Sengoku Night Blood Review

sengoku-night-bloodStory:
A young girl with no personality or life goals gets sucked into another world full of cute warlords who have the depth of puddles because anime.

Violence:
Characters get stabbed and cut quite a bit, and we do see blood, but considering a decent of the cast are vampires, it’s not all that often really.

Language:
Pretty tame. We have a few hot headed characters, but sh-t and d-mn are the most common words we ever hear and not too often.

Nudity:
Another one we din’t have to suffer much. A few bare men chests, but it was rare. Surprising for the genre…

Theology/mythology:
If you don’t like the themes of youkai or creatures like vampires, I’d skip this. Although, to be honest, the darker themes of these creature are never explored so it’s pretty shallow stuff overall.

Personal impression:
Another show to play while I worked. I tend to want to give good shows my full attention and since free time is something I’m rather short on, I go through the bad shows faster as better shows slow down to be savored.
So… here we are. No, the lead doesn’t reach any goals. I doubt she even has any. She mentions she wants to go back to her world more than once, but no reasons WHY are ever given. She doesn’t learn any lessons either. In fact, the male lead gets more character development than she does, although, like most things in this show, it’s pretty surface level stuff. Nothing about deeper self examination. Just general stuff, like looking before you leap, not letting anger rule you and how to prioritize tasks. Ya know, things a guy in a leadership position should have known years before even meeting the heroine.
If you want a shoujo show, I don’t recommend this. Try My Love Story or, heck, Ouran High School Host Club even. While those anime have their downsides, they both have a LOT of character development and just general overall effort put into them.
This one, not so much.
To be fair though, pretty sure this whole idea came from a… card game? Not gonna lie, that’s not the cream of the crop option when it comes to foundations for an entire TV series…. Then again, Pokemon managed it just fine… Hm. Ok, yeah, I do blame this studio.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, otome, shoujo
Studio: Typhoon Graphics
Company: Marvelous AQL Inc
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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Sakura Quest Review

sakura questStory:
Yoshino has failed countless job applications for the entertainment industry. So when she gets a call to be a town’s queen for promoting tourism, she jumps at the opportunity. But the town she ends up in is far from what she expected… It’s small, country and slower than the fast life she envisioned for herself.

Violence:
Besides characters getting scratches from falls and the occasional rare nose bleed, nothing to put here.

Language:
Very low. There’s one character that can have a foul mouth, but even then actual cursing isn’t common.

Nudity:
Occasionally we hear an old man say something creepy, but nothing much beyond that. Even outfits remain pretty conservative. Not much to worry about here, thankfully.

Theology/mythology:
We don’t see anything mythical, but this show does have a decent amount of folklore and shrines in it. As this show focuses on cultural traditions being passed on and respected, this isn’t unusual. So if Japanese folklore makes you squirm, this isn’t a show for you.

Personal impression:
This show was surprisingly good, especially how it ends. It’s for sure a bit of a slow burner, but the entire adult cast and good message about pursuing one’s ambitions and finding joy in your work make up for that. Mostly.
Again, this show takes quite a long time to pick up speed. Around 12 episodes of mediocre, actually. It’s only in the second half that things pick up and we see significant character growth and the stronger messages of the show shine through. When it does kick in, it’s a pretty good run. But due to how long it takes to gear up… I wouldn’t be quick to recommend this one.
The animation and story are nothing unique either. The music is also… pretty forgettable, honestly. I can’t recall it at all right now.
But I gotta say the messages of ending up in jobs you might not like, but have to do to pay rent and yet finding joy where you can- of not being in your industry, but continuing to work towards it despite constant failure- of moving onward with your ambitions, even when it’s hard to leave those you love behind – these are all great messages, especially for adults. We’re often told as kids that we need to find our industry and get into it right away. But that’s just not often possible. It can take years to get where you really want to be. The reality of being an adult is that you often have to keep moving onward and upward, sometimes zig-zagging quite a lot, to eventually get to where you want to be. And this show’s second half was a great presentation of this reality.
But still… it’s slow… So it’s probably nothing to jump into if you like fast paced content.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 25
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of Life, drama, comedy
Studio: P.A. Works
Company: Toho
Official streaming: crunchyroll

The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star Review

[this is the continuation of my earlier review for the first episode of the promo 3 part special: Those Awaiting a Star. See the first episode review HERE. Review of series coming soon]

magus-bride

Episode 2

Warnings:
Remember how episode one didn’t really have any violence in it? Throw that right out of the window. A character gets, well, bitten pretty badly in this one (and dies. Be warned) and the way it’s done, while not showing much actual blood, is rather graphic. Think FMA: Brotherhood levels. Lots of fear and anxiety in the lead throughout keep the feeling very dark and tense as well, so I really don’t recommend this for anyone under the age of 10. And even some ten year olds will get scared… The tension is done very well.

Thoughts:
If you were looking for a cup of depressing, this episode provides. We get to see why books are important to our lead, specifically one special one. We also see some more positive, or at least less dangerous, encounters with youkai. And also some very dangerous ones.
This said, the violence near the end gave me a bit of whiplash I don’t feel often these days in anime. I was unsure about the sudden change until I saw the final part in this side story/prequel thing…

 

Episode 3

Warnings:
Same as the last one, though the violence is coming to a close. Episode 2 was more graphic overall… As an aside, language and nudity don’t come into play in this mini-series so have no fears there.

Thoughts:
This is why this show is such a big deal. Why the hype got so huge online. This mini-series closes out beautifully. We don’t see an obvious “happy ending” for the hero, but we do get gentle glimpses of things getting better. Of actual healing from mental trauma in the lead. Small acts of kindness given to her are handled in a soft, almost delicate, manner, making you feel and experience deeply just how unusual kindness is to our heroine. It’s a well thought out and executed story and one I’m looking forward to seeing in greater depth in the current streaming series.

Overall
If you’re curious about the hype around this show, this 3 parter does its job very well. You get a taste for the lead characters as well as the tone of the story itself and the world it takes place in. Nothing is overwhelming and, in fact, the story slows very intentionally. I could see a story like this easily running in a short story literary journal as a stand alone, making it a great bite sized series for people curious to try this one out.