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]


Episode 2

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


Knight’s & Magic Review

Ernesti used to be a robot otaku shut in. Until he suddenly dies and ends up reborn in a world where magic and robots are common place. Eager to build and pilot his own, he joins the academy and quickly begins making waves with his wild new mech designs.

The only thing that kept this show for a gentler rating was this section. It’s not too bad, but some characters get injured and we do see them bleeding. The screen doesn’t fixate on it, but I wouldn’t recommend this for super young ages.

We’re pretty clear here. We get a few d-mns and sh-ts, but not too often.

I was surprised to see the only issue here was one big chested character who’s top is a bit small. Some shots show quite a lot of cleavage. But interestingly, the camera rarely takes advantage of this. In fact, fanservice is by and large not a thing for this show. Which I am 100% on board for.

Even though a character is reborn, we never get a discussion on this or God(s) or anything about the afterlife. The lead (and a few others) exaggerate about mechs being “life itself” and such, but it’s nothing serious. Reincarnation is just used in this story as an excuse for dropping an otaku into a fantasy world. That’s about it.

Personal impression:
The fights scenes in this show really are great. As someone who was raised watching giant robots clobbering each other (Robot Wars, anyone?), I can really appreciate how much love went into these shots. Not only are some of the maneuvers unusual and well done, but the different mech designs make for some interesting fights (unlike so many mech shows where it doesn’t seem to change much half the time *cough*Gundam*cough*).
Buuuut I can also safely say this show doesn’t have anything else going for it. The characters are pretty standard (well, aside from the lead who really does like mechs and nothing else. Odd as usually these characters are still pervs but this one 100% doesn’t care unless it’s a robot) and the conflicts in the story are pretty lame and too easily overcome to give any weight to the story. Or provide a lick of character growth. In fact, the only character that changes at all is a side character. And he changes so early on that… I’m not sure how much that counts…
Overall, this show isn’t the worst mech title I’ve seen. In fact, it’s one of the better ones as of late. But that tells you far more about the state of this genre of anime than it does about the show itself…

(ps – who do I blame for the title being a mess? Crunchyroll or Japan? Just saying….)

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Mech, action, fantasy
Company: Showgate
Studio: 8-bit
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Convenience Store Boy Friends Review

Two friends fall in love with two female classmates. Their stories will span an entire year.

Pretty much nonexistent here. Not even nose bleeds. There is a character death off screen, but nothing scary is shown.

Another tame sector. Outside of sh-t and the occasional d-mn, nothing to report here.

Yet again, tame stuff. Nothing worse than bare man chests for swimming are seen. No fanservice at all, really. And I won’t lie, it was nice.

Outside of one character making good luck charms for her classmates, nothing to put here.

Personal impression:
By all rights I could have marked this as an all ages show, but I’m erring on the side of caution due to the serious content, which isn’t kid centered stuff. And, yes, that does mean that this title drags a bit in places. The combination of serious tonality with a lack of any firm plot means we get a decent amount of aimlessness, at least at first we do. However, I found this show to be surprisingly grounded for a drama. The relationships actually make sense a decent amount of the time. So aside from a “plot twist” at the end, everything that happens is completely within the realm of possibility. In turn this made the emotional pull a bit stronger for me. I prefer logic to the over-the-top grandeur some shows are so addicted to these days.
All that said, overall this is still a pretty bland show. It has some decent ideas, but applied them in such a laidback manner that little gets done overall and some plot points just straight up get forgotten in the mix.
The animation reflects the tone well, decent enough at times but lacking in consistent quality, especially at the end where production takes a rather sharp drop (still backgrounds in place of moving animation, for example). The music is also all over the map, going from rather nice soft piano and violin to strange arcade-like music you’d find in Harvest Moon (I’d swear that was the “going into town in spring” theme).
Overall, this isn’t a bad show. But it was definitely rushed and likely a fuller title meant to waste time between higher grade shows rather than actually contribute anything new to the genre.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: PG
Genre: Romance, drama
Production: Studio Pierrot
Company: Dentsu Tech/BS TBS
Official streaming: crunchyroll