does not do it justice.

There are plenty of Japanese mushrooms for sale in this area if that’s what interests you. Driving in Japan for the first time, there were various oddities we noticed – strange downward pointing arrows, and the fact that no one seemed to follow the absurdly low speed limits. Upon googling, we found out that the arrows were actually for the winter season when snow covers the roads so that drivers can tell where the road boundaries are. As for the speed limit, it seems as though residents drive up to 30 km/h above the posted speed limits, and speed cameras usually only care about an excess of around 30 km/h above the limit. It’s a strange system indeed, but it honestly does not make sense to travel at 40 km/h on a major countryside road that is non-residential.

The roads often have scenic lakeside views, or colourful floral views when away from the water.

After taking a look around the Lake Toya area, we headed for our accommodation in Noboribetsu where we would also see the nearby Hell Valley (Jigokudani), famed for its volcanic landscape that can appear to be like a scene from Hell. Something we only discovered from the posters in our accommodation was that there would be a local festival for the ‘demons’ held in Jigokudani that evening.

We also went around to various areas in Furano, Biei, and Otaru where there were many, many lavender and other flower fields, farms, and wineries. Melons and cherries are in season during summer, and melons are extremely popular (and expensive) here. It was very picturesque, and also incredible to see how much work goes into these flower fields as many of them are snow fields during winter, which means that the flowers must be replanted for every summer season. By the way, most things tend to bloom in summer, and peak season is when Japanese families visit in late July and August.

For the last part of our Hokkaido tour, we spent some time in Sapporo city. We were able to get some shopping done, and take a look around at the city’s attractions. We did an AirBnB stay at an apartment in the city which really made us feel at home in this city, though parking can become an issue.

Gotta try butter corn ramen while in Sapporo

This being my first time in Japan, it feels as though I’ve seen it through a different lens. There’s far more to it than novels or anime can show, and these photos are but one tiny aspect.

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A Brief Review – Spring 2017 Anime

I don’t normally do things like this, but I guess I might just once in a while to procrastinate. Anyway, I guess I’m somewhat disappointed at this season overall as many of the things that I watched were generic and cliched. That’s not to say that they weren’t entertaining, it’s just that they did nothing more than that. Potential spoilers up ahead!

Attack on Titan / Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2

The long-awaited sequel finally arrived after three and a half years for most people…though I personally binged through all of season one and two at once. I have to say that while I thought the first season was incredible, and it really drew me into the world, the second season was a slight letdown. Perhaps because much of the initial shock value of the series was now the norm, it had less of an effect on me. This season continues on with a steady stream of action, and splices in a bit of romance and character building. However, where it falls short is exactly that, with all that action and plot aside, the characters feel rather shallow, and are driven only by simple emotions or desires. Jean aside, none of the other characters rece mive much attention. Though, that’s fine withe. Attack on Titan’s strong point is its action, soundtrack, and plot. There are certainly more plot twists to keep everyone addicted, even if they do appear to be slightly more predictable now, but the gradual revelation of various details is what keeps this going strong.

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Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

The synopsis and the initial three episodes were actually quite interesting, especially Glenn’s character. But as the series progressed and we saw more of Glenn’s background and his interactions with the supporting cast, it became clear that this was yet another one of those ‘magic school’ anime. It certainly entertains and gave me a good occasional laugh, but in the end, it feels much the same as many others that I’ve seen. Neither the plot, characters or soundtrack truly stand out from the crowd.

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Eromanga-sensei

Oh boy, where do I begin? This comes from the same author as OreImo, which was good in its own right, but Eromanga-sensei was plain in comparison. The entire premise revolved around a LN author MC and his imouto illustrator and their circle of friends/colleagues. Though humorous at times (in part to the references it makes), it felt as though there was no progression. Almost all of the female cast seems to be in love with the MC, and the entire season simply painted their everyday life. It is an over-the-top exaggeration of a LN author’s life which may appeal to some, but it was probably one of the least interesting of this season for me, despite its comedic value.

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Re:Creators

This one is actually a 2-cour, so it will continue into the next season, but I will provide my opinion so far. This has turned out to be one of my favourites for the season. It is a completely original anime with a rather unique premise and execution. The anime portrays a world much the same as ours – we idolise and devote our time to fictional characters and worlds, to these so-called stories. Re:Creators mirrors this, and presents its world as one where these fictional characters are brought into the world of their creators. The way creators interact with their own creations is certainly interesting, and the realistic depth of Souta is, quite frankly, incredible. It is only later on that we are fully exposed to Souta’s inner psyche, but the buildup until that point has been phenomenal. Definitely excited to see how the rest of this pans out next season.

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Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

Naruto has been something that I grew up with, alongside others such as Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh. It was enjoyable to see much of the cast from Naruto return in their mature roles, but I’m still waiting to see where this goes. While the next generation has taken the spotlight, the formula appears to be the same – Boruto essentially seeks acknowledgement from his peers and his father, much the same way that Naruto did. It feels almost like Naruto all over again, but with a new cast – so I do hope that this series has something to show for itself other than acting as a new take on its predecessor.

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Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

I’m still waiting on the last episode of this, but I have to admit that it’s not as enjoyable when Bell isn’t the MC. Lefiya and Aiz are both fairly shallow – Lefiya seems like a bit of a simpleton, while Aiz remains largely expressionless, not allowing us a glimpse into what goes on in her mind. As a standalone, it doesn’t really offer much, but it may be a necessary step for future progression.

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Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

This one started off with an interesting plot, but soon became quite generic. I don’t really have much else to say aside from the fact that its is quite similar to many others, and is overall just ‘average’.

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Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism

I actually started out liking this one because the MC seemed to be a badass, but taking a step back to evaluate it revealed that it was filled with cliches, and was just another one of those battle school harems. Much of the plot is nonsensical, and though the MC’s fights with each of the Five Swords are something to look forward to, the plot never amounts to anything meaningful.

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Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭

Whether this is the end of the anime or not, it was well done. While each of the characters fit into their own ‘trope’ and stereotype, they manage to break free from time to time, and the fourth wall is occasionally breached to deliver some great humour. The underlying plot of the VN that they develop is really just a vehicle for the drama that plays out, it is able to draw out a lot of detail in each of the characters, and that has made it worthwhile.

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Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?

This one didn’t turn out quite as I expected it to, but that was for the better. It started off as what appeared to be yet another cliched setting, but that just helped to serve as a backdrop for story that captured the essence of a relationship and something deeper than the monster-fighting. The true worth of this anime is only brought out in the last episode, and I have to admit that all aspects of this blended together very nicely. The plot and the characters in this story aren’t nearly as important as the underlying message that is conveyed.

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Clockwork Planet

Hmm, this was an oddball. It had a unique setting, and humour stemmed mostly from Naoto’s obsession with clockwork dolls, but the plot wasn’t too bad either, and the characters were likeable enough. I think what this lacked was a single defining element, or something that could really make it stand out even more. It was enjoyable mostly for the entertainment value that it brought, but it could have been executed better in my opinion.

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Sakurada Reset

This one is another 2-cour, so this will be my thoughts on it so far. Along with Re:Creators, this was another highlight of the season for me. It’s a bit of a silent achiever – on the surface, it appears to be a rather ordinary tale of students in a particular town, but the way in which it presents the characters and their abilities is where this shines. It has nothing flashy, but the unpredictability and intelligence of the plot is what makes this interesting. I have to admit that almost all of the cast lacks depth and defining traits in their personality, and they appear to be somewhat emotionless overall, though it doesn’t seem like a major negative at this point.

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Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai

Coming from the same studio that does High School DxD, I was hoping that this would be good, but it falls quite short of that. It is still airing, but from beginning to end, it is nothing more than a vehicle for fan-service. I never really complain about fan-service, but I dislike it when that’s all there is. This is one such case – though there appears to be an overarching plot, most episodes follow a formula in which Lucifer and co. compete against one of the other Sins in some manner that results in various fan-service scenes. Everything is rather shallow, and at times I think that this might have been better either as a full-on Hentai, or with more narrative focus.

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Berserk

As an anime-only viewer, I’m actually glad that Berserk is getting more episodes, even if the animation isn’t great. Nonetheless, I’ve gotten used to it, and this season has been quite enjoyable. It’s always nice to see more of Guts’ badass scenes and his journey with a growing number of companions. It’s kept interesting by the plot and the underlying themes, though this season felt somewhat more disjointed. I’d love to see this continue, especially since I don’t have plans yet to start the manga.

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Tsugumomo

This actually turned out to be pretty lewd. It reminds me of a few other similar anime in the same vein, and that’s what I’ll remember it as. It isn’t spectacular in any aspect, and the pace was a tad too slow for my liking. The only thing that really stood out were the ecchi scenes and jokes, but it is otherwise ordinary.

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Sekai no Yami Zukan

I don’t really know why I watched this, but it’s probably because each episode was only four minutes or so. I honestly don’t know what the point of the show was as it didn’t do anything particularly well. The animation style was primitive, and the stories simplistic. I could only laugh at times because of how bad this whole thing was executed.

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Quanzhi Gaoshou

This is probably the first Chinese anime that I’ve ever seen, and it turned out surprisingly good. The animation was top-notch, although quite a few of the male cast looked too similar and their names weren’t particularly memorable. The show builds up a few expectations that it can’t live up to though. At the beginning, it seemed as though we would watch a man’s journey to becoming the best again in the eSports world, but many of the episodes simply seemed to show that he was already the best, and people were just salty or jealous of what he had. The pace was slow in terms of actual progression, but it did well in portraying its world and ideals.

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To sum up, I’d say that Re:Creators takes the top spot this season, and almost everything else was somewhat mediocre. Feel free to disagree, or share your thoughts on this. And if it feels as though I have nothing but negativity, well, picking out flaws is often easier than finding things to praise.

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