This past month, I’ve watched a couple different anime. If you listen to our podcast, you’ll have heard me mention these at least once before, but I never got around to do a full review of any of them – my bad. So, instead of trying to make a bunch of tiny posts about them, I figured it would be better to do a review post of everything I watched this month that I haven’t posted about yet. So, without further explanation, let’s do this!

Code: Realize | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
Code RealizeCode: Realize was one of the first anime I watched toward the beginning of August. It was entertaining enough overall, but there was so much potential, with not enough follow through, in my opinion. I’m a fan of a good slice of life anime, but I also love action and adventure. When it’s done well, I love anime that touch on all those aspects. I feel like, this anime tried that but failed – it wasn’t really action or adventure or slice of life – it was just… in the middle and nothing at all? It’s hard to explain.

The story is about a girl who has been locked away and is kidnapped by the British army only to be rescued by a gentleman thief. Her body produces a deadly poison due to the horologium implanted in her chest. It keeps her alive, but it also keeps her from getting close to people. She needs special clothing too otherwise, even that will melt at the touch of her skin. She meets up and joins a group that is opposing the British army and crown. The group has the gentleman thief, the mechanic, the rich funder, the scientist (Frankenstein), the fighter (Van Hellsing) and a vampire (Dracula). With such an interesting line up of people, kidnapping, intricate plans, and the threat of the apocalypse, I wanted more from this anime.

Instead I finished the anime feeling a bit let down. The poison girl goes through training, but she never really becomes useful, other than melting locks with her hands. The thief doesn’t steal all that much but we’re supposed to just go along with the fact that he’s a master. Van Hellsing is a vampire hunter who doesn’t want to hunt and Dracula is a whiny kid with no real purpose at all. The fight scenes don’t provide any kind of rush or excitement and is very “stock” to me – sword fights where the heroes leave without a scratch on them. Frankenstein doesn’t invent much more than smoke bombs and to top it all off, the personalities of all these characters are lacking. While they are distinct to each character, they are the same in the first episode as the last.

I feel like this anime would be better suited to a dating game than an animated show. There’s one girl with a bunch of different suitor options who all fall for her (which feels a bit forced) while rescuing her in some strange incident or another and she picks one at the end of the problem to live happily ever after. Saying all that though, I don’t think this anime was bad. Although they stay the same, the characters are interesting; the situations are predictable, but they are entertaining; the winning guy isn’t a surprise, but it is satisfying to see them get together at the end. I wouldn’t recommend this anime, but it’s decent enough to watch if you’re in between anime at the time.

A Sister’s All You Need | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
A Sister's All You NeedA Sister’s All You Need is a pretty deceptive anime but, in a good way. It’s like when you see a swimming pool and think it’s only about two feet deep, but then step in just to fall to the bottom of like twenty feet of water. This anime is a lot like that. From the beginning, you sort of peg it for a pervy anime that is just about a weird kid who doesn’t fit in, being weird with no real purpose to his life. Now, this anime is that, but it’s so much MORE than that too.

The main character is a writer who is obsessed with little sisters. All of his stories include them, so he is a bit weird. But the story is about his life as a writer, the ups and downs of being a published author, and his circle of friends who are all just as weird and eccentric as him. They usually meet up at his apartment for drinks and some type of board game. I really liked this anime because, aside from the over-the-top pervy parts, the characters are really relatable. They all hang out together and are genuine friends, but being in the same field of work really pushes them to work harder and do better. They compare themselves to each other and where they are and where they want to be and we see it from every perspective. And there’s one friend who is the “normal” one in college, but she still struggles because she’s not sure what she wants to do with her life, but is surrounded by people already paving the way to their future.

This anime touches on a lot of good stuff in a relatable and entertaining way. It’s funny in spots, unpredictable at times, keeps you interested with just enough amount information when you need it, and is told with the mindset that you’ll understand the motives of the characters without having to have it explicitly stated to you at every turn. There are a lot of subtleties to this anime which I think makes it great. On the surface, it looks silly and pointless, but there is a lot of goodness to be found watching this. It’s a good “finding your place in life now that I’m not in high school” anime. It reminds me of Barakamon, which is that same type of “not high school” vein — although the stories are vastly different.

Love Tyrant | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
Love Tyrant

Love Tyrant is interesting, to say the least. I initially thought it would be a reverse anime of Death Note, but I was completely wrong. The anime follows Seiji as he gets a harem he never wanted. An angel of love — a cupid — knocks on his door asking him to kiss someone because if he doesn’t he’s going to die a virgin. Obviously, not being okay with this, he decides to go along with her plan. This ends him up in the center of a love polygon with the most popular girl in school who is also a crazy psycho killer who carries knives, her half-sister who is in love with her, their crazy cousin who just wants to have fun and is sadistic in the worst way, and the angel.

The anime is all about their crazy antics and the weird situations they get into. Akane (the popular girl) is the only girl who actually cares about him, the others are there just to get their kicks really. Guri (the angel) is there to learn what love is, and Yuzu (the little sister) is there to be with Akane. The cousin (Shikimi) is there as an antagonist of sorts to cause trouble for everyone.

The anime is interesting enough, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s silly and pretty pointless and confusing and it gets kind of old pretty quick. Seiji doesn’t really like any of the girls or “choose” one really, so it’s not super satisfying as a harem anime like High School DXD, and it’s not intellectual like Death Note, nor is it super funny or especially entertaining. The characters are unique for sure, but they didn’t appeal to me at all really. I’d classify this anime as nothing more than a time killer, to be honest. The idea is interesting, but… that’s about it.

Kino’s Journey | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
Kino's JourneyKino’s Journey is a beautiful adventure and I truly loved every second of it. For starters, Kino’s journey is beautifully animated. I would easily put it on the same level as Ancient Magus’ Bride or right below it. It was gorgeous to look at. I also loved all the characters in this anime.

Kino is on a journey, exploring the world. Spending only 3 days in each country before moving on, it’s just enough time to learn what the city is about. Kino travels with a talking motorcycle (which is rare) and spends time exploring, getting in and out of trouble, and meeting people. Each country is unique with their own quirks and rules and history and ways of living. Watching Kino navigate it is super fun to watch. Kino meets plenty of people and they each have their own story as well — such as the man and his dog who are looking for a home and travel from country to country trying to find a place that works for them.

This anime is great because there’s just enough mystery; just enough interesting characters; just enough of the questions answered; just enough countries travelled to. This anime is like the baby bear’s porridge — just right. It does what I think Code: Realize failed at, it touches on the genres of slice of life, action, adventure, and mystery and does it masterfully so you feel like you got a lot out of the anime in 12 episodes instead of feeling deprived of every genre. I also loved that the characters, while interesting, they all changed slightly from meeting and interacting with each other, but they still had their own motives and flaws. I liked that the flaws were subtle and that they were just people — neither good nor bad.

I would highly recommend Kino’s Journey to anyone. It’s an adventure from beginning to end. It grabs you and takes you along at a pace that’s quick enough to get the point, but slow enough for you to enjoy it. I would watch this anime again and I hope that it’s lucky enough to get a second season. It’s quality anime in a way that you don’t often encounter at random and I’m really glad that I got to watch it.

Well, that’s everything. If you have your own opinions about any of these anime, feel free to drop a comment below!


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Alice & Zoroku | 24 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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“Old man Zoroku would prefer a quiet life, but even he can’t turn away when an escaped test subject ends up in his care. Sana’s ability to materialize anything may seem like a gift, but first she must learn to use her powers responsibly.”

The above description is from VRV and I think it’s the most accurate description of what this anime is. It was interesting enough, but there were several gaps in the story that I felt were never quite filled in.

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There is a girl named Sana, and she has extraordinary powers. She can literally build a world with her mind and make anything, even life, come to existence. She was raised in a research facility and so, in the beginning, we see her break out in search of the outside world. She meets an old man named Zoroku and this is where the story kind of takes off.

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Zoroku tries to help her and then crazy things start to happen. His favorite thing to say is, “I don’t like crooked stuff” and because Sana uses her power irresponsibly, he dislikes and distrusts her at first. He gives her a lecture — something that happens often — and gives her a place to stay for the night. She is eventually caught and forced to return to the facility, but not before she bonds with Zoroku and his granddaughter Sanae.

There is a government agent working to protect Sana and keep her from the research facility and she is rescued, along with the other Dreams of Alice — that’s what they call the kids with supernatural powers — and returned to Zoroku who adopts her and she begins her life outside as Sana Kashimura.

Zoroku is a florist and does his best to raise Sana into a decent person. Even though she technically isn’t human, she acts exactly like a little girl and is curious about everything. He and Sanae teach her and she becomes the third member of their family.

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The gaps I felt were never filled in were: what happened to the other Dreams of Alice from the research facility? Who is Alice? How did the public react to the Dreams of Alice? What happened? I felt like most of the story was spent on answering the wrong questions and spending time on useless info like Sana’s day to day life — like watering flowers, taking baths, going to work with Zoroku. It was cute, but I felt there were bigger questions to be answered and focused on. So, while the show did include quite a bit of action and is focused around an intriguing idea, I feel like it fell short in really exploring that.

It’s a warm story about what it means to be family and it’s interesting what Sana and the other dreams of Alice can do with their powers. Overall, it wasn’t a bad anime, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. If you like steady paced, slice of life stories with predictable plots and cute — although static and nonchanging — characters that are aimed toward a younger audience, then this is for you. If none of that appeals to you, then I would suggest you pass on this anime.

Happy Ending


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Gosick | 24 Episodes | DUB | VRV
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Final Verdict: I absolutely adored every second of this anime and it was a wonderful journey from beginning to end.

In case you missed my initial reaction to the first episode you should check that out first. I was worried at first that the rest of the show would have a hard time living up to the hype and engagement I felt during the first episode. This was wasted worry because each of the episodes after that were just as great in my opinion. The story has several layers to it, which I liked.

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The first layer was the mystery. I watched Hyouka not too long ago and they solved “mysteries” in that show as well, but it was far less thought out and a bit more forced after the first big mystery was solved. Gosick is not like that at all. For one, Victorique uses clues which she calls the “fragments of chaos” and she deciphers them by using her “well-spring of knowledge”. Also, the mysteries in this show build off one another. They aren’t random, I-came-across-this-and-thought-I-must-know mysteries. These mysteries involve murders, “magic”, gruesome histories, rages of passion and more. The elements of chaos build from one mystery to the next and it’s amazing how Victorique is able to connect all the dots even when other things are seemingly unrelated. Victorique never came across a mystery she couldn’t solve. It was clear that these mysteries were detailed and planned out, and far more complicated than the average person would be able to deduce. I feel like they did a good job demonstrating her intelligence and how her deductive skills were better than those around her.

The second layer was the characters. While the character building wasn’t perfect, we get a pretty good understanding of Kujo and Victorique and the environements that shaped them. I wish there had been more time or hints to that, but we do get a clear understanding of where they come from. Kujo is from an oriental country (China or Japan I believe) and is the 3rd son of an imperial soldier. Being the 3rd son and a compassionate spirit, he’s struggled in his family dynamic and its one of the reasons he’s chosen to study abroad in Saubure. Even with that difficulty shaping him though, he writes and receives letters from his family abroad on regular intervals. Love is there, but it’s not easy being the youngest son.

The same kind of backstory is given to Victorique. She was conceived with a purpose, and her father discarded her mother and locked her away in a cold tower once she was born. He treats her horribly and has no love for her. She doesn’t interact with anyone other than him and her older brother which has led her to be extremely childish and rude, even with her well-spring of knowledge and unparalleled intellect. We see her grow and learn to care for Kujo and mature throughout the episodes. We learn that she gets embarassed and loves sweets and gets bored easily, but cares deeply about Kujo and would do pretty much anything to keep him safe, even if that means being a tool used by her father and the government.

The third layer is the relationships. Victorique’s relationship with her older brother, Grévil is interesting as well. Grévil isn’t much better than her father on how he treats her, but we see compassion at times from him, and I think that speaks volumes about him. We don’t get his back story, but we see his life through glimpses. We see that his father doesn’t treat him as much more than a lapdog, that he knows his wits will never match his younger sister’s, that his childhood friend and only woman he’s ever loved is married to another man, that he’s constantly treated as the fool even though he’s successful in his own right. In my opinion, Grévil is the most developed, multi-dimensional character we see. He’s shaped by a lot more than the other two are.

There’s also the relationship between Victorique and Kujo; Kujo and Averill; Victorique and Cordelia. I think this is one of the few things about this show that I didn’t just absolutely love. It’s clear from the beginning that Victorique and Kujo have a special relationship — they are each others first friends. Kujo has dark hair and eyes which is unusual in Saubure, and so he is called The Reaper Who Comes in Spring. Due to this, he has a hard time making friends with the other students. Victorique is very reserved and spends all her time in the conservatory at the top of the library, and is called the Golden Fairy of the Library and so is avoided as well. Kujo makes the promise to find her no matter where she’s at, and while this makes it easy to root for him and that they’ll always find their way back to each other, it felt forced in some situations. And that’s my caveat with all the relationships. They felt one dimensional and forced at certain points.

Averill is in love with Kujo, but he doesn’t know it because he’s in love with Victorique. I understand why she developed feelings for him, I just don’t follow why she would continue to pine after him and “fight” for him after a certain point. The same goes for Cordelia and Victorique. It is made clear the situation in which Victorique was conceived and delivered and raised was a nightmarish experience for Cordelia. It seems her mother has a deep love for her, despite having left her locked up in a tower after she escaped. I understand that mothers love their children, but there were a lot of things surrounding their relationship that I didn’t understand.

Overall, I thought this was a wonderful anime that had a very good story to tell and did so in an intriguing and engaging manner. There was mystery, friendship, awkward teenage emotions and blushing, history, and murder.

There was so much to enjoy in this anime, I would definitely recommend it. And, even though I didn’t understand the relationships entirely, I loved that Kujo and Victorique ended up together in the end. It made me feel like their promises to each other weren’t just empty words. If you’ve seen it, leave a comment down below telling us what you thought about it.

Last Reunion


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Barakamon | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Final Verdict: It’s a good story about coming of age that isn’t directed at high schoolers. I really enjoyed it.

This story follows the story of Handa. He is a young calligrapher living in the heart of Japan. From the very beginning, we get the vibe that his work is well known and that he’s always been praised for his talents. He’s a perfectionist when it comes to his craft and also very prideful with a hot temper. In the beginning, we see an old man (who we learn is the director) critiquing his work in a gallery. He says that his work is lacking “heart” and that it’s very “stock”. Not being able to read Japanese and having no knowledge of what a calligrapher is outside of this anime, it was hard to tell. However, from an untrained eye’s perspective, it was very neat and centered and clean. It was “perfect”. That seemed to be what the problem was. Handa flies off the handle at the director’s comments and punches him in the face and then throws a shoe at him.

This obviously means nothing good for Handa seeing as how Handa is young (23 if I remember correctly) and the director is an old man. This creates a big scandal and Handa is sent by his father to go live on an island until things blow over. This is where the story really starts. And while this is not the best reaction to an old man, I get kind of excited when the first episode starts with a guy punching an old man in the face. It usually leads to good and interesting things, and I wasn’t disappointed with this anime.

Handa is an entitled, stuck-up, city boy who is used to being praised for his work. When he gets to the country island, things are vastly different. For one, his home used to be the “secret base” for the kids in the village, and he cannot get rid of them. At first, he is greatly irritated and annoyed by them, but he soon learns the charms of the island town and the kindness of the people in it.

Handa moving in

As Handa becomes more accustomed to living in the village, his calligraphy begins to show that. He becomes inspired by nature and the people around him and little by little, he grows in his art and as a person. Naru is the little girl who pretty much runs the town. She is a loud, rambunctious tomboy who likes hanging around Handa and is instrumental in making him think outside of himself. They go on adventures and he teaches him about country life and he teaches her (and some other people) about calligraphy and learns how to become a decent human being. He eventually creates some really amazing stuff and works up the courage to apologize to the director for punching him in the face.

 

I like this story a lot because it was a coming of age story for a 20-something. Most stories center around high school — which is fine. High school is a place where you really start to figure yourself out. But there is also life after that and I like how this anime explores that. I like that at the beginning, Handa is a self-absorbed wad of entitlement who has no idea how the world outside of his life really works. That’s kind of what real life is like, and he isn’t forced to grow up until he’s put around some kids and he realizes that HE IS THE ADULT. And, speaking as a 20-something, that’s a life-altering mind-shift — from being the kid in the room to being the responsible one in the room. The one who will be blamed if something goes wrong.

The story focuses on Handa, but it touches on all phases of life and I think that’s pretty impressive. It touches on the competitive nature of middle school girls; the care-free, dangerous fearlessness of children; the “what next” feeling of a senior in high school; the empty nest syndrome of a mother with an adult child; the “it’s time for the next generation” feeling of men who’ve been a career for decades.

Empty Nester

In the end, I was really impressed with how the showed Handa growing up little by little and getting inspired by new things. The characters felt like they could actually be people and I like that. It wasn’t an unrealistic story by any means and it was a nice change of pace from what I usually watch. I would probably actually watch this again and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you’re past your high school phase of life.

Chill pick


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Mysterious Girlfriend X | 13 Episodes | SUB | VRV

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Verdict: Really weird, kind of gross, but very amusing and sweet, but also slightly confusing.

Mysterious Girlfriend X is easily one of the strangest anime I’ve seen in a while. It’s about a boy named Tsubaki who sits next to the new girl who just transferred into class, Urabe. Everyone is fascinated with Urabe at first, but it turns out that she’s actually very weird. So once the newness wears off, everyone starts to avoid her. She sleeps during lunch, and one day Tsubaki forgets his lunchbox in his desk. When he goes back for it after school, he finds Tsubaki sleeping at her desk. He wakes her up so that she can go home, but he sees that she has drooled on her desk.

Desk Urabe

Things take a turn for the weird after that. She leaves the room, and he sticks his finger in her drool and licks it. I personally almost gagged at watching it. He goes through this whole sequence of thinking it tastes sweet and freaking out over the fact that he just ate a random girls drool off her desk. Apparently, eating it made him really sick. Not because she had a cold and he just injected her germs into his mouth, but because he’s in love with her and going days without more drool made him ill.

This leads them on some weird interactions together, but the end result is them dating. They are super awkward and weird, but I enjoy watching it, because everyone is weird in their own way in their own relationship. They understand each other and they freak out over liking each other and it’s cute. Weird. Really, really weird. But also really cute. It’s also funny, because Urabe is strange and Tsubaki has no idea what’s going on with her 99% of the time and is just trying to play by her rules.

Urabe...

There are some things I felt were forced in some situations, and some things I didn’t understand, but that didn’t make it a bad anime. I didn’t understand why they were keeping the fact that they were dating a secret. They’re seventeen, in high school, and they act like middle schoolers. I didn’t understand it because they didn’t have a reason for hiding it; that just seemed to be the theme of the anime: secret dating.

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Tsubaki is a regular guy and wants to do regular (at least I would consider it to be regular) things with his girlfriend, like hold her hand, hug her, kiss her. We never see them do any of this. We see them hug briefly near the end of the series, but we never see anything beyond that. Really, I didn’t see how their relationship could grow from their interactions. They don’t seem to talk to each other during the day, because their relationship is secret, they don’t hang out on the weekends, they don’t appear to text. They just walk home together and swap spit on each other’s fingers. The show tries to play up their relationship as more than what we see, but I wasn’t buying it.

Spit Finger

They both have best friends who are dating each other, but Tsubaki never tells his friend that he’s dating Urabe. Urabe’s friend finds out because she sees the spit swap one day. It’s another type of relationship I don’t understand because they don’t actually seem like friends. We never see them interact really (other than eating lunch together) and they don’t tell each other anything. I don’t know, it just seemed like a lame depiction of all types of relationships to me. Urabe and her friend were the only two who seemed to have anything that looked like a “real” friendship. It was still weird, but it was better than we got with everyone else.

Ueno and girlfriend

Overall, it was amusing. If you can stand to be grossed out by someone shoving a spit-covered finger into someone else’s mouth or someone shoving a finger into someone’s mouth to steal some spit for themselves, then maybe this anime is for you. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you stumble across it one day and decide to watch it, you won’t be worse off for it. It’s a romance story for sure, it’s just… mysterious.

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It’s already time for another Arc Review. This time it’s Thriller Bark (EP 326 – 384). For the first time since I started watching One Piece I can’t say that this arc is better than the previous arcs. There are multiple reasons for that but by no means was this a bad arc.

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This arc didn’t really get me hyped up like the previous arcs. I know one of the reasons was because of the whole creepy Halloween Vibe this arc had. I generally don’t care for the dark and creepy. I also didn’t care about most of the fights they didn’t grab me emotionally like the previous ones however I did still find them amusing.

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The things I did like about this arc though were pretty much at the beginning and the end. In the beginning of the Arc we meet Brook. He’s a talking Skeleton that loves panties and is a musician. Sounds like Straw Hat material to me, and by the end of the arc he joins the crew. I liked how they tied in his story with someone the straw hats met 100s of episodes ago. It was quite a surprise. I think I’m really going to enjoy Brooks character.

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Speaking of Character my favorite part has to be when Zoro shows his resolve. The way he put his life on the line to protect his entire crew was amazing. This moment invoked more emotion in me than any other anime I’ve ever seen. He took a burden that he knew should kill him and he did it voluntarily with great resolve. He didn’t tell anyone about what he did and said it was nothing. He didn’t do it for any recognition. He just did what needed to be done.

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This arc as a whole might not have been the best arc in One Piece so far but it definitely contained the best moment so far. It did something that I feel like only a show like One Piece could do. All of the episodes allow characters to develop in ways that can’t be done within the normal length of anime. In the end this Arc was still satisfying and I can’t wait for the next adventure.

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Orange| 13 Episodes | DUB | VRV

Verdict: Sad, confusing, but thought-provoking in its own way.

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The group of 5 became a group of 6.

When I first started watching Orange, I wasn’t expecting it to be the emotional roller coaster drop that it was. It started out like most Slice of Life anime do. There was a high school, a girl, and then there was a boy. The story follows a group of 5 friends who let the new transfer student into their little clique, and so the group of 5 became a group of 6.

What is unique about this anime is the main character, Naho, gets a letter on the first day of school. It’s a letter from her future self, warning her that on that day she was going to meet a new boy who was going to sit next to her. The letter then warns her not to ask him to hang out with her and her friends that afternoon. She doesn’t listen, for obvious reasons — I mean, who would listen to the instructions in a letter that claims to be from the future? — but when things begin to unfold as the letter said it would, she sees it to be the real thing.

This starts her on a journey to save herself from the regret that her future promises her if she doesn’t change her actions now. She does her best to listen to the letters and bit by bit things do begin to change and alter ever-so-slightly from what the letters promised. As the anime goes along, the risks become steeper and we learn that the letters weren’t sent just to clear some regret from the past about missed opportunities in softball games and box lunches. The letters are sent back to warn Naho that if she doesn’t change her ways, a life is going to be lost in the process and it’s up to her to save her friend now, before it’s too late and she has to live her life full of regret.

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Kakeru and Naho.

It’s an interesting story that plays on the thought, “if I’d known then what I know now…” and takes a look at what would happen if a teenager could receive a letter from the future warning them of present mistakes. I think the way that Naho is depicted is accurate in some ways and infuriating in others. However, she faces the actual reality of having to deal with a letter from the future. That’s a unique situation, and although lots of people like to think that their teenage selves would heed their advice, the question remains: would they? Would we? I like the whole concept of this anime and it’s done very well. It pulls on the heartstrings in all the right places.

There are some things that I didn’t like, the main one being how the actual problems of the characters are never dealt with, just the symptoms. However, in high school, the mentality to see the bigger picture often isn’t developed yet and so dealing with the symptoms of a problem is the only real solution. I also didn’t like shallowness of the love story between the main characters, or how the other main character, Suwa, had to make the biggest sacrifice of anyone in the show. In doing so he drastically altered what would have happened in the future and took away that same future for his friend. It was a difficult decision and it showed in him a selfless – selfishness that can only really be shown in teenagers — the kind of selflessness that seems honorable but is really super selfish in the long-run.

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Naho, Suwa, and Kakeru. Of the 3, Suwa made the greatest sacrifice.

Overall, it was a good anime that made me think about a lot of things. What would I tell the teenage version of myself if I could write a letter and send it back? Would I try to change things? Would my teenage self, listen? What would I do if I received a letter from the older version of myself now? Would I listen? Would I change things?

I would definitely recommend this anime. I would just advise that you bring a box of tissues with you and be prepared to answer some existential questions of yourself. If you have your own thoughts about this anime, please share them with us and leave a comment down below.


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