Laid-Back Camp Review

1502177953_15df07aab7552ddb50ce83d30b4c7abb_thumbStory:
Nadeshiko had one goal after moving. To see the famous Mount Fuji! On her way to a good sight seeing campsite, she falls asleep and has to seek help from a fellow high schooler who likes to solo camp. The two form an unlikely relationship and Nadeshiko learns to love camping.

Violence:
None.

Language:
Besides a d-mn or two, this show is pretty clean.

Nudity:
There are a few bath scenes and we see a bit of cleavage, but that’s honestly it.

Theology/mythology:
We see some shrines and even a story about one being dedicated to a dog. But it’s done in an almost touristy way. Actual religious discussion doesn’t occur.

Personal impression:
This show was surprisingly good! We don’t really enter the creepy fanservice area and the dialog and gags are actually decently… natural? It’s definitely nothing ground breaking as far as slice of life shows go. The tone and mood are pretty typical really. But the subject matter and characters fit that tone well and there’s no drama either. Plus they really do make camping look fun, which is a feat as I’ve never had good experiences with it myself.
If you need a light hearted and calm show with a few spot on gags, this is a great title to check out. Just don’t come snooping around for any plot. Or more character growth than someone gradually learning how to camp.

Personal rating: All ages

Episodes: 12
Language: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice-of-life, comedy
Studio: C-Station
Company: Furyu
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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Warning Zone: The Ancient Magus’ Bride [TV series]

[Click here to see my review of the first OVA and second to third OVAs]

magus-brideThe What:
Hatori Chise has always had the misfortune of seeing youkai and all manner of fae creatures. This has made her life not only extremely dangerous, but also isolating. With relatives thinking she’s a horrid child or walking misfortune, she’s dropped off from place to place until she finally ends up on auction in the underground, not caring what happens to her so long as the pain of her wanderings is done. But the person who buys her isn’t what she expected. For one thing, he isn’t really human….

The Why:
If you read my reviews for the OVA prequels, I had noted that there was a scene of violence that was sudden and a bit shocking, only barely allowing the show to remain in a YA rating from the scene not lasting too long. Sadly that level of violence doesn’t just return in the TV series, it gets significantly worse. Not that we see more blood, parse, but rather the sounds, voice acting and cinematography all make the physiological horror of the violence pretty… well, disturbing. Especially the torture scenes near the end of the series. There is an episode where cats are brutalized for an elixir, arms sliced, eye plucked out… Overall, there were multiple episodes that were really hard for me to stomach. Sure this is a boon to the studio in that those scenes are supposed to be disturbing and the way they are framed does that job seamlessly. But that also means this show has no other place in my blog but the WZ.  If you are squeamish at ALL with violence, this show is a hard skip.
And if violence doesn’t scare you? Well… The first part of this show is decent. The writing for the lead is slow, but steady and the show don’t tell is strong, which really keeps the world vibrant. The visuals are great and the world of the fae is both beautiful and extremely dangerous. The music is also quite memorable, which we don’t often enough in anime.
My main issue, aside from the uncomfortable levels of violence, was the ending. The strides the lead made towards independence take some large steps backwards as she once again depends very heavily on her captor/master/teacher/friend (?). I’ve never been fond of the mythological beast falls for mortal shtick and this show didn’t convert me. I will give them credit for mentioning, more than once, that fae are not like mortals and thus can’t even view life and love the same way. But the fact that the male lead is a “half formed,” makes that idea murky enough for the show to walk the gray area of “maybe she can change him.” Which is an angle I hate even more. People changing on their own as they learn and grow is one thing. People changing for the sake of keeping someone else under their control and influence? Noooot my fav.
Overall, this show was poised to take on some heavy topics in a well written fantasy setting. And while it does do a bit of this, perhaps even more than most entire franchises manage, it also had some downs that retract progress made. And I’m pretty certain the reason for this backtrack was simply due to the expectation for this to be a romance. The writers pretty much wrote the lead into a corner and realized they had only two options: keep the story character-based and go in a very different direction from how they originally marketed their product oooooor force the leads together and keep the title going strong despite requiring the entire supporting staff to go out of character for this to take place. Spoiler alert: option A was left in the dust.
I still think the OVA and beginning of the series was strong, but yeah. The ending kinda killed this show for me personally.

 

RElife Review

relife_coverStory:
Arata Kaizaki quit work after only a brief  three months and has not been able to land a full time job since then. After a night drinking with old friends and lying through his teeth about work, he runs into a strange man who gives him a pill claiming it can give him one year to relive his high school days, allowing him to “restart” his life…

Violence:
Besides a tiny amount of slapstick, nothing much goes on here.

Language:
A few sh-ts and d-mns, but decently low.

Nudity:
Surprisingly low again. This show had a lot of room for nudity, but never takes advantage of it.

Theology/mythology:
Nothing much to say here either. God and the like aren’t discussed nor any clear theology of the world or mankind.

Personal impression:
This was surprisingly good! While the setup allows the main character to be pervy and horrid, the show never really takes itself in that direction. The lead is constantly reminding himself or being reminded by events around him, that he is an adult and those around him are children. This is great because it allows for some really natural character growth for both the lead and the kids he’s in school with. Both sides learn from one another (even though the kids are unaware their friend is their senior by quite a few years). The romance aspects of the show are also pointed towards side characters primarily and that helps keep the show from becoming a harem nightmare. In fact, speaking of female characters, we actually have a decent amount that have some big roles in the story. And they have relationships with one another that do not lean on the male characters at all! Finally.
All of that paired with some great subtle signs in the animation of character ticks and movement, made this show one of the better ones I’ve seen so far this year. One scene in particular, when two people are listening in on a very emotionally traumatic experience another person went through and one gently takes hold of the other person’s shirt sleeve for comfort as they listen, was very memorable for me. It was such a small scene, but made the dialog we heard so much more powerful for it. Show don’t tell at it’s finest.
Now, sadly, the show has some downfalls for sure. One being the odd choice in music and the strange placement of it. Upbeat tunes sometimes play during suspenseful or stressful scenes while heartfelt scenes end up with a piano solo that was probably meant to be emotional, but ends up sounding like a five year old at piano practice. Another gripe I had with the show was the slightly cliched way they get around the main character losing their job. Instead of taking the harder issue of people who quit or leave work for a stupid reason, they make the lead’s backstory tragic and thus justify his leaving. Now, I’ll give them points for taking this to the correct conclusion and making it clear that though this was the right thing to do, the unfair consequences still apply. The world is harsh, so yeah. Still, taking someone who is a good worker, just too honest for the business world, and turning them into a model citizen is a lot easier than taking an honest to goodness lowlife and turning their fate around. Both have confidence issues, but one lacks any drive to be good at work while the other is already a good worker to begin with.
Even so, this show’s good parts out weigh the bad in my opinion. I really enjoyed this one and I look forward to possibly seeing more of it in the future!

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, drama
Studio: TMS Entertainment Ltd
Company: FUNimation
Offical streaming: Crunchyroll