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Anime First Looks

First look: The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Eps. 1 – 3

FIRST LOOK – As the new anime season started, there seems to be a great deal of popularity on the anime series The Ancient Magus’ Bride and surely enough, I believe that popularity was well earned by this new show. A new title from Wit Studio (Shingeki no Kyojin, Owari no Seraph) the anime falls upon the slice-of-life, magic-fantasy genre as the story is set in modern Britain.

If you do not take kindly to spoilers, avert your eyes!

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Anime First Looks

Tsurezure Children: drowning in rom-com and characters

ANIME, FIRST LOOK – After being heavily recommended by friends, the anime series “Tsurezure Children” is now part of the short list of anime that I’ve watched out of the long list of anime which I haven’t. While it does give me some sort of entertainment and lives up to its genre of a romance-comedy, I can’t help but feel lacking from how it formats its episodes.

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Anime First Looks

Koi to Uso” – a love-tragedy in the making?

ANIME, FIRST LOOK – As the summer anime season starts, there is this one show that has caught my attention: Koi to Uso or in English, Love and Lies. After watching the first episode, allow me to share my thoughts and reactions to this brand new, interesting anime series.

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Anime First Looks Reactions

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Episode 1-5

REACTION & FIRST LOOK – The Naruto franchise has had a very long run and its main character’s story, Naruto, has come to a desirable end. However, after the main series finished, a new one was announced which focused on Naruto’s son, Boruto.

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Ever since I have watched the second season of Fairy Tail, the shounen genre has lost its appeal for me. The structure of a shounen anime has become quite stale which comprises: a main character who’s a rookie but pulls through every situation, has a down moment in every arc, comes through the down moment, and takes down the bad guy.

Because of this ever-repeating structure, I have gone away from watching anime series in the shounen series but I was always curious about the Naruto franchise. How did it become popular? Why is it popular?

After watching the first five episodes of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, I was re-awoken to the charm of the shounen genre: its simplicity. Unlike most of the anime that I’ve watched recently, shounen entertains its audience because of simple plot line and that, in itself, is something to praise for.

What I like about this new addition to the Naruto franchise is that Boruto does not require its viewers to have prior knowledge of Naruto, Naruto Shippuden and all other seasons and films which pertain to Naruto’s storyline.

Boruto focuses on a different perspective and that is on Naruto’s son, Boruto. How he undergoes that same progression which Naruto went through. He enters Ninja Academy, creates trouble, and all that.

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Although most Naruto fans would not watch this new series since it is basically a repetition of what they’ve seen in the main franchise, for a new viewer like me, I am quite entertained by Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.

I hope to watch the whole Naruto franchise since it may provide a new perspective of entertainment while I watch this new series. It’s not the best but it has its charms.

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Anime First Looks

Eromanga-sensei – Episode 1

FIRST LOOK – Eromanga-sensei focuses on two step-siblings who are now living by themselves after their parents die in an accident. The older brother, Masamune Izumi, is a light novel author studying in high school while his little sister, Sagiri, is a shut-in who hasn’t left her room due to her mother’s death.

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The funniest thing about this is that Izumi realizes that his little sister is, in fact, the anonymous online illustrator “Eromanga” that contributes to his light novel’s art. So yeah, Sagiri opens up to her older brother about the whole “Eromanga” business (although she’s a bit embarrassed about her pen name) to which Izumi accepts the entire thing.

The thing about this series is that it portrays a sibling relationship that is too perfect where both siblings are pretty much one step closer to romance (I’m looking at you, Oreimo). Some argue that a situation where two siblings agree on each other is very rare, and I, personally, agree on that being that I have my own sibling and we get along pretty nicely (seriously).

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This series is not at all unique when it comes to its story, its animation but it is definitely entertaining. If I were to bring up a comparison, it would be similar to Oreimo – a series where a brother realizes that her goody two shoes of a sister is actually a hardcore otaku.

With that comparison and the exchanges that Izumi and Sagiri were having in their whole “opening up” scene, I am led to suspect that the little sister has some romantic feelings for her older brother. I won’t even be surprised if it takes that turn because of what we’ve witnessed from Oreimo.

Plus points since the original author of Eromanga-sensei is also the same one who made Oreimo. So, yep, we know where this is going, lads.

Well, at least, the little sister isn’t that much of a brat compared to Kirino. Sagiri is much more reasonable and logical to deal with than “I love my onii-chan and no one will have him.” But that still remains to be seen.

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Overall, this first episode was definitely something entertaining to watch. If you ever watched Oreimo’s first episode, you’d probably get the similar vibe. Now, on to the second episode!

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Anime First Looks

Sakura Quest – Episode 1

FIRST LOOK – Sakura Quest centers around our main character, Yoshino Koharu, as she struggles to find a decent job in the city of Tokyo. It’s either Tokyo or back to the rural countryside for her. She’s applied for about thirty jobs now and still hasn’t had any luck until a modeling agency contacted her for a job in a rural city’s tourism board – much to her displeasure.

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Seeing no other option, Yoshino takes the said job and heads to the rural city of Manoyama to serve as the “queen” for the city’s tourism gimmick, the “Kingdom of Chupakabra.”

However, forgetting to read the fine print, she realizes that her job is gonna be a whole year instead of the one day thing that she thought. Yoshino tries to get back to Tokyo but after seeing old photos in the rural city’s so-called “castle”, she realizes that she came to the rural city before as a child and served as “queen”, which probably changed her mind a bit.

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If I had to get a similar anime series to this one, it would be Amagi Brilliant Park. Same old concept: main character is called upon to revive a rusty, old town/amusement park that’s way beyond it’s glory days and he/she has some sort of childhood history with the place than he/she once thought.

The first thing that hit me was the opening theme, “Morning Glory” by [K]NoW_Name, which was really upbeat and catchy to hear. As a pianist, I was just enjoying the jolly piano background throughout the entire theme song. Same goes to the upbeat vocals. It really brought interest and hype for me as I was starting the episode.

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I was somewhat let-down by P.A. Works’ failure to create more diverse character designs for its anime series. Shirobako (an anime series about anime production) and Sakura Quest’s character designs are all too similar and every time I see a character, I just get reminded of a Shirobako character. P.A. Works needs to do something about this.

Although both series have the same character designer, he/she should have spiced it up a little bit.

Other than that, the animation style is pretty much okay.

Sakura Quest is not really that “godly” of a series as most people claim it to be, in terms of story, animation, and etc., but it does bring a smile to your face.

This is still the first episode but I hope it remains consistent with the upbeat tone and humor in future episodes.

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Anime First Looks

Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 1

FIRST LOOK – When I first started out watching anime, I was rather fond of the slice-of-life genre because of the way it interprets stories as it would play out in real life. It doesn’t go into the extremes and tries to keep itself real. Tsuki ga Kirei is one of those anime series.

Tsuki ga Kirei focuses on the characters Akane Mizuno and Kotarou Azumi, two third-year middle school students who become classmates the first time. It will depict how the characters will grow and connect with each other and to the people around them.

What I love about this first episode is that it doesn’t try to rush everything, the story runs at a right pace. It starts at the opening of a new school year and the meeting of the two main characters, Akane and Kotarou. The two are involved in the equipment team of a school event which will be the catalyst of their romance, the bread and butter of this anime series.

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Akane is a very shy and timid girl. She has a plushie which she uses to calm herself down when she is nervous (adorable). I am really not sure whether the one with the romantic feelings is Akane or the male lead, Kotarou – but other than that, there is a romantic air around these two characters.

Kotarou is, from what I’m seeing, an aspiring writer. There is a scene in the first episode where he drops a brown envelope perhaps containing his novel’s manuscript. He is a very normal guy with his own set of friends

The thing about this series is that the scenarios and characters feel very real. We got a shy girl and a guy who tries to be a writer and is somewhat of a bookworm. They are in middle-school and are part of their own separate clubs. The two of them are part of a committee for a school event. It is just the perfect slice-of-life, romance format one could ask for.

The charm of this anime is from its realism. Every one and every thing feels so real and this series does not try too hard to accomplish that.

One example of this a scene where Akane’s family goes out to a cafe restaurant for their dinner. While ordering, Akane notices that Kotarou is there with his family as well. So it starts the usual “holy sh*t, there’s someone here that knows me – I gotta be careful on what I do” kind-of scenario.

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And to my pleasure, a similar scenario does erupt. Akane’s older sister notices Akane being aloof and all that jazz, tips off their mother into probably “hey, she likes that guy on the other table” and then good ol’ mom just goes and interacts with the other family going all like: “I’m her mother, ain’t she pretty?” and starts to “sell” her daughter’s charm points to Kotarou’s parents.

Now that is something you’ll probably encounter or have encountered some time in your life and that would be highly embarrassing.

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It is these moments that make Tsuki ga Kirei real and thus, entertaining.

The soundtrack, including the opening and ending themes, is soothing and syncs well with the spring atmosphere that the anime series is set in.

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feel. has improved quite a lot from Oregairu with the incredible usage of the cherry blossom petals and vivid color palettes. The animation style fits the tone of the series very well. I still have to point out that the 3D CGI is not that bad and they will have to use them when animating crowds of people because other than that, 3D CGI will look really off with the whole animation style this series is pulling off.

I am quite excited for the second episode and how this series will develop the romance of the two main characters. The usual “boy-meets-girl” scenario is always a good one, depending on how it is executed. A classic, I might say.

Tsuki ga Kirei is showing off as a good slice-of-life series and I hope it continues to do so. If high school and romance is your cup of tea, then you are going to love Tsuki ga Kirei.

as the moon, so beautiful.

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Anime First Looks

First Look: SAGRADA RESET – Episode 1

FIRST LOOK – Sagrada Reset is an anime series set in the seaside town named “Sakurada” where people with special abilities live. However here’s the catch: most of these powers are basically useless, and you lose your powers once you leave the town.

The series centers around two high school students: Kei Asai, who has the ability to remember every thing that has happened to him with his five senses, and Misora Haruki, who has the power to reconstruct every thing to their previous states (at least three days).

Sumire Sona sets them up to meet and intends to have them acquainted with each other for some unknown reason. It could be so that she can use the “reset” ability that Haruki has and use it to her advantage. Despite the complications, Kei Asai still goes through with the his intentions of gaining Haruki’s trust and friendship.

This episode was very much set up to explain every thing there is to know about each character, in regards to their special abilities. The characters seemed too dull as they show little to none humane characteristic. They are all very mysterious which is probably where this series grabbed me.

Most people would not enjoy this anime series. If I were to compare how it feels to watch this series, it would be similar to watching the Endless Eight arc in the anime series “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.” It is very mysterious but it gets you thinking.

The thing that I like about this episode is that it prefers to go for deeper levels of communication using metaphors and short stories to relate the current situation to the viewers – which, to a normal and casual viewer, it would be really boring.

It is true that the characters are not all that appealing and show little to no humanity in them at all but come on, this is not the first anime series to have done that with its first episode.

This anime series’ way of pacing itself may not sell to everyone but it does to me. You may not like this series but you will remember it, at least, for its interesting setting and premise.

Judging from the previews for the second episode, we might expect some escalation from the first episode.

Overall, this anime series’ first episode was very dull and it was mostly information-heavy which does not really help selling it to new viewers. However, I am optimistic for the second episode.

At the moment, I am torn whether this will be a good series or not – but hell, I do love an anime series that’s pretty wordy.

If you’ll watch it, don’t set your expectations too high – you’ll be disappointed. Not every anime series appeals to everyone.

I love this anime, is that wrong?

 

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Anime First Looks

First Look: Re:ZERO – Episode 1

FIRST LOOK – Re:ZERO was a popular anime series in the year 2016. Although I may have been late to the party, it’s better than never as I may put it.

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The first episode centers around the hikikomori, Natsuki Subaru, as he is suddenly transported to a medieval-aged world filled with magic and fantasy. He meets a silver-haired girl who introduces herself as “Satella” and a spirit named “Puck” after they save him from a group of thugs.

He offers his help to this girl in finding her stolen insignia which leads them to the slums of the city. It all goes wrong when Subaru discovers that the building they believed to be the whereabouts of the insignia was, in fact, a murder scene – and they were going to be killed as well.

Subaru, as a character, is surprisingly perceptive and just outright dumb at some times. He displays this by using the system of bartering as means of re-acquiring the stolen insignia which was going to be sold by some black market shop. However, he is very tactless about what he says.

Being a person who has suddenly been transported into an alternate fantasy world set in the medieval era, you should’ve developed the mindset that “not all you know will apply in this place and you should be extra-careful about what you do.”

But no, not our boy, Natsuki Subaru.

I would’ve loved this series if only Subaru got his act straight and got self-aware but no, he doesn’t. The only thing that’s piqued my interest in this anime series is the: how’s, where’s, and why’s?

Why is Subaru here? How? Where is ‘here‘ exactly?

I, honestly, am annoyed of Subaru’s character as a whole – reminds me of Kirito except that he is very much aware that he’s a dumb piece of meat.

Re:ZERO can easily be described as a deconstruction of the whole “trapped in an alternative world” scenario with some dark elements shoved into it. This episode ended with the death of a main male and female lead but somehow doesn’t matter since the main male character has the ability to go back in a specific point in time – kind of like a spawn point.

This anime series has definitely hooked me in at the end with more questions: why was Subaru transported into this world? Why can he revert time? What is so significant with Satella? Who is this female murderer? And other more questions.

I will finish this series as soon as I can (if I survive). It was quite a bummer why I didn’t watched and followed along this series as it aired but it’s better than not ever watching it.

Also I don’t like gore. Never have I liked gore. I almost dropped Attack on Titan when it first came out as I saw Eren’s mom being devoured slowly by a creepy-looking titan. That does not sit well with me.

I’ve already been spoiled about some points of this series so it’s okay to spoil but it’ll ruin my viewing experience though (wherever your conscience lies, dear reader).

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Anime First Looks

KyoAni’s Maid Dragon

FIRST LOOK – Kyoto Animation has been known for its trademark which is ‘Moe’. The display of quirky, cute and sometimes air-headed female characters is almost synonymous to Kyoto Animation in the anime community.

The animation studio’s newest comedy series, “Kobayashi-san’s Maid Dragon”, depicts a fantasy, slice-of-life story involving dragons in their human form. Tohru, one of the main characters, is a dragon who is devoted to a human, Kobayashi, and does everything she wishes. There are some lesbian tensions here and there but quite normal from what Kyoto Animation has provided in its previous series before.

After watching the first four episodes, the series was a pretty decent show for people who long for the comedy, slice-of-life genre.

You’ve got a woman who’s a salary woman and does not enjoy her life as a main character getting dragged into an everyday life involving dragons. Every episode is a new hurdle for Kobayashi and the dragons.

One episode might be about social etiquette and how to blend in with ‘normal’ society. In the process, the dragons such as Tohru will find ways to hilariously screw it up.

The charming thing about this series is that despite being a cliche comedy, slice-of-life – the jokes are not repetitive and boring. Every episode shows something new that’ll rock your socks off.

If you’re having a really depressing day and want to watch something that’ll cheer you up, then “Kobayashi-san’s Maid Dragon” should be on your list.

It might not be the best series but it does one thing well – comedy.