Saga of Tanya the Evil Review

youjo-senki-saga-of-tanya-the-evilStory:
Tanya didn’t used to be a girl. She used to be a salaryman in modern day Japan in line for a promotion. Until he (she?) died and challenged God. Now she’s fighting for her life in a reborn body, in another world torn by war.

Violence:
High. This is another show with a lot of bullet wounds, knife gashes and blood everywhere. A near tip over into an M rating, but just barely avoiding it. If you are even a little squeamish about violence, this isn’t for you.

Language:
Quite a few b-words, sh-ts and such. Like the violence, this show isn’t shy about fully using its TV14 rating.

Nudity:
We’re pretty much spared this one entirely. Considering the set up, I was expecting some pervy stuff. Thankfully our lead is committed entirely to moving up the ranks and no time is given to fanservice in any normal sense of the word. There are one or two innuendo cracks by the other solders, but not much.

Theology/mythology:
Reincarnation, God and morals are constant topics in this show. The lead is an atheist to the extreme and even calls God “Being X” for much of the series. However, the conclusion of this show doesn’t really give a clear “this is truth, this is not” message, leaving such things up to the audience. While you could say that the show implies God is cruel and malicious, there’s plenty of evidence for humans being far worse. This is one of those shows that, while containing religious topics at its core, isn’t pushing any agendas towards its audience.

Personal impression:
This is suuuuch a strange show. When it was first announced as part of the winter/spring line up for this year, I was worried as it was being handled by a new studio. But if this show is any indication, we might have a decent production company here. The art and music are consistent, even good, and the story… ok, the story is odd. Very. As is the lead, who is neither a hero nor a villain, but some grey area in between. “Being X” is even more strange, especially as we only “see” that character through Tanya’s very bias eyes. So if the typical school girls fight monsters story lines are boring you, rejoice. Also, the action is pretty high and well choreographed, which keeps the episodes from getting too bogged down by all the war and strategy talk scenes with political leaders.
The biggest issue for this show is in not having a clearcut message by the end or even much of a conclusion. Tanya continues on as she was at the start, which makes everything that happens throughout the show seem…. pointless? My end thoughts were: interesting ride, but the destination looks pretty close to where we started.
Overall, this is a very unique title. We don’t get these much in anime these days. I’ll give this new studio props for that. But they need a clear destination for the story. All that action only works if we get somewhere by the end. Unless, of course, you just like watching fight scenes for the sake of the fighting alone, in which case you’ll probably enjoy this just fine.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action
Production: NUT
Company: Kadokawa Pictures
Official streaming: crunchyroll

 

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Review

dragonmaidStory: 
Kobayashi has a grueling day job mashing out code for a big company. One day a dragon appears insisting to be her personal maid.

Violence:
Most of the show is pretty slice of life so often we only have slapstick stuff going on. But there are a few combat scenes (often with a comedy punchline) where some characters get beat up. It’s not excessive though.

Language:
Nothing too bad in this sector. A few d-mns. Pretty clear overall.

Nudity:
This is where the YA rating comes in from me. In addition to the usual gratuitous boob shots and jokes (which couldn’t be more painfully lame if they tried), we also have uncomfortable moments such as our maid lead being stripped by a drunk Kobayashi and a dragon girl with unholy chest girth pressing into a kid who keep screaming “stop.” These scenes are cringe fests at best. At worst they made me a bit sick. Especially that last one as it’s treated like a running gag. Definitely the least appealing and most problematic aspect of this show.

Theology/mythology:
There are dragons (and other creatures) from another world. They can shapeshift. Some can do magic. This aspect of the show is near impossible to ignore, so move on if it’s not for you.

Personal impression:
I was really hoping this show would let the less appealing aspects of itself go after watching episode one. And I’m glad it did on occasion. When this show was focused on its characters slowly becoming a family and understanding and respecting one another despite their differences, it was actually pretty good. Unfortunately, the creators just couldn’t let the constant boob gags go and for that reason alone, I feel this show just couldn’t move towards my recommendation list.
Not that this show was horrible or anything. It wasn’t. It was fine. But it could have been better. It might have even been great. But the constant fanservice, some of it extremely uncomfortable for me personally, kept that from happening. At least for me.
If you’ve been yearning for some anime that can give you happy family-comes-together-feels without worrying about unnecessary drama, this is a good show. Really. The art and music are clean and consistent too. But if you’re at your wits end with Japan’s obsession with boob jokes, this series will make your eyes twitch now and then, often maiming what comedy this series attempts.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Comedy, slice of life
Production: Kyoto Animation
Company: ABC Asahi
Official streaming: crunchyroll

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. Review

accaStory:
Jean works for ACCA, a system made up of thirteen different districts united under one organization for peace and prosperity. Jean’s job is to monitor these districts and ensure everything is running as it should. But soon rumors of a coup d’etat begin to swirl around the nation…

Violence:
Pretty low. That said, at least one or two people get shot at or stabbed in this show, but it’s not focused on at all and the scenes go by quickly.

Language:
Another tame sector. Aside from a few cases of the b-word, we’re pretty clear. Enough to push it just beyond the 10+ age rating for me though…

Nudity:
We get a solid pass on this one. In fact, there’s no nudity at all. It’s pretty awesome.

Theology/mythology:
Don’t have to worry over this one. There’s pretty much no religion or religious items to speak of in this show.

Personal impression:
This is one heck of a slow burn. In fact, it’s the slowest burn I’ve ever seen. That said, unlike other shows with a laid back attitude, I feel like this show actually… did it correctly. The tone fit in perfectly with Jean’s personal style and kept the show amazingly realistic. Even the climax of the show fit the overall tone.
Now, does that mean this was an amazing show? Well, that depends. If you like political drama, this show is pretty much perfect. It handles the idea of peaceful coup d’etats wonderfully, making each sector unique and both their desires for and fear of change realistic.
All that said, the show takes a long time not only letting the audience in on what’s really going on, but also letting the main character in on it. It doesn’t help that our lead is so emotionally distant either. It might have helped if we saw a bit more to humanize our lead early on, making us legit care about why this guy is getting caught up in things. Might have made me worry about it more, upping the tension. As it was, I never felt worried about the characters. Everything felt too… chill for that. Even when assassinates get involved, everything is played out in such a laid back manner that it’s hard to feel true concern. Which ends up being this show’s largest weakness: it’s just too emotionally distant.
Again, if you like political drama, especially the kind that steers clear of violence, this might be for you. It also has some pretty snazzy art and nice music. Just be warned that this show is the anime equivalent of watching embers burn. In fact, I think that was the name for one of the episodes…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Language: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama
Production: Madhouse
Company: Bandai Visual
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Interviews With Monster Girls Review

interviewsStory: 
Takahashu Tetsuo is a new high school teacher who is doing research on demi-humans, people that are half monster, half human. Luckily for him, four of them go to the same school he works at and are chicks. What could be weird about this?

Violence:
Super low, but there is mention of violence as well as artwork images when characters are discussing old legends. Nothing super graphic or frequent, however.

Language:
Another low one. Aside from d-mns, this is pretty tame language-wise.

Nudity:
This is where the bulk of the YA rating from me comes from. One of the four (only four??) demis is a succubus. Yeeeah. Expect big boobs on this one, the “jokes” that comes with em and uncomfortable comments from the males concerning this character. Oh and bath scenes are common, though we see no details.

Theology/mythology:
Clearly this show contains supernatural elements. Vampires, succubus, snow women and dullahans. Aren’t chill with that? Skip this show. Even though it’s a slice of life in tone, the supernatural topics are addressed every episode.

Personal impression:
This show is a confusing one for me. Not because of the plot or having complex characters, but simply because of the show’s general tone towards certain characters. Primarily towards the only succubus character in the show. She’s a teacher (so at least we don’t have the added issue of a teenager with stranger danger scenes), but there are more than one or two scenes in which her nature (which she has almost zero control over) villainizes her. In one particular episode it is suggested (heavily) that because of her power of awakening sexual desire, cases of assault and such are her fault/men can’t control themselves around her. One could probably write an entire academic paper on all the issues with that, but to highlight only one: her “power,” according to the show, is a release of extra pheromones, not brainwashing/control. Therefore, yes, the males CAN control themselves, a fact evidenced by the main male lead teacher who -shocking!- controls himself rather well. However, other characters continue to insist that control isn’t possible, placing all blame on succubus for incidences. It’s a nasty element to this show that tainted it near the end rather badly for me. And that’s a shame because overall this show was pretty nice. Not amazing, but decent. The music and art weren’t anything to chat up, but the overall progression of the story and characters was quite pleasant. There’s even an arc right near the end that addresses the demis and their regular classmates trying to understand one another better. Considering how the demis’ unique needs and restrictions due to their natures can easily be seen as symbolism for various minority groups, the arc was handled rather brilliantly as it concluded that treating those who are different as if they aren’t can actually be more damaging than acknowledging differences and embracing them. It’s a heavy topic for a slice of life and I gotta admit to being impressed with the outcome. The only downside of it was that it didn’t happen sooner. Scenes of the demis and normal students interacting was surprising sweet and I would have REALLY enjoyed more of that. I actually think focusing more on the students and their personal relationships with their classmates would have been a FAR better show than their teacher trying to “get” them. Especially as it’d sound a lot less condescending…
In short, this show was definitely one of the better shows of this last season. Not the best, but decent. Something this season was low on. Soooo, props?

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, fantasy
Production: A-1 Pictures
Company: Kodansha Ltd
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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