Dance With Devils | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Initial Impression: This is going to be interesting.

In my experience, first episodes generally go really fast or really slow. Either they throw a bunch of information your way in one fell swoop or you spend circa 20 minutes where nothing — or everything — happens with no explanation whatsoever. This anime did a little bit of both and I think it turned out much better than I expected it to.

Breakfast

In the first episode, we meet Ritsuka Tachibana. It’s not explicitly explained, but she’s the type of girl who is, for lack of a better term, an ignorant goody-two-shoes. We find her making breakfast for herself and her mother, on a school day, with fresh herbs from the garden. The first sign that she’s ignorant of everything that’s about to go down is the fact that her mother makes her wear a locket for protection, and makes sure to switch out the pouch inside it every Monday without fail. She thinks it’s a cute little routine, but her mother has a sad and worried look on her face as she explains that she must always wear it because it keeps her safe. There is also a protection sign drawn on the brick by the front gate, but she doesn’t seem to notice that either. Her mother has the tell-tale hairstyle of an anime mom who isn’t going to last past the first episode, and sure enough, she doesn’t.

At school, Ritsuka is greeted by her friends who let her know that she’s been summoned by the president of the student council. Since this is anime — and of course she’s a normal girl that goes to a fancy rich school that has kids being dropped off by private chauffeurs — being summoned by the student council is the same as having a warrant out for her arrest. The student council president is Rem, and again we see that she’s ignorant of everything. This is another thing that isn’t clearly stated, but it’s heavily implied that he was about to either:
A. Eat her
B. Drink her blood
C. Kill her
D. All of the above

She doesn’t realize this, and the only reason she doesn’t become his breakfast is because of the locket she wears. This obviously peaks his interest. At the end of the day, she goes home to find a car has rammed into the brick post of her front gate, her yard and home have been ransacked, and her mother is lying nearly unconscious on the floor. Her mother signals for her to run and she calls the police, but when she comes back with them, everything is miraculously back to normal. The police don’t believe her and she calls her brother — at least, that’s who I think he is — and he tells her to go to her friend’s house and stay there until he can return. On her way, she’s ambushed by the people who ransacked her home and took her mother.

She’s saved by none other than the student council president himself.

He takes her to his (giant) house and helps her, probably for devious reasons, and she’s left to wonder what’s going on. A lot happened in the first episode, but it was pretty good. I haven’t been shocked by anything that’s happened yet, but I am liking the pacing and characters that have been introduced so far. I am actually pretty excited to watch the next couple episodes and aside from the boy-love anime I’ve watched recently, I haven’t felt this intrigued by an anime in a while. I’m hoping it keeps getting better.

What Next


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Update

So, I finished watching this. I’m not going to go into detail, but the first episode was the best. To sum it up nicely: this was a complete and utter waste of time that ended without any satisfaction. There is a proper ending — if you can call it that — but it’s lackluster and disappointing. Also, there is singing in every episode without subtitles, so if you only speak English, be wary of that.

I talk more about it here, on the podcast. I know the review above is somewhat positive, but I wanted you to know the whole truth — that I know now — so that you don’t fall into a trap of watching pretty bad anime because of something I wrote. So, to be clear: I don’t recommend this to anyone — watch at your own risk.

Restaurant to Another World | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Initial Impressions: This anime is going to hit the spot.

So, we’ve actually watched the first two episodes of this anime and it’s a bit difficult, to sum up what it’s about so far. Part of this is because the focus point is the people who come and go to the restaurant, and not necessarily the people who run it. This gives the story many different perspectives instead of just one, which is kind of cool actually. It sort of reminds you that even when you end up in the same place at the same time, or at the same place at different times, everyone has their own life and their own story to tell.

Even with the different characters with their own stories, they all converge at one place — The restaurant. The door to the restaurant doesn’t seem to be anything special, but every 7 days, it appears in a different realm. The door shows up in different places for everyone, but everyone who enters is almost always shocked initially by where it leads. There are samurai and dragons, soldiers and lizard men, a girl with horns and a human cook. It’s a varied cast of characters and they all have their favorite dishes and their own reasons for finding and eating at the restaurant. I like that the characters are unique in that way.

Horn Girl Eating

I also really like the cook. He seems like a regular guy who’s gotten accustomed to the unexpected and unnatural. In the first episode, he wakes up to find a sleeping girl with horns in his kitchen. She explains that she lost her job because the people found out that she was a demon — mind you, she comes from the realm of demons and found work in a human town there — and so she was homeless in the worst part of town when the door showed up. She says she thought she was dreaming and so ate the food. Instead of getting angry he makes her breakfast and offers her a job as a waitress, where she would wait tables for him once every 7 days when the door appeared in her realm. I think this shows his cool and easy going nature. He reminds me a lot of Soma and Sanji actually. He’s a laid-back cook who cooks for people who are hungry and it’s delicious.

So far, it seems as if the door appears in the other realm when people need it most. I think the storyline has the potential to be really interesting. On top of that, the animation is pretty to look at. It’s not breathtaking like Ancient Magus’ Bride or Violet Evergarden, but it is detailed and colored beautifully. I’m curious as to how the characters will grow, or if they will. This anime gives off the vibe of a lightly connected story that’s more episodic than serial, but we’ll see where the story goes. Either way, I’m excited to see what other characters come into the restaurant and what’s up next on the menu.

I'll be back


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Gosick | 24 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Initial Impressions: Woah. I was not expected to be this hooked after one episode.

This anime took me by surprise. I watched it with the intention of having something to occupy the dead time I have at work sometimes. I watched the first episode and was disappointed when my break was over because I wanted to keep watching it. It has a nice animation style, interesting characters, and the universe it’s set in appeals to me. It’s in an old-timey setting, but with an air of a murder mystery game.

Kazuya is an exchange student from at an elite school for the rich in a fictional European kingdom. The other students call him the Black Reaper. His teacher recommends learning some ghost stories to make friends since that is the nickname they’ve given him. When he goes to the library, he finds a girl at the top of the library in a conservatory. She looks like a doll (at least, that’s the remark that he makes) and is incredibly intelligent and slightly jaded. I like her character immediately.

Upon their first meeting, she predicts that he will come back the next day around noon. His teacher sends him an errand to deliver handouts to her the next day and he’s unsettled to see that her prediction came true. While he’s there, a very strange person comes up and begins talking to her about a murder that happened.

He explains the clues and the doll (whose real name is Victorique) pieces all the clues together immediately and solves the mystery of “who-done-it” in minutes. It was fun to try to puzzle out if the conclusion I came to was the same as hers (it was) and hear her explain things.

The mystery aspect and the chemistry between Victorique and Kazuya really caught my attention and I’m excited to watch the next episodes. I’m hoping the rest of the episodes live up to the hype the first one created for me. If you think it will, leave a comment down below.

V and K


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Kakuriyo | 22 Episodes | DUB | VRV

 

B and B

Initial Reaction: I really like this and I’m excited to watch the rest of it.

I really like the way this anime started out. There was a bit of backstory without it being boring or droning on about a character we know nothing about yet. The character is also very realistic and practical to be in an anime and I feel like that will be an asset considering the universe she’s in.

The main character is a girl named Aoi and she can she ayakashi – or spirits. Some of them are nice and some of them are not. She gets left at a young age by her mother for being able to see them, and her grandfather – who can also see ayakashi – takes her in. He raises her, and she loves him dearly. Fast forward to her older years (upper teen or maybe even 20?) and her grandfather passes away. 2 days later she’s kidnapped by an Ogre king and whisked away to the land of ayakashi to be his bride in order to pay off her grandfather’s debt to him.

 

Ogre and girl

Obviously, she doesn’t just go along with this, which is why I feel like she’s more practical than most other anime characters. She’s also wary of things that are too good to be true, which makes her likable as well. She appears to have a bit of common sense.

She ends up meeting an ayakashi that is a nine-tailed fox (shocker) and makes friends of him. She decides to open up a restaurant to make money to pay back her grandfather’s debt and the fox is the one who gives her the idea. It was interesting and funny and enjoyable to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens between the fox, the ogre, and the human girl.

Characters


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Tsukigakirei | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

Tsukigakirei

Initial Impressions: They are such middle schoolers and they are so shy and awkward and embarrassed and sensitive and… ugh!! It hurts to watch them but they’re cute.

The first episode was slow. Really slow. But it moves at the pace that middle schoolers move at. The main characters are a boy and a girl in their last year of middle school. The girl gets moved into a class with none of her friends or track team members and she is really nervous. She carries a plushie around with her which she squeezes whenever she gets nervous to help calm her down — I think she suffers from severe anxiety or something. The boy is a quiet boy who likes to read and write and keeps to himself. He’s got two friends who we don’t much about yet.

These two run into each other while their families are out to eat and their parents introduce themselves to each other. This embarrasses them both. Her parents talk about how much food she ordered (she’s a growing girl and an athlete who just got home from practice) and his parents talk about how cute and pretty she is. They both turn red and look like they want to die.

After that incident, they become hyper-aware of each other. They keep looking at each other but never speak. They end up on the equipment team for the school sports festival, and he notices her there. They still avoid each other a bit, but when that gets him in trouble, they exchange numbers and it seems like it’s the beginning of whatever is going to happen between them. It’s kind of frustrating but also cute and a bit nostalgic. I think this anime is doing a great job of depicting middle school angst between two kids who are experiencing liking someone for the first time. There’s a lot of blushing, a lot of looking away, and a lot of staring at the phone wondering what to do.

I’m not a huge fan of the animation style because it looks like a 3D-video game with weird lighting, but then it’s like normal animation in some places and… it’s not my favorite. But, it’s not horrible either. The pace is much slower than what I’m used to, but I think it’s a good pace considering the type of story it’s telling. I’m looking forward to watching these awkward kids figure out how to deal with their emotions and each other and everyone around them. I think it’s going to be a fun ride. Maybe not for them, but… definitely fun to watch.

EP 1 Run in.png


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Recovery of an MMO Junkie | 11 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Initial Impression: No. I’m not for this. But… maybe… let’s just see where it goes…

So, this is not your average first episode post. Mostly because I watched the first 3 episodes, not just the very first one. My impression of it is still the same though. I’m 3 episodes in and I’m still not sold on it. The story follows Morioka, who has chosen to live her life as a NEET. If you aren’t sure what a NEET is and Wikipedia is to be trusted, it stands for a person who is Not in Education, Employment, or Training. So… basically not doing anything with your life.

Morioka is in her thirties, quits her job, and spends all of her time in an online MMORPG game. The character she creates is a guy, and everyone in the game – of course – thinks she is a guy. She meets a cute girl and they end up playing together. This leads her to join a small guild and make friends of the people there. This all plays out in contrast to her real life that we see is only the game and necessary visits to the convenience store. We are also introduced to a blonde male character who – I’m just going to take a wild guess here because it hasn’t actually been stated yet in the anime – is the real person behind the cute girl Morioka is playing with online. Depending on your perspective, it could be said that he lives a more fulfilling life. He and Morioka bump into each other IRL and they have an awkward exchange. I haven’t seen anything past that, but that’s the gist of what I’ve seen so far.

It’s interesting to watch because I’ve watched so many anime about people being stuck in a game, but she has the opposite problem. She wants to live in the game, but she’s stuck in real life. It’s interesting too because, even though she’s thirty and was excellent at her job when she was employed, she still freaks out like a teenager over little stuff. It’s intriguing enough, but as someone who is no longer a teenager and has a job, I find her to be a bit annoying sometimes. I just think it’s weird that she’s at that level of social awkwardness after being in the workforce for so long. I get that she’s a gamer and everything, but… still.

I’m curious as to how their meeting IRL will play out and how that will affect their game and such. I have to say though that I’m not addicted or overly invested in finishing this anime. It appeals to me ever so slightly, enough to keep my lightly hooked into the story. I want to finish it and see how the story plays out, but if it were to magically disappear and I never knew the ending, that wouldn’t bother me either.

But, we’ll see where this thing goes.

Morioka


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