The Silver Guardian Review

88fd36c55db93407ff0f96b4f0060eab1490989618_largeStory:
Some guy with no parents and a job at a… graveyard?? Ends up falling for the most popular girl on campus. She gets caught by baddies after her father is murdered and the hero has to enter a game based entirely on how much money you have and get her back “somehow.” Don’t read into it. This break down is more focused than the show itself. By a lot.

Violence:
Characters die and disappear in the game world, but not much blood is shown. Even when characters are murdered, we don’t see much, thankfully.

Language:
Another sector that’s pretty clear. There’s an occasional d-mn and sh-t, but they’re rare.

Nudity:
This is where the YA rating comes in. We get a VERY busty character and some really uncalled for shots and jokes at one point. It’s lame and stupid and everything I hate about fanservice.

Theology/mythology:
The idea of spirits and whatnot kinda exist in the game worlds, but are never explained. Nothing in this show is really explained. Or followed up on. Or even vaguely remembered episode to episode.

Personal impression:
I have YET to find a Haoliners Animation League work I liked. Really liked. At best, I tolerate them. At worst… well… this happens. A show that is so confused, so completely unable to so much finish a scene on track, let alone complete the plot they set up for themselves in the first few episodes, that I wonder how in the world this thing got funded. Which is sad as a show where the lead ISN’T trapped in a game, but willingly goes into it to save someone else is more interesting than the ever broadening category of shows featuring “trapped in a game” as the biggest “motivator.” Especially as those titles aren’t well done anyway.
Sadly, this one wasn’t done well either, so at this point, it hardly matters. It was fine to have playing while I did chores, often to distract myself from the creepy noises in my new house I have yet to get used to. But, honestly, even the most mundane shows I’ve reviewed have done better than this. I’ve rarely seen a more chaotic show. It seemed like the end result of the failed show made by the staff in Shirobako. I’ve read fanfiction with less continuity errors and more focus. I’m shocked this got funded at all, let alone completed it’s 12 episode run without being outright cancelled.
Now, I’m sure someone would like this show. Maybe. But honestly, I’d skip it. It’s fine for mindless background noise, but, again, why not have at least a show that’s trying for that? As per usual, Crunchyroll’s choice on shows to advertise makes no sense at all (I had watched this title due to it being advertised heavily at one point and I was curious. Yeah, not sure what CR was smoking….).

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, action, drama
Studio: Haoliners Animation League
Company: EMON
Official streaming: Crunchyroll 

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Mob Psycho 100 Review

mob-psycho-100-visual-3-24-231x300Story:
Mob is a kid who excels at nothing other children his age strive for. He isn’t athletic, or academic or even artistic. But he does have psychic powers. Sadly, it isn’t very useful to his goals of becoming popular or catching the attentions of his crush… In fact, it tends to catch the attentions of the wrong people…

Violence:
The violence in this title is pretty high. The artistic art style makes it a hint less realistic visually, but the intensity of the art itself also makes it feel a bit.. heavy… at times. Characters seem to be murdered at one point, which is particularly dark. Blood, missing limbs and such occur in this one so if you don’t like violence, I’d avoid this title.

Language:
The b-word is used a bit more frequently in this title than others I’ve seen lately. This is likely due to having more “delinquents” show up here and there. It’s nothing too concerning (I’ve seen worse), but if you’re sensitive, be a bit careful with this one.

Nudity:
We’re pretty safe on this end. Fan service really isn’t a thing in this show, which is nice.

Theology/mythology:
This isn’t a part you can get around. Our lead can see spirits and there are some plots of people getting possessed. In fact, our lead is often hired to exercise spirits. So if these kinds of things bug you, avoid this title.

Personal impression:
I wanted to kick off the new year with a review for a show that got a LOT of good marks from other reviewers. Alas, while this show is unique in style, and the story is ok, overall this series ended up just… bland to me. At first I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized: the side characters in this show make far more progress by the end of this series than the lead. FAR more. We just don’t get much of anything from our lead in the end besides maybe being a biiiit more aware of how his actions affect his brother. That’s it. And considering that the show opens up with Mob being easily duped by a con artist and wanting to be more than his psychic powers, well, I was hoping we’d end somewhere… else. But we kinda end up in the same spot we start off in. Mob is still being taken advantage of by his boss and still has no skill set outside of psychic abilities. He IS making steps to better himself, but it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.
Considering how the series ends, I have no doubt the company hopes to put out a season two in the future, which might solve this little issue. But considering shows like My Hero Academia have ACTUAL development of their lead in shorter amounts of time… I just don’t think that’s a good excuse for this show taking twelve whole episodes to set up Mob’s life story. Because that’s what it felt like. It felt like a very long introduction.
The comedy might have contributed to that odd feeling as well. It’s one of those comedic moods that’s extremely exaggerated, which normally I like when pared with a straight man lead. But the frequency of these jokes is so high that it actually makes it hard to take anything seriously. Because very dark scenes will very suddenly switch to a pun and then, just as suddenly, switch back. It’s a whiplash ride, one I don’t personally enjoy.
Of course, if you like more classic action manga (or some of the more bizarre anime titles floating about), this might just be an answer to your prayers. The amount of both classic and off-the-wall flare this show has truly is impressive.
And it’s not like this show is all around horrid or anything. It’s… fine. Even good in spots as a few relationships the characters have with each other are interesting to watch.
But overall, this title just wasn’t my thing. Still, it’s definitely a unique flavor. And if you need a break from run-of-the-mill action shows, this might be a good retreat. Just don’t take anything too seriously.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fighting, supernatural, comedy
Studio: Bones/TV Tokyo
Company: Warner Japan
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.