Crunchyroll has featured plenty of enjoyable anime over the last few months:
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
This anime is about a Japanese art form known as rakugo. As Wikipedia best describes it, rakugo is essentially a sitcom with only one actor. The actor takes on the role of all the characters in the story he is telling. It’s a fascinating form of art that I had never heard of. The show is a slice of life type show with some performances of rakugo sprinkled throughout. The majority of the show takes place after the end of World War II, giving viewers a glimpse into the many changes that went on during that era. We haven’t finished watching it, but I recommend it. The show will have a second season in the near future.
While the name of this anime gives you little clue of what it’s about, it is worth giving a shot. The show follows Satoru, a young man with the ability to go back in time by a few seconds and change the future. After a shocking event, Satoru throws himself years into the past and into the body of his elementary-age self. Satoru quickly realizes that he will have the chance to change something that has haunted him for years: the disappearance and murder of one of his classmates. The mystery plays out at a quick pace, and although the identity of the perpetrator may not be too surprising, it’s still a good show.
It’s worth noting that while the series never shows you anything too gruesome, there are some heavy topics within the show beyond the violence.
Looking back, I’m not entirely sure why we finished this show. It was okay, but it was nothing I would really recommend or ever watch again. The premise: A teenage boy, Kazuma, dies in the real word and is given the chance by a goddess to live again in a world very similar to an MMO world, complete with choosing a class and gaining experience. Kazuma is allowed to take one thing with him, and so he chooses to take the goddess into the new world. While I found the show funny at times, it does have more than a few problems. For one thing, Kazuma is a jerk. He has his redeeming qualities, but I’m not fond of the way he treats women. Second, the anime does have an unfortunate amount of fan service. For the most part, it was mild, but there was one episode in particular that went overboard.
Currently, we are watching three shows that are in the middle of airing:
I love the Ace Attorney games, so watching this anime was a no-brainer. I’ve only watched a couple of the episodes, but I am hoping they show veers from the game to give us other stories. There are a lot of interesting characters in the show, so I’m hoping we see more stories that are new to the players. The show has had the added benefit of reminding me that I still have some Ace Attorney games to finish.
This show is sort of difficult to describe; most of the time, I’m not sure whether to laugh or feel very sorry for the show’s characters. The show is about a group of girls who are considered so unlucky they need to attend a special school that aims to improve their lot in life. Each girl has their own challenges; one girl can hardly do anything physical without breaking a bone and another girl constantly gets lost, even when people try to point her in the correct direction. The growing friendship between the girls is sweet, and the absurdity of the show makes it fun.
Sailor Moon Crystal
Sailor Moon Crystal is back again with a third season. Just as with the other two seasons, you may suffer a bit of whiplash at how fast this series burns through the content, unlike the languid pace of the original anime. While I love moving through the story at a good pace, I do still feel like I don’t really know the Inner Senshi that well in this version. You don’t need to have endless amount of fluff to let us get to know the characters. It’s fun to finally see Haruka, Michiru and Horatu in this version, however. Also, I really enjoy the fact that people in this series actually have the ability to recognize each other and determine their real identities. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the original series.
Like many people who watched the “Sailor Moon” dub in the 1990s, I’ve been re-watching the series on Hulu. It’s been fun to see the show as it was meant to be seen, complete with subtitles and the many episodes that the American syndication skipped. While there certainly is way too much filler in each episode, nostalgia is generally enough to keep me watching some of the more cringe-worthy episodes. Unfortunately, the fourth season, “Sailor Moon Super S”, has been a challenge to watch for a number of reasons:
1. No One Cares about the Enemy
In previous seasons, the Sailor Senshi actually investigated and talked about their foes. In this series, they don’t care. They don’t even compare notes or discuss what the enemy is doing. Occasionally, one of the cats will try to bring up the conversation, but it’s quickly forgotten. Obviously Chibiusa knows something about Pegasus, but after the first couple of episodes, no one bothers to question her.
2. Pointless Setup for Each Episode
For the majority of the season, the Amazon Trio are the main enemies and are searching for Pegasus by looking into people’s “dream mirrors”. In most episodes, for reasons that are never explained, they go through an extensive setup to corner their victim. In some cases, it takes days for the trio to get things just right, and it usually involves attempts to get the victim to fall in love with their future attacker. And yet, other times, they simply walk up to the victim and yank out their “dream mirror.” Why bother with the big setup at all?
3. Characterization is All Over the Map
The characters themselves, which usually are one of the best parts of the show, are inconsistent in this season. Usagi, for example, is painfully obnoxious in this season. Look, Usagi, it’s pretty obvious that you and Mamoru will get married. You’ve got Chibiusa standing next to you to prove that. So stop whining every time a girl looks at Mamoru, especially when it’s your own daughter! Ami, obviously accepted as the smartest of the group, doesn’t really seem like herself in this season. Rei only seems to exist just to get into endless fights with Usagi. Minako and Makoto are just sort of there in the background.
4. No One Recognizes Anyone or Anything
Throughout the entire season, the Senshi repeatedly see the Amazon Trio, but they never recognize them without their costumes. Fine, maybe it’s because of magic. But why can’t the Senshi at least recognize a pattern? Every single time an older strange guy walks up to them, the end result is an attack by the Amazon Trio. Why are they not the least bit suspicious when they run into this situation over and over again? Even when everyone realizes that there is a giant circus floating above Tokyo, the Senshi still can’t figure out what’s going on.
Fortunately, “Sailor Moon Super S” has only about 14 episodes left before Hulu finally makes it to the last and far better season of the show: Sailor Stars.
Since my husband and I ended our Netflix subscription, we’ve been making better use of our Crunchyroll subscription. Although I’m not quite the anime aficionado that he is, I still find plenty of series to enjoy. Here’s a few shows that we’ve been watching lately:
Sailor Moon Crystal
Sailor Moon was one of the first animes I ever saw, so naturally I wanted to check out Crystal when it came out. Crystal’s art is quite pretty, and the lack of filler that was present during the original anime is a good change. However, the series does have a few flaws, especially during the first arc. For example, we were told over and over how the girls were such good friends, but we rarely actually saw it for ourselves. The final part of the first arc dragged on too long. Finally, I was also disappointed that Mako, Minako, Rei and Ami didn’t really get many chances to shine on their own. I realize how important the relationship between Usagi and Mamoru is, but to me it’s nothing particularly special, especially since it seemed like such a given with few obstacles in this series.
Despite the flaws, I enjoyed the show and I do hope it comes back. I think the show was just starting to hit its stride and do a better job of balancing.
This show had such promise, but by the end, my husband and I were struggling just to finish it. The show premise sounded fun: An all girl’s school is facing closure, so one student decides to start a pop group attract more students to the school. Oddly, the initial problem that started the show is solved relatively quickly. In fact, most of the conflicts in the show are solved fast and with little stress. The show also has some really strange plotlines, like one character who somehow manages to become a famous maid at a maid café without the other girls knowing, despite the fact that they supposedly spend all their free time together working on their routines. There was also a painful episode that included excessive body shaming. The songs in the show are cute, and the art is nice (although when it switches to 3D randomly, it’s a bit jarring), but it’s not really a show that I would recommend.
My Love Story!!
If you want a cute and touching love story that avoids common tropes, this is the series for you. It follows the story of Takeo Goda, a rather large and intimidating high school student who saves a girl, Rinko Yamato, from a groper on the train. Rinko falls in love with the clueless Takeo, who is convinced that like every other girl he’s ever liked, she must be in love with his friend Makoto Sunakawa. As you can probably guess from the title, this misunderstanding doesn’t last long, and we quickly jump into seeing the cute relationship between Rinko and Takeo develop. The romance is sweet, and the show is full of funny moments. Takeo’s friend Suna is one of the best parts of the show, completely happy for his friend’s new relationship. The show is currently airing, and I look forward to it each week.