This seems like the kind of thing that would make a great series of posts, so here it is, welcome to the first edition of “Japan Weirding Me Out”!
This will not be a weekly series, this will simply be a post when it happens kind of series. As the title says, this series will be devoted to the things I see, hear and watch that Japan comes out with that even in my state of being okay with over-the-top anime in both insanity and sexuality, it still makes me raise an eyebrow and go “…THE FUCK?!”. Because when it comes to weirding me out, Japan will forever be the reigning and defending champion.
So on the first edition of Japan weirding me the fuck out, enjoy a one-minute anime short from DLE’s series called Henshin Girls, which is basically a series of anime shorts where cute anime girls shock the public with their “transformations”.
I’ve been looking forward to a second BABYMETAL album since hearing the first one, but I was unsure if I’d ever get to hear one. Japan is a strange beast when it comes to musical acts. I wasn’t sure if the band would be around long enough, as the girls may “graduate” from the group, perhaps it’s a whole new set of girls, there were a lot of possibilities I wondered about. But luckily it was all me freaking out and the second album is a real thing, released on April Fools no less.
So here’s my first album review, we’ll do it by track.
01. Road to Resistance
This song has been around for a while, even longer than the single ‘Karate’, which we’ll get to. I’m surprised this song was on the album, I did not expect this song to be put on it. Right away you can hear the Dragonforce addition to this track and it creates a much different style than we’re used to hear with BABYMETAL, there’s no extra gimmick to this song, it’s a straight-forward speedy melodic metal track. Even Su-metal’s vocals are set up similar to how Dragonforce songs are song. The only thing I don’t like about this song is that the pre-chorus sounds a bit rushed, lyrically, like they’re trying to fit too many words in so little time. I’ve actually tried to play this song due to fan-generated Rocksmith content, minus the crazy solos the song is actually super fun to play, I love the chord progression of this song. Also, the clear Dragonforce “Whoa-oh-oh-ohhhhhh!” is sung is this song as well, which never gets old honestly.
I’m absolutely fucking addicted to this track. Ever since the single was released I’ve been listening to it non-stop, this song got me super hyped for the new album. The opening riff is badass, I still need to figure it out myself, want to play it so badly. Then the song devolves into the usual routine, cheesy verse with Moa and Yui and then Su just takes it over. Her pre-chorus and chorus vocals in this song are off the charts tremendous, it’s badass and beautiful at the same time, it’s mind-blowing for me that something so beautiful can also be so badass. Another thing that’s really incredible about this song is just how well the drums really pound this song into your head, particularly in the opening riff and chorus. Finishing near the end with that softer part, this song really comes off like a legitimate heavy metal track you might actually hear on the radio. Honestly if this song wasn’t in Japanese, I’d expect to hear this on the radio and if it were up to me I’d have this on the radio regardless. An incredible track, my favourite one on this album without question.
03. Awadama Fever
Hello crazy techno intro. This song is super happy for a track with such a tough, scratching guitar track. I could see a song like this being edited down to 90 seconds for an anime intro, it’s happy enough that it could work in spades for a show. I’m a little disappointed in this track with how none of the instruments are really easy to hear, it’s all meshed together into this techno-ish track, over-edited a bit to match the style they were probably going for in this song. This song though really lets Moa and Yui get their stuff in a little more and it works wonders vocally. It’s really the music that bugs me on this track.
Holy crap I thought I was about to face a final boss listening to that intro. This is a much better sounding track with techno influence, the guitar in the verse has a rough ska feeling to it as well, which is double awesome. They let the instruments sound much clearer in this track, which works wonders compared to the previous track. The drum track in the chorus is perfect, makes it feel even faster than the song actually is, it’s a lot slower than it sounds but the drums really hammer it home. My favourite is definitely the synthesizer sections in the track, they really give the song its own charm here.
Time for a slower track, something more similar to Ijime, Dame, Zettai…or at least that’s what I thought. Then the dueling guitar solos start and holy shit I’m way into this track. This song actually sounds a lot more like a mixture of Ijime, Dame, Zettai and Akatsuki, a bit of the softer stuff but then going right back into the faster, harder section. Also, holy shit that bass solo! This song is full of great soloing sections, a guitarist’s paradise to say the least. Just kick back and listen to your wrists getting sore from the craziness of the guitars in this song.
06. Meta Taro
I thought Anamanaguchi was about to play a track for us instead. The transition between that 8-bit intro and the actual song is so odd that I’m not even sure whether I like it because it’s such a weird transition, or if I’m actually weirded out by this choice. We went from Anamanaguchi to Van Canto or something like Nightwish without warning in this track, it’s definitely a weird amalgamation of musical styles. My ears were not prepared for this track. AND THIS ISN’T MY FIRST TIME LISTENING TO BABYMETAL, HOW DID THEY DO THIS?!!!
07. From Dusk Till Dawn
Right off the bat, this song does tell me they’re trying to commercialize the band a little more, likely due to their viral success overseas in North America and Europe. This track sounds a lot like your standard emo metal music that you’d hear in a Hot Topic or something. This is a BABYMETAL track that actually sounds like something and not its own, I’m not sure whether to be disappointed that it’s not overly weird or happy with them because they’re making an effort to gain real traction worldwide. There’s more to the song though, get that little bit of dubstep mix in there like Uki Uki ★ Midnight did on their last album, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as that track was with it.
I imagine this song will be an opening track for a lot of their shows, they can use that intro riff and extend it as long as they want to get the crowd ramped up for the girls’ arrival. The song also is a great introduction of what the band is, a bit of everything you expect from BABYMETAL, the heavy rift, the cheesy talking verses (which they’ll probably have really silly dances to), the silly sound effects added in like the cartoon doink at the 2-minute mark. Now that I think about it, this might actually be a song where Su isn’t the center focus of the track, it sounds like Yui and Moa are getting the majority of the work in this track.
09. Sis. Anger
There’s clearly a lot of Western influences throughout this album, I feel like this song has a lot of Slipknot influence to it, of course getting the ever-so-awesome BABYMETAL treatment put over it. The chorus is creepy as fuck too, it sounds like a happy death march, a set of three words you didn’t think would work together. If there’s anything I can criticize about this track is the lack of melody with the vocals, it’s not that great with BABYMETAL having the same small range of vocals with these girls. The track is still badass, but I would’ve liked a little more of that Su-metal vocal flair to it.
10. No Rain, No Rainbow
Awww shit, now we’re breaking out the piano. It’s like a cheesy romantic track, only in Japan can you have that on an album with this much speed metal and have the double bass going on in the background with the piano. The song keeps ramping up, adding in the guitars and some violins. Now that I think about it, it comes off a lot like a Queen track, that’s really awesome now that I think about it. Anything with Queen having to do with it is going to be a soft spot for me. Nice slower guitar solos as well, which are always great (and not just because I might be able to play them) to me.
11. Tales of the Destinies
Wow, the mixture of progressive metal influences in this song. Let me rattle off a few names just to give you an idea of how many different acts I heard in this song. Dream Theater with those beautiful synths, Opeth with the soft, yet super heavy riffs, Between the Buried and Me with the very quick and sometimes silly guitar melodies. That’s just three acts that I heard within the first 30 seconds. This song might as well be called “Tales of Prog Metal”. Though as the song drags on longer, the Dream Theater influence becomes the shining majority, the cheesy wild west piano, the synths, the Mike Portnoy classic drum beats, yeah I could see this being on one of their albums. This is song is so awesome, it’s a shame that KARATE is so good because I’d love to show this track to people first, but KARATE’s just gotta be that first track.
12. THE ONE (English Version)
Where was this song released in Japanese? I haven’t heard it before. Upon research, turns out this track is in Japanese if you buy it in Japan. That’s bullshit, why not release them both? The song was the second single put up on their YouTube channel which was badass, though the song is a little weird to me, mainly because since I hear it all in English, it ruins the experience of not knowing if the song is repeating itself constantly with its lyrics. Having the song in full English ruins that experience, since I can understand the lyrics being sung. However, Su-metal’s English is actually really good, she doesn’t have the usual funny syllables that Japanese singers always struggle with, she’s clear 95% of the time, a few syllable transitions she doesn’t quite get out fluently, but it’s still great nonetheless. This track is also coming with a lot of Dream Theater influence I think. The main problem with this song, Yui and Moa are barely present at all in this song. Is it because they can’t sing English much? Either way, the song suffers without the two of them being an integral part of the song as much as Su always is.
I was so hyped for this album and while it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be (after all, I’m basing this off the incredible previous album) it’s still one of the best albums I’ll be listening to this year, I think. BABYMETAL is such a different beast musically and that’s a large part of why I love them as much as I do, they’re so different from anything else I listen to. There are a few fantastic tracks on the album with of course KARATE, Tales of the Destinies and Road to Resistance. There’s your classic weird ones like Awadama Fever and YAVA! and of course the newer more Westernized additions like THE ONE and From Dusk Till Dawn. There’s a lot more for outside audiences to find and like, while their first album was purely something you had to be really open to enjoy if you’d never listened to anything Japanese before. But man, if you like metal at all, you have to give this album a listen for sure!
I’ve introduced my girlfriend to a ton of different anime. Some have been hit or miss. Anime I love like FLCL has greatly weirded her out, some like Demon King Daimao and fucking Monster Musume however she loved. But no anime I’ve shown her has captured her attention and actually have her constantly complaining that a second season hasn’t been announced, than the recent Himouto: Umaru-Chan!
It’s not the wackiest most insane anime out there, but Himouto: Umaru-Chan certainly succeeds at becoming an entertaining show that anyone can enjoy, while others stay within a certain demographic. This show is without a doubt for everyone, it’s obviously silly enough for kids, but there’s a lot of things that teens and adults can find in the show that certainly allows them to be just as entertained, if not more.
The basic premise of the anime is the focus on siblings Taihei and of course his sister Umaru. At first when Umaru moves in to live with Taihei, it starts off relatively normal, she exhibits your average loving sister at first. But as time goes by, she slowly descends into an Otaku gamer madness, devolving into the hamster cloak wearing, Cola drinking evil girl she is in the show.
And that’s the best part of the entire series, the multiple personalities Umaru has depending on where she is. Essentially, when she’s outside of her home, she is the ‘so perfect it hurts’ girl. She’s extremely intelligent, graceful, polite, athletic and adored by everyone wherever she goes. At home, she is none of those things at all. She transforms from full-size, to the tiny chibi version we see off her in that hamster cloak and becomes the complete opposite. She comes off dumb and useless, lazy and rude. How she’s as athletic as she is and as smart as she is when the rest of her days are spent lazing around reading manga, playing video games and eating/drinking as much junk as her body will allow her is beyond me.
Because of her Otaku form, it causes nothing but trouble and frustration for Taihei, who is clearly designed as the “I love my sister no matter what.” trope of siblings, but often gets pushed to the limit over and over when Umaru is at her worst. She throws temper tantrums when he refuses to buy her things, turns the house into a gigantic mess and makes him do everything for her altogether. We see that there are even times where she’ll use her perfect form in public to get her way as well, turning people against him when the beautiful perfect Umaru looks like she’s in tears because he won’t buy her a hamster because “she longs for her brother to return and gets lonely when he’s not there!” or some other bullshit reason like that she’ll use to her advantage.
And it comes off super weird when you think about how you should really feel about Umaru altogether. After the first episode I was honestly like “Holy shit, what a bitch this girl is.”. By the end of the season, like everyone else, we fell in love with her, no matter how many times she comes off as the worst person we’ve ever seen in a non-violent anime series. She truly is the absolute worst, one of the most selfish characters you’ll ever see in an anime. Yet you can’t not love the girl!
What probably helps in that regard is the animation style. No matter how annoying Umaru gets, the animation turns the tables by making it look as silly and adorable as they possibly can, reversing a lot of the potential character damage Umaru does to herself constantly. It’s a show where few facial expressions aren’t well done, the random nature of the show doesn’t hinder the animation, it can keep up with whatever the situation throws at it and still looks really well drawn.
To add onto the show, the friends Umaru has by the end of the series just add more interesting and funny personalities to the already over-the-top nature of the show that Umaru alone commands. Kirie is extremely shy and anti-social to the point she looks like she might snap and kill someone at any moment, yet when around Otaku Umaru it’s like she’s a completely different person, super nice and admiring. Ebina is the closest to normal you’ll get, she’s a well-mannered adorable Osaka girl (which of course sometimes includes the famous accent) who has a bit of admiration towards Taihei. Sylphinford on the other hand is the girl who keeps up with Umaru’s level of antics and breaks the fourth wall constantly, for example after an emotional tennis speech it’s revealed she has a backdrop behind her and a fan nearby to blow her hair and clothes about to make her look cooler. In the end too, she crashes through that backdrop, so it all comes full circle.
To finish off, the story itself isn’t anything spectacular, it’s more a series of events every episode, there’s no real story that branches out the entire series. It’s more like “Here’s the crazy thing Umaru’s doing today, let’s see what happens next!”. Some are hit and miss, but most of the episodes are fantastic with maybe one or two that are just good at best.
Himouto: Umaru-Chan is an anime I’d suggest to anyone looking for a comedy to watch. There’s a ton of random humour, the animation style only adds to it and Umaru is just one of the most purely funny characters I’ve ever watched in anime, whether intentional or not. It’s a show that you really can’t miss and since it’s only a 12-episode series and there’s no real plot you have to pay attention to, you’ve got no reasons to not check out at least an episode or two.
Week number seven is upon us with the Winter anime season. What’s in store this week?!
We’re past the halfway point for most shows, it’s time for things to really get ramped up. If we don’t have a main conflict/antagonist, we’re about to get one! And come on! Where’s all the swimsuit episodes?!
So with the finals up, Kazunari is set to fight the white-haired girl, Saki. Back with Misaki and Mashiro, Misaki is trying to convince herself she put up a great fight against Kazunari and isn’t secretly jealous as all hell that Asuka who let’s be honest guys, unless they swerve us and say she’s flown forever and had amnesia or something, she shouldn’t be as good as she is yet and somehow is. Saki’s second approaches Aoi and says essentially nothing, a staple in anime. Meanwhile Asuka’s getting ridden with fans while Misaki has zero. But at the very least Masaya is giving her praise. The final match starts, I fully expect Saki to win and establish herself as the end opponent. Saki gets the first point but Kazunari gets two quick back-touch points. They start a heavy dogfight for the next buoy and everyone’s convinced Kazunari has the upper hand, but Asuka claims that Saki is simply forcing him to do everything he’s doing to which Aoi the former FC star agrees. Seeing the camera shot, Kazunari is visibly frustrated and leaves the buoy for Saki to take. Saki is completely controlling his movements now and Aoi in her head tells us the viewers that what Saki is doing is a tactic that kills the spirit of the game, so she ponders if they’re trying to destroy the sport itself. Saki takes the final point and wins 3-2. Everyone is standing there motionless, not even cheering. Except Asuka. Misaki can’t believe what she’s hearing. At the awards ceremony she’s also not there. The two bitch girls approach Aoi thanking her for the move they stole and are abusing to ruin the game and are not pleasant when saying this to her, except they don’t admit they’re trying to ruin FC, yet. Back home, Misaki is clearly distraight but no time for that, SWIMSUIT EPISODE!!! YEAH!!! It’s semi-disappointing, Asuka’s in a plain white bikini, Madoka’s in boring stripes, Mashiro’s in a classic school swimsuit because of course the tiny boobs girl has to wear that, Rika looks pretty as shit, but she’s in a high-cut shirt and shorts and there’s some other girl I don’t recognize in a boring one-piece as well. Booooooooooo! Really feels like we’re missing out with no Misaki or Reina. At the gathering though, it seems like Madoka is taking over the Captain role from her brother. Back at home, Misaki once again shines. Even though she’s in a black tanktop and shorts, she manages to look hotter than all the girls in their swimsuits combined. We assume Mashiro is texting her endlessly as she lies in bed, but clearly Misaki is way too distraught to do anything. Mashiro goes to visit her but again she’s not there, even udon wasn’t enough. She’s alone at a mall trying to escape FC but the news even adds onto her stress by talking about it. Then to make things worse for her, it’s pissing rain. While waiting for the bus, she runs into Kazunari. After awkward silence, Misaki gets real pissed with how happy he is after the tournament. He notes that while he hates that he lost, he loves that he did also because it means he has to try something new now and enjoys the challenge of it. It wakes her up a little bit it seems. Back to training for everyone else but it seems something is wrong with Misaki as she left a letter of withdrawl from the team. A pretty rough episode, one that’s needed to set a plot in motion. And of course I’m disappointed the swimsuit portion was nothing special!
Episode Score – 3.5/5
Side note before we begin, in really pisses me off this show isn’t getting a lot of attention. I absolutely adore this show, but I hear almost no one talk about it, nor do I see any artwork being done for a show that I think has one of the best artstyles this entire season. Anyways, onto the show! Azuma realizes almost immediately that the Buranki in front of him is the one that he and his sister accidentally activated. Together they cast the Megazord Oubu, I mean…Buranki Oubu, sorry it reminds me so much of Power Rangers. They try to punch it, but the arm comes off and Azuma takes the hit. Apparently holding the heart causes the user to take the damage the Buranki suffers. The villains note that without its flesh and blood, just being an exo-skeleton makes Oubu useless still. They lose immediately and Azuma collapses, though is fine. Meanwhile, Reoko is taking her sweet time getting ready. So apparently the villains have something that allows them to get their Bubuki back, so they all have their weapons again. As much as I hate him, I kinda think Shuusaku’s a fucking badass. Zetsubi tells Azuma the reason they lost the Buranki battle is because of him, his heart isn’t fully in this fight still, so he’s making Oubu weaker. The Buranki suddenly causes a gravity portal of sorts to open up and slowly begins to pull the ground out, killing many random soldiers. Zetsubi leaves Azuma with the notation that as the heart, he needs to accept that he will take the pain of the other four limbs along with himself. Reoko finally shows up with Entei and starts fighting the Buranki. The headless one is capable of teleportation as well which catches her off-guard. She’s pissed off more because she knows she’s weaker because Entei is without its limbs than anything else though. She takes several serious hits, bleeding profusely. Zetsubi tells the kids to lend them their Bubuki to aid Reoko. After initally reluctant, they finally realize they have no choice, not strong enough to defeat it themselves. So Entei’s at full strength and the Buranki is literally torn apart by Entei. Reoko stares Azuma down and tells him this is how one protects a country. An unknown girl is seen for a brief moment before we’re back to the kids. All their Bubuki are essentially colourless, which likely means they’re incapacitated for a while. Again, Hiiragi starts a fight, pissing off Kinoa. Through a map reflected by the defeated Buranki, Azuma claims he now knows exactly where Treasure Island is. So together, they set off again, stealing Reoko’s train to do it. An awesome episode specifically because I got to see crazy Reoko fighting again. Yay!
Episode Score – 5/5
One of two shows that took a break last week, the candy store is open for business again! Hopefully they stop this decline they’ve been going through the past couple weeks. Hotaru doing a dance with a candy whip is a decent start. Tou on the other hand using candy to upskirt Saya, uh…god damn it, Japan. Side note, Saya’s got twintails this episode, I definitely like her better with that hairstyle. They play around with the candy whips some more and after another round of The History of Dagashi by Hotaru they play a random game together. Hotaru after watching Saya deduces she’d be a great fit to work in the Dagashi shop with Kokonotsu which of course sends her into a blushing panic. Later on we are with Saya walking alone and thinking about what Hotaru said. We also get a flashback of them when they were younger, seems Kokonotsu was a lot more like Hotaru then, not shutting up about dagashi. Seems she already had a crush with him back then too. Watching them play doctor was very adorable. She tries to get him to examine her, but he just keeps giving her medicine, which is candy. So she’s a little frustrated with him. It’s very cute. Finally snapping back to reality, she’s notably embarrassed. She goes to the shop and unfortunately gets subjected to Hotaru talking about the same candy they used when they played doctor. Both of them avoid that one like the plague. A cute episode to say the least, but I’m definitely starting to get sick of the 5-minute candy lessons. They’re not as funny anymore.
Episode Score – 4/5
We start off with a little origin story for Kyouma, presumably with meeting the woman he’d fall in love with and who likely tragically passed away or was killed. He saves her when stuck between a van and a car and they develop a relationship from there. It’s a rocky start, as he gets into a lot of fights and her older sister does not like him straight up because of that. But their relationship was going well. Then tragedy does strike as Miyabi has a disease where her muscles slowly degenerate. She’s given five years left at most. So Kyouma goes a little crazy and tries to find someone who can rebuild her entirely, not just limbs as coils aren’t all the way through yet. He approaches a woman doctor who ends up being Dr. Yurizaki’s wife who could do it, but ends up being detained by her bodyguards, one who happens to be a high-ranked officer looking to form the group that ends up being Grendel where both he and Albert were a part of in the past. By joining, Miyabi would be high-priority on Dr. Yurizaki’s list of test subjects. Accepting, he either marries or plans to marry Miyabi. We see Grendel on a mission and Kyouma notes today is Miyabi’s surgery. Everything goes well so far for Kyouma but then something goes wrong and Kyouma suddenly wakes up. Whatever happened, only he and Albert survived. It’s then he also learns that Miyabi died during surgery, essentially being decapitated because of a coil malfunction, which in the end is why he hates coils altogether. We return to the present, Mira returning to the garage with Kyouma and they’re off, except in a different car, a much nicer one at that! Moving to a large meeting with Salva he tells this group of unknowns what he thinks he’s found on Easter Island. It’s unclear what exactly it is he’s found, but it’s something that’ll clearly benefit New Tesla in their own greedy ventures. At the initial gathering of all the Collectors for this venture, we see a few new faces. Salva mentions a 50 million dollar bounty in finding what may just be the first Numbers coil. Elizabeth and Loser are among them. Albert flies Kyouma and Mira in, noting he’d love to join them if not for being out of his jurisdiction within New Tesla. We then see that Easter Island is home to an old New Tesla Experimental Lab that houses the worst dimensional accident in history, perhaps related to Kyouma’s past as well? The ground will likely be completely fucked up from the dimensional twisting so Kyouma is forced to take a super long route around everything. The power levels are extremely low in the area as well so a lot of coils will not be working. The island itself looks like the final world of a JRPG, barren and spiky as shit! Before landing, a series of waterspouts surround the aircraft and some dimensional orb flies into the plane, killing people immediately but ignores others for some reason. The plane crashes and that’s the end. Uh…so nothing really happened this episode. Kinda disappointed.
Episode Score – 3/5
So is Satoru heading back to the past again, since I saw that butterfly again? You betcha! He awakens back at the museum with Kayo and is sure as shit happy to see him. I’m gonna note right now, that if there’s anything I’d love to see at the end of all this is for the two of them to be together when they grow up, what a wonderful moment that would be. Satoru is convinced as well this is his last chance, his final Revival. We’re back to the day before Kayo goes missing and is killed. He and Kenya have a conversation in private. He asks Satoru straight up who he actually is, noting how different he’s become is such short time, noting this suspicion the moment Satoru first Revived back and started looking at Kayo. The only answer he can come up with is that he’s a superhero, or wants to be. He then lets it out he knows Kayo is going to die and wants to save her. Instead of passing it off, Kenya offers his help. He establishes that as long as he’s with Kayo at the park on the 1st she’s fine, it’s the birthday party on the 2nd that he’s still concerned about. He also sets out to give Jun an alibi so he’s not framed for the murders either, as surely keeping him innocent will at the very least change the future when it comes to perhaps his mother’s murder and his own arrest. When he asks Jun about Kayo though, he gets super flustered and dodgy, it’s hard to tell what that means as Jun calms down and reverts back to normal. Returning to his friends, things are changing again which worries him cause it makes the following day harder to predict. So he leaves his own party and slashes Jun’s bike tires and his dad’s truck tires, also throwing a death threat into the house. He then attempts to push Kayo’s mother down the stairs, but Kenya appears to stop him. He reveals he’s been following Satoru for the past two days. He tells Kenya he wants help from him with a plan he has to get the police to arrest Kayo’s mother. He walks Kayo home later and asks her “Can I abduct you?” to which she answers “Are you stupid?”. Again, links her and Airi together, does it not? She says yes though to whatever he’s about to do. So he takes her to an old bus the school used and Kenya’s already there. They leave Kayo there, though Satoru plans to visit her in the middle of the night. It’s a weird situation for her to say yes to just like that, but given her situation at home, perhaps she’s that far gone. He tries to plan it out, though his Mom’s not stupid, she knows something’s up. They wake up the next morning to Kenya, having slept right next to each other. Satoru notes the events leading up to her death on the 3rd, the plan probably being to hide her in that bus until after that day. He knows there have been major changes now and whatever happens after that if he succeeds will be completely unknown. It’s around this point that I’m slightly suspicious again of their homeroom teacher, but I really don’t have much of a leg to stand on here. Hiromi is brought into the equation as well, likely because he’s one of the other victims in all this. After claiming responsibility for all this, Kayo finally says if she claims she started all this and brought them into it, no one will take blame for it in the end, something Satoru never considered. Bad things are about to happen though, eerie footsteps lead up to the bus with no knock. A shadowy figure approaches and thus ends the episode. GOD DAMN IT!!! >_<
Episode Score – 5/5
Zolzal’s taken control now and attempts to have the Empire rebel against Japan. Most follow, but some are worried. Tyuule meanwhile continues to grin as her plans are going well, whatever they are. Japan is already aware that things could get ugly fast. Pina demands an explanation for Zolzal imprisoning the senators who were on the peaceful side of the situation and he claims they were bribed, though Pina doesn’t believe a word of it. He also claims he wants her to lead delegations with Japan. The plan is then revealed to attack various smaller villages around Alnus and make it look like bandits. Another brother of Pina’s I didn’t know existed is leaving the Empire to get other countries to help out against Zolzal. Back in Rondel, Lelei is fawning over the books in Japan while her sister is still a bitch. Yep! Out of nowhere we get an interesting answer to question of the sheer number of different races in the world. Every single species in the world calls Alnus their homeland, which just happens to be where the Gate is. Mimosa believes that the races are caused by the Gate opening every once in a few centuries or even millenia and the races from one side of the Gate breeding with those from the other. She also deduces that humans are the newest race to have arrived. Lelei then shows her own knowledge with a laptop. But before anything else, her sister asks about Itami relationship status and Lelei breaks the news to everyone that he’s in a relationship with her due to the Ceremony of Three Nights, which unbeknownst to Itami is simply that the two of them shared a room for three nights, thus making them an item. All of them are nights Tuka and Rory have also been there and they all quarrel over it. So Arpeggio just dumps soup onto Lelei’s head, clearly pissed Lelei’s so far ahead of her. So they battle in response. It’s actually an impressive battle, both are pretty skilled. But when you have a hand in defeating a Fire Dragon, clearly one has the advantage. When it seems like a tie, a man suddenly aims to assassinate Lelei and an Empire officer kills him. Clearly it sounds like Pina sent out men first and Zolzal sent assassins to eliminate her. Meanwhile Zolzal intends to enact a law that will pretty much allow him to convict anyone of anything he wants. When Itami learns more assassins (and stronger ones) are on the way the join with Pina’s soldiers and intends to run. The plot is thickening folks!
Episode Score – 4.5/5
Okay new episode, maybe the Yume Ass Shot Counter won’t be going to dodo just yet. I’m praying, guys! We start with the memories of Mary’s tragedy once more with a little extra. It’s no wonder she’s as scarred as she is now. It’s noted she left her only friend, hanging around him just being painful for her. We see her out of her battle attire and she’s actually quite beautiful, it’s clear the real Mary is absolutely perfect, but the emotional trauma has skewed her. As per usual, I want to punch Ranta. He says the whole story was pointless, claiming they’ve all had the same experience now, why is she given a free pass? Shihoru settles them all down with her sobbing words and Haruhiro notes it doesn’t help that they aren’t treating her the way they’d prefer her to treat them. Ranta fights them saying they don’t try to get to know him too, which Yume quickly shoots that down by saying it’s hard to want to get to know him when he’s essentially a prick the whole time, citing his flat-chested comments to her and such. But Haruhiro does admit that he hasn’t been taking the time to know everyone. The next day they find a goblin with the same dagger Haruhiro dropped that day. In hiding, Yume falls onto him and the Counter is still in business! Once agai, Haruhiro tries to talk with Mary again who notes she thinks they’re about to end as a party. Instead, he tells her about Manato and how much like her he was and how they failed him and especially how none of them took any note about how hard it was for him. They all call her a friend to them but we initially don’t see a response. But progress is made, she’s asked to join them for dinner and she still says no, but this time adds that she’s not ready yet. She doesn’t say it, but it’s clear she’s not ready for the potential of losing friends again. We get another music video, but I’ll give this one a pass cause baths were included and it’s for both genders too, no hiding the guys in this one. Both girls are just gorgeous but Yume is just too perfect. We get another moment with Mary where she just looks absolutely stunning. Wow! She’s hitting hard all of a sudden. After a series of rounds in Damuro they’re becoming a joke to some of the other adventurers, being called the Goblin Slayers, as they’re only hitting that “low level” area. Haruhiro admits that this is where they’re at though and they’re okay with it. Finally we see Mary joining them for meals. They are beginning to progress as well, they’re wearing better armor, learning skills for tactical purposes, all that jazz. Yume in her armor looks fantastic, I’ll miss the old clothes though. Haruhiro himself notes that he can tell when he’s hit a lethal slice and momentarily breaks the fourth wall as well, pretty funny. As we come to a close, Haruhiro is alone with the apparition he creates of Manato. He notes that he has no idea now how long they’ve been in Grimgar, but is happy currently with his friends. A really good episode! Funny, heartfelt and lots of sex appeal, I’m not gonna lie. Take a look at the final count!
♥ OFFICIAL YUME ASS SHOT COUNT! – 6 ♥ And one was a nudie one too! Makes up for last week’s goose egg and then some!
Episode Score – 5/5
So it turns out Megumin’s still been firing on the castle, claiming she now needs something “big and hard” to keep her at bay. And yes, she does this while fidgeting about like she’s turned on. I love Megumin. Turns out Aqua helped her too, so Kazuma’s not happy. Dullahan also has no idea Raratina survived. And then Aqua actually does something and does some serious damage to him. So he summons a ton of undead knights, but Aqua ignores them and hits him again. The the undead army just all chase Aqua. So Kazuma leads the army to the Dullahan and commands Megumin to cast her one spell of the day on the entire group. Dullahan survives though, laughing his ass off. He kills a few random men and they all claim Kyouya will end the Dullahan and that’s when Kazuma realizes he sold that guy’s sword. Raratina defends them all, still hoping he essentially rapes her in front of everyone, cause she’s into that. She takes a ton of hits and enjoys every bit of it. Kazuma tries to steal his sword, but fails, the level difference way too high. In response, Raratina takes an Omnislash from the Dullahan. Realizing what Dullahan’s are usually weak to in video games, he and everyone casts water spells as that’s his weakness. Finally Aqua casts a major water spell to finish him off…except she also kind of floods everything. Dullahan’s still alive though so Kazuma tries Steal again. And this time, steals Dullahan’s helmet, which y’know houses his head. A game of Dullahan soccer takes place and Aqua finally finishes him off. Oh and all those men didn’t die, well more Aqua revived them. For defeating the Dullahan, Kazuma and his party are given a nice reward, 300 million eris. So Kazuma decides he doesn’t want to adventure anymore and live a rich life. Too bad, because since Aqua destroyed so much, the cost is 340 million to repair everything. Poor guy. Man, I loved this episode!
Episode Score – 5/5 *SHOW OF THE WEEK*
All the Logicalists are getting a break! So of course he brings Athena with him home. Turns out everyone’s there and it’s Yoshichika’s birthday, or not. His sister just got everyone together and lied. When thinking his Dad came home with another woman he returns with Veronica and Nemesis instead, both family members having the idea of bringing everyone together. His Dad tries to embarrass him by asking everyone (while probably a little drunk) if they like anyone. Venus breaks the ice by saying everyone which of course he deflects over to Yoshichika anyway. So he asks him the questions then, putting him on the spot. Of course, most if not all the girls blush as he doesn’t answer the question. Getting side tracked, uh…Mana’s little eating scene…uh…that was, uh…a bit much. Athena left momentarily to shop, Yoshichika on her mind when she bumps into Lucifer again. He claims he’s only here to enjoy the world and nothing more, but Athena’s having none of it. He notes Athena must have feelings for Yoshichika if she partnered with a male instead of a female. She intends to go home after things end, but he tells her they all have the option to live on Earth with humans permanently. As everyone begins to take their leave, Mana reveals she intends to stop leaving letters in the locker for her parents. Weirdly enough, the ones to stay behind are Athena, Nemesis (who Veronica leaves behind so she can go drinking more) and…Tamaki? Yoshichika heads off to bed and finds Olga still in his room. Strip time for Tamaki and Athena, though for me Tamaki walks away with this one easily, not a fan of the overly beautified girls like Athena. Bath time for them too! So it’s girl talk time, nothing of real note though, just assurance from Tamaki. On the other hand, boy talk with the two of them is different. Olga tells him to relax for now about Lucifer, jumping to conclusions will do nothing but cause more friction. Back in the tub, Tamaki notes she has another Covenanter before and wishes she could speak with her again, but there’s no way to do it. When Yoshichika goes to apologize of course he walks in on the girls in just a towel. And he grabs her hand which causes the towel to fall. I love the statement from Tamaki when she knocks him down, “Don’t pull anything that cliched here, too!”. Awesome. Though Tamaki admits she’s not mad at him for seeing anything, she’s mad he’s only apologizing to her and not Athena. Finally he approaches her where they can be alone and properly apologizes. We end with seeing a person in a hospital room or something? Name’s Ashe Paxton. He’s approached by Veronica/Nemesis and it turns out he was her boss once. We see some flashback of a giant crocodile thing with long hair? And that’s it. A cute episode. I’m very pissed off bath time did not include Valkyrie though! Hmph!
Episode Score – 4/5
So for some reason…almost everyone is having a tough time staying awake. Now everyone’s eating fish at lunch. Something weird is going on. Even Koito notes she’s a bit more at ease than usual. She finds an abandoned mansion on a whim and everyone learns it’s known as a cat mansion now as it was abandoned and inhabited by a ton of stray cats. Eventually it was made off-limits as the building was in such poor state. Now everyone’s suddenly acting like cats. Gee, that doesn’t sound connected at all does it? Kurumi asks the group a favour in finding one of her friend’s cat. At a pet shop, they suddenly become interested in cat food as well. Ruru gets a cat toy and they’re all interested in that too. Koito at the mansion again sees a Phantom in the window. Now at school the next day, people are developing ears and tails. So Reina with a tail and ears is kind of adorable. The other two not as much, I already don’t care for Mai as it is, but it doesn’t fit Koito at all. Very few haven’t changed, Haruhiko is one. Kurumi is in worse shape, her words are altering as well. Kurumi senses the missing cat is in there as well. They search the house, finding a few older photos of students when the house was still inhabitable, but no sign of the phantom. They briefly go over the Schrodinger’s Cat theories and then start to realize that the rooms are looping. And then shit starts to get weird. Kurumi is nearly full-cat now at this point. They finally come into contact with Phantom and realize that the mansion itself is the Phantom. So they fight the house and get attacked by balls and cat toys. The fall into a limbo-like world and see the Phantom, a cat house, literally. It’s like the cat version of Persona 3’s Tartarus, I love it! They deduce the Phantom isn’t trying to do anything harmful, it’s merely trying to preserve the memories of the house. Kurumi speaks directly to the cat house, only able to speak in cat now. It works and it releases the lost cat and ends up sealing itself it would seem. The group decides to clean the house in hopes to make it usable again. In the end, the house is being used once more as a tea house for students. This was a cute episode, well it’s hard not to be when it’s cat-centric. Nyah!
Episode Score – 4.5/5
Why is Newsgirl naked?! Wait nevermind, I’ll cope. Seems she’s the star of this show’s intro now, which is even funnier to me cause she has nothing to do with the plot at all. Takumi notes Nene is taking a ton of damage all the time from the escapades she and Clarion are having and it drives her insane that Uzal’s clearly done something with her that’s aiding Nene in being able to properly function regardless. Meanwhile, super adorable moment with Nene brushing Clarion’s hair. Those facial expressions, man…this show has them down pat. Sneaking into their room, Takumi learns a little about the changes Nene’s had since the Pandora Device stuff started and of course gets caught by no longer hiding when Uzal claims she stole something of hers and modified it. The two head out and see the young girl and older woman, with them having a new house to move into rather than the camp they once stayed at. They also see Robert along the way who’s helping out with the construction. Seems those robot thieves are back to go after Nene and Clarion. Those poor unfortunate souls. While Clarion can defend herself, Nene cannot without the Pandora Device and gets shut down. Clarion also has her hands full with an overpowered I think human. Clarion gets trapped in a net and pulls a knife to cut it when the robbers take off with Nene. Now you’ve really pissed her off. When Takumi learns of this too, now you have two tiny women (though one’s artificial) who are super pissed off. Arriving at the robbers’ hideout she comes face to face again with the group. Nene finally resets and wake up in the hideout with a ton of other robots, stripped literally and probably some of their parts as well. When subjected to a blinding blast, Clarion takes a hit and is then subjected to having her ears touched. The Twelfth Commandment (since if you’re a wrestling fan, you know the Eleventh is Thou shalt not intentionally provoke the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar) has now been enacted, Thou shalt not touch Clarion’s ears, you fucking imbecile! When she’s about to kill it seems, Nene shows up to calm her down. She asks Clarion to help her bring all the stolen robots home, so Pandora Device is activated and all the robots activate under Nene’s will, as if she’s a puppeteer. They capture all the robbers and leave them to be arrested. Back at Uzal’s lab again, the digging operation to unearth that giant eye thing continues. It’s revealed any of the stolen robots that were sold went to this man and his group. But we still leave knowing almost nothing about them. Sheesh! Decent episode though.
Episode Score – 4/5
The other of two shows to take a break last week, we’re back as well! And the student council is going to the hot springs! Woo-hoo! Everyone except Aika’s there though…damn it! Turns out the owners of the inn are fellow PSO2 friends too, small world in anime. For some reason though, either just Itsuki or everyone’s not to play PSO2 while on the trip. Uh…wasn’t Itsuki’s whole reason for being in the student council was to play the game? Make up your mind on how pertinent you want the game to be in their lives! Why? His grades dropped suddenly because he neglected to study. So the poor bastard’s shut in a room doing schoolwork all day. One girl (can’t recall her name) is being a real bitch about this situation, jealous that Rina pays so much attention to Itsuki. Finally done all his work, he goes to take a bath before sleeping, so you know what’s about to happen. The Last Samurai friend who’s the male co-owner of the inn suggest he use the outdoor bath instead and then walks off. And then we get full Itsuki butt. I may not be interested in guys, but it does make me happy when anime actually evens out the playing field and puts guys in those kinds of shots too. He discovers a handheld console out there with a message from Samurai to play with him. He logs in and starts talking with Kota and claims nothing has happened in the hot springs. Well, until Aika shows up, not a care in the word either. Rina’s up late with Samurai’s wife (can’t remember her persona) and she assumes Rina and Itsuki are an item. She made Itsuki some food and then discovers he’s already done all his work. She assumes he’s playing PSO2 but he’s not logged in. Apparently there are hot springs in PSO2 so Rina contacts Kota to see if he has been on. While Kota assumes Rina’s human character is going to join him in the bath, you know i’ll be SORO. And…ta da! So she discovers where he is so it’s time for more jealousy! So of course she aims to join him in the bath. Never mind, she’s next door. Suddenly Aika leaps into the air, Itsuki gets some butt-viewage and Samurai’s console breaks, claiming a Darker flew out of it. So Aika being an in-game character able to function in real life suddenly seems possible now. A fun little episode, but nothing too special going on.
Episode Score – 4/5
Everyone’s in high spirits as final exams have ended so now it’s full focus on the summer tournaments. Their professor announces that they’ll be partaking in a joint training session with Saisei, because of course you gotta get close with the team you’ll be facing at the end of the season. The school’s Stride campus is insanely huge, having pretty much everything you can think of, including an indoor Stride track. So they have a practice match. In the end, Saisei beats them handily, though it’s nice to see them have a match with a team that doesn’t just want them to lose, Saisei actually enjoys racing Honan. They have their own little rivalries amongst each other too. But they also help each other too, they want to get better and to do so they need better challengers. After dinner and a bath, it’s table tennis time! Except Riku keeps hitting Takeru in the face when he hits the ball. And because they lost they’re subjected to terrible karaoke. After all the training they have a final practice match and the Honan guys are improving but still aren’t good enough to beat them. They have a final celebration by the beach completely with fireworks. It’s nice to see a friendly rivalry once in a while. Then it turns into an episode of Free! and they all take their shirts off to swim, except Nana of course. A fun episode!
Episode Score – 4.5/5
Okay, Schwarzesmarken, no more naked incest hugs, okay?! ‘Kay. The entire team sees what their next mission brings: 200,000 BETA. It ain’t gonna be pretty. Irisdina informs them Gretel is staying in Berlin to help negotiate more soldiers to help them, while Thi-Rang has fully healed and is back in the lineup. They’re throwing everything they have at this mission too. Also goddamn Sylvia’s quickly climbing the sexy ranks the more I see her. HEY! I TOLD YOU NO MORE INCEST HUGS! That doesn’t mean it’s null and void if Lise is wearing clothes! Meeting with Irisdina, Theodor continues to state he thinks Lise isn’t Stasi but admits the main reason he’s letting her get so close (to the point of implied incest) is that even if she is Stasi he’s around her 24/7 and can somewhat control her. Mission time and it turns out they’re under even worse circumstances than normal too, tougher Laser-class BETA in this fight. Irisdina orders them to deal with these Heavy Lasers which makes me wonder if we’re getting our first major death since Episode 1. Meanwhile the Stasi continue to plan, taking this moment to attack parliament while they’re at their weakest. The metal music starts and the 666 get to work. Theodor takes a hit but isn’t wounded. It seems these BETA also have an acid kind of blood. It’s then Gretel sees the Stasi’s arrival at their HQ as they begin to attack. Back at the main battle Theodor and Anett are left to melee attack while the others act as decoys. Anett takes a hit, presumably with the acid as well. Theodor goes to kill the last one and is about to get blasted when Irisdina also takes presumably an acid hit. Gretel meanwhile has fled the HQ. The mission has been deemed a failure. Anett is fine but Irisdina is injured, though it doesn’t seem too serious. Lise tries to convince Theodor to flee the country with her, citing their childhood, but Theodor refuses, desiring to fight with Irisdina until the very end, as he admires her and owes her for saving his life. More incest talk, I really hope she meant he slept BESIDE her. Desperate now the base is planning to fire a new type of missile though they wish they could save these for a later time. Irisdina limps into the mission briefing and refuses Theodor’s desire to lead while she’s injured. Everyone echoes Theodor’s wishes, all not wanting her to sacrifice herself over nothing, though in the end she hides a smile as she’s likely proud Theodor’s stepping up to the plate. I’m worried as this goes on that Anett will die in this battle, as she makes an apology to Theodor at this time. Sometimes it’s a foreshadowing when a person tries to make amends for things he/she says/does in the earlygoing. Something’s attacking the Stasi it seems while the 666 carry out their mission to destroy the rest of the BETA and succeed without issue. Glad to see no one’s dead yet. Episode ends there though, no cliffhanger. Weird. Good episode regardless. NO MORE INCEST THOUGH!!! SHEESH!!!
Have you ever thought “Y’know what? These foot-high figurines are cool, but man! It would be awesome to have an anime girl figurine that’s about my size!”? Then Japan’s got you covered.
While surfing on Kotaku this morning, I came across this figure that Aniplex is currently selling. It’s a life-sized statue of Megumi Kato from last year’s show Saekano: How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend. There will only be 10 of them produced and the price for them? A whopping 1.98 million yen (or about $16,866 US), but don’t worry, it includes taxes and delivery!
Now for me personally, while I’m pleasantly surprised that of all characters chosen for this, it’s a character from Saekano, one of my favourite shows from last year, it’s still a weird character choice, at least in terms of popularity. With Aniplex being the ones behind this, I could see far others shows selected over Saekano, such as Anohana, Charlotte, Fate/Stay Night, Gurren Lagann, Sword Art Online and fucking Naruto (as much as I despise that show, honestly) of all shows.
But not only did they choose Saekano, but they specifically chose Megumi Kato, who honestly is a very plain character compared to the others, Eriri, Utaha and Michiru. But then again, it makes sense in the grand scheme of things. If you’re going to have a life-sized statue of any anime girl (assuming the ones buying these statues are super-hardcore otakus), it makes sense you’d buy one of a girl that’s as close to a real-life girl you can get. So that’s a thing going on in Japan right now.
If they’re modeled well, those figures’ breasts and butts are gonna be getting grabbed a lot, I bet…