A Centaur’s Life Review

centaurStory:
Kimihara Himeno is a gorgeous centaur with a few rather odd friends. Together they struggle through the awkwardness of adolescence in a world focused on “equality” to a sometimes dangerous level…

Violence:
This is a pretty shocking section, honestly. Where as most comedies only have slapstick in this sector, this show actually has true violence. And of a slightly disturbing level. The bulk of this is seen in only one episode which depicts the backstory of a politician who barely survived a war camp as a child. The violence between soldiers and fellow prisoners is intense (one prisoner is hanged to death) and makes this show a solid TV14.

Language:
A few d-mns make up the bulk of it, but a few b-words fly in the intense war episode…

Nudity:
Another section that lands this show in the TV14 section, fanservice is common here, often at the expense of the lead, who has a large chest (of course). Two especially bad sections to note are an episode where the conversation of vaginas is brought up (actually isn’t that weird for the age group, interestingly enough) between the female leads and they decide the best course of action to calm Hime’s confidence issue is to look at one anothers’ (yep, only in anime is this a thing). We don’t see anything but the situation is rather… uncomfortable. Another episode showcases merpeople, who go shirtless regardless of gender. The details of the women are blurred out with strips of “light,” but the camera fixates on them anyway, which is annoying at the very least and insulting to whatever positive message they had intended in that episode at the worst.
Oh. Almost forgot the grope-happy slime monster that disintegrates clothing in the last episode. Yeeeah. It’s a hentai reference that baaarely missed giving this show a WZ.

Theology/mythology:
Centaurs, fauns, “angels” and “demons” are real. They are never attached to their religious counterparts, however. They are seen as simply different creatures and that’s about it. In one episode, ghost stories are told, but it’s tame overall and god and religion aren’t ever discussed seriously.

Personal impression:
I straight up have no idea what this show was trying to do. If it wanted to be a comedy, why the intense war episode? If it wanted to be a serious show, why never fully address or end those serious plot points or ever bring them up again? And what about their messages on equality and sexism? Why state that a chest is a chest and not sexual except due to society’s messed up norms and then proceed to keep the camera angle fixated on naked female chests the rest of the episode?
The only answers I have for the above questions is that this show wanted to break some boxes but couldn’t figure out the best way to do that so they decided to take it as it went (and clearly had an almost entire male staff). And, according to many, the manga does a better job of this. But I really don’t care. I review anime, not manga and on the topic of this show alone, this thing struggles. If it wasn’t so fanservice heavy, I could take the feminism and equality points more seriously. If the serious elements were properly addressed and finished, rather than shoved away and forgotten, I’d take those better too. As it was, it just felt chaotic and unorganized.
This is a show that took on more than it could handle and never really acknowledged that until it was too late. While I will give points for trying to create a more complex and complete world, the lens they use to tell this story (slice of life) didn’t really blend with that (for the record, there are ways to do this right but this wasn’t one of those ways).
As for animation and music, both were fine. The animation was better than the music by far, but neither were horrid or had significant drops in quality.
Overall, this is one of those shows that I can’t easily either recommend nor discourage. It’s not terrible. It even has some really good points here and there. But it’s not as great as I felt it was aspiring to be. And had the potential to be, honestly (we have a positive and healthy queer couple in this one! woot!).
And that last episode was an insult to my intelligence. It really was.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, comedy, drama
Company: FUNimation
Studio: Haoliners Animation League, Encourage Films
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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Hiiro No Kakera Review

Hiiro-no-Kakera-hiiro-no-kakera-32777150-500-494Story:
Tamaki comes to a small village to live with her grandma for awhile, only to find she’s really a reincarnation/descendant of some ancient princess/shrine maiden whose fate is to guard/seal away a demonic sword which was actually from the gods but they don’t like it either and if it activates they get bent out of shape because anime. There are also magical items to collect and a homunculus with big boobs because this totally wasn’t a game first or anything.

Violence:
I admit to being a bit surprised this show had the backbone to show blood at all, but it does remain minimal. Cuts and drops coming from the mouth, but no loss of limbs or the more extreme stuff found in other YA action shows.

Language:
Another tame sector. Sh-t and d-mns are the worst it ever gets and it’s not too common.

Nudity:
Aside from some ol’ fashioned shoujo candy (bare chested guys) here and there, nothing to report.

Theology/mythology:
Demons, reincarnated animal god things (usually these would be yokai, but I felt that wasn’t always the case this time. Think this one is a mixed bag) and super powers galore in this title. There’s even a hint of lore about the world’s creation, though that doesn’t seem to play a big role in the plot. But the demons and powers being passed down the generations bit? That’s unavoidable. Oh and there’s the homunculus thing, a reincarnated body, pushed into the story near the end, just in case physics and science in this world weren’t convoluted enough for you.

Personal impression:
If you’ve been craving a shine maiden must seal evil power away and is guarded by a group of mostly arrogant and stereotypical pretty boys anime, here ya go. That’s all this show is, really. I mean, points for them trying a bit harder than some, what with some pretty heavy lore being dragged around here and there, but overall? Nothing to be noted here outside the usual RPG game stuff. Even the music sounds a bit too game-like at times. The boss battle music is particularly cringe worthy.
The art is a bit hit and miss as some frames will have very sloppy hands and arms that were clearly done by a small, cheap, side studio last minute and the script is pretty much the same deal. A few moments showcase solid dialog, but it gets ruined quickly by massive plot holes, characters with either no motivation or ambitions so shallow that the tiniest amount of light will dry it up in seconds, and outright murders being pushed under a rug because “there was no other way.” Like, seriously? There were multiple murders and we’re just supposed to shrug and move on? The criminals are still around and free too. Aren’t we going to, like, arrest them or something?
Overall this show is mediocre at best, but the romance is sorta concluded so it has that over a lot of other anime. Oh wait, did I mention that the main conflict in the entire show disappears at the end because of a “wish?” Like, really, the entire point of the show is blown out of the water at the end. So why did I watch this again? What was the point? Stand up to your grandma? Pretty sure that’s all the lead ends up learning.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 26 (seasons 1 & 2)
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, drama, fantasy, supernatural
Production: Studio Deen
Company: YTV
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Hanasakeru Seishonen Review

hanasakeru_seishounen_ostStory:
Kajika has lived a rather unusual life, growing up the daughter of a rich business man with ties to the oil industry, she lived for most of her life on an isolated island with only a family friend and tiger as company. When she leaves that safety for Japan, she never expected her introduction to “normal life” to be so short as her father soon involves her in a “game” to find her future husband…

Violence:
There’s a small amount of this over the nearly 40 episode run as political intrigue and civil war are large arcs. The blood is rarely seen and when you do see it, the amount isn’t over-the-top and the focus doesn’t linger.

Language:
Nothing extreme here. In fact, d-mn might be the only common one, but even then entire episodes can go by without an issue so it’s pretty light over the entire series.

Nudity:
This is where my YA rating comes in. We are spared actual nudity for much of the show, with the only straight offenders being still “art” scenes where a character is nude and curled up so no details are shown. However, there is a plot arc of two characters obviously having sex. We don’t see anything, but it’s pretty obvious what they did. The show handles this arc in a very tasteful manner, but it might be an uncomfortable topic for younger viewers to face if you don’t see it coming first.

Theology/mythology:
This is a strange one as the lead has ideas about reincarnation that she talks about quite a bit. A main arc of the show also deals with a country that views their rulers as god(s) and have an entire religious system built around that. If these kinds of topics make you uncomfortable, you might want to skip this one as this topic comes up pretty regularly.

Personal impression:
This is one of those shows I wanted to like far more than I actually did. And I can truly say it’s a real shame and a half.
If you’re new, I love a solid plot containing political intrigue. And this is something we don’t get much of in the shoujo genre. But this title had a LOT of it. Which should have made me happy, right? Well, the issues, as usual with shoujo works, were entirely due to the characters. And the sickest part was that the lead should have been an exception to the usual “listless/powerless girl everyone loves” stereotype. But… she wasn’t? For while she seemed to have a lot of agency and power, all of her actions centered on the male leads and no one else. It didn’t help that she was also the enraging “naive girl” type on top of that. She would occasionally display moments of wisdom and such but only when the plot called for it and it became less and less common as the show progressed. Her actions are incredibly selfish at all times and she never learns better by the end of the show. In fact, the show seems to push the message of “follow your heart” BS to the end. Which, I’m not entirely against, but when it’s a message not balanced with the idea of considering others and safety and basic common sense? Not a fan.
In the end, I think the lead’s many issues come from the faulty idea that a “strong” character means a pushy or bossy one that simply bullies her way through everything. The fact that she was interchangeably smart and insanely stupid for the plot’s convenience doesn’t help at all.
And yes the male leads are cliche. At this point I expect nothing else from this genre so there ya go.
As for art and music, both were reasonably stable, though mediocre throughout. The opening and ending were forgettable and while I liked the political stuff going on in the last part of this show, the drama caused by the lead’s stupidity made it far less enjoyable than it could have been. But, hey, the romance actually gets a conclusion, another rare thing for this genre. So… woowho?

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 39
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Romance, drama, action
Company: NHK
Production: Pierrot Co ltd
Official streaming: Crunchyroll