Citrus | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

Citrus

So, because I gave yaoi anime a try, I figured I should also do the same for the yuri genre. We first gave this a try back in April with the anime Citrus. It wasn’t horrible, so I figured I’d give it a try like I did with the boys. So, without further ado, first up on the list is Netsuzou Trap.

Netsuzou Trap -NTR- | 12 episodes | Sub | VRV

NTR Cover

I’m going to be honest here — this was the only one that I finished. There were 12 episodes and they were 9 minutes each. The whole idea of the story was the two girls in the center are best friends, but the girl with black hair — we’ll refer to them as Pink and Black because I honestly don’t remember their names — is in love with Pink. Pink and Black both have boyfriends, but that’s… complicated. Pink has what I would think of as a “normal” relationship with her boyfriend. She likes him, he likes her, they end up dating and are all “blushy blushy” around each other. Black is only with her boyfriend to say she has one. In exchange for “dating” her, she has to sleep with him pretty much on demand and he hits her if she doesn’t.

Couple

Black starts making moves on Pink under the guise of “I’m helping you practice for your boyfriend”, but as anyone would probably guess, Black is in love with Pink and Pink starts to realize her feelings for Black. The later episodes deal with Pink coming to terms with her feelings for Black, and trying to date her, although — for reasons I didn’t understand — Black keeps turning her down. They do end up together in the end though.

Black and PinkLiar

For this to be a short anime, clocking in at a total of 108 minutes including the intro and outro, it told a pretty decent story. I didn’t like that Pink was cheating on her boyfriend when he liked her so much and was such a nice and considerate guy. She was also cheating with her best friend, who he obviously thought he didn’t have to worry about — which I think makes the whole situation worse — but he never learns that bit of information. He even tries to work things out with her, but when he calls her, she is getting felt up by Black and he can tell that she’s with someone else. Like… honestly. The way she treated him was just wrong. On a personal level, I disagree with cheating altogether and think it’s unforgivable, so watching this was a bit frustrating. It struck me as annoying how no one but the douchebag boyfriend was honest and upfront about how he felt and how things were between him and Black.

He knows

The storyline was pretty basic and predictable, but for a 9 minute short, it was told pretty well when all things are considered.

Sakura Trick | 12 episodes | Sub | VRV

Sakura Kiss
This was the second and last anime that I tried. The reason being, there was literally no story here other than “girls kissing girls”. And if that’s what you’re into — cool. Everyone is entitled to like what they like, and to not have to explain it to anyone. I, however, am not into girls kissing each other to the point where I want to watch a full series of nothing but that. There was no plot to this at all. The main characters had no other goals other than “where are we going to make out today”.

Girls Kissing

Now, I only watched this anime up to the 4th episode — which was really pushing my limits — but I wanted to give it an honest try. I wanted to like it. I wanted to like this genre, but I just didn’t. And here’s why:

There Were Boobs Everywhere

In every episode, in all the anime, there were boob shots and girls kissing in every episode. There were boob shots in places and scenarios that didn’t even make any sense. Prime example: In Sakura Trick, they were at a school meeting for the sports festival and to convince the president that there should be cheerleaders she — you guessed it — popped out her boobs! Like… what? As an owner of a pair of boobs, I can vouch that this is not an appropriate argument! I just felt like my time had been wasted at that point.

boobs

There’s No Plot Other Than Girls Kissing Girls

This was true for ALL the yuri anime I watched and probably the biggest difference between yaoi and yuri that I noticed. It seemed the primary goal of all the anime with girls was to make out and get handsy with each other in inappropriate places. With the guys, there’s so much less of that and when it was there, it was done in more… “tasteful” ways. Now, that’s just an opinion, but I’m allowed to have one. With the guys, I felt there was more build-up to the moment in comparison to the girls, who were kissing each other in the first episode. Granted, my anime watching experience with the girls is limited to the anime you see listed here, but I saw no story elements in these other than the girls making out, or trying to, in some way or another.

Still kissing
Those two points are deal breakers for me for this entire genre. They wouldn’t be so bad if there was more of other things. More story, or more interesting and developed characters, or more relationship to be built up to the kissing or after the kissing. However, there isn’t any of that, that I witnessed. If I’m wrong or just haven’t come across the right anime for the girls, let me know. I’d love to be able to give this a try with better anime. Based on what I’ve seen though, I’m not convinced that this genre has more it to than what I’ve seen already.

Yurikuma Arashi | 12 Episodes | Dub | VRV

Yurikuma Arashi
Side Note: It was recommended that I try Yurikuma Arashi and this… this was even worse because there was nothing but boobs and kissing AND I was confused about everything else. Giant NO!


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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.

Yuri!!! On Ice | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Final Verdict: I want more!

Yuri on Ice literally gave me all the feels I could possibly want. It had action. It had romance. It had a person who is over the age of 17 trying to find his place in the skating world and where he fits in. It had a lot of great characters. It had characters growing. It had awesome music and skating routines. It had so much goodness!

Defeat

First, there was the overall story. Yuri Katsuki is a professional ice skater who is in a bad slump after a pretty much epic fail in the Grand Prix Finals. He is on the verge of retiring when he returns home after graduating from college. Unsure of what to do, he goes to the skating rink to show an old friend a routine they’d watched together as kids of Viktor — the most popular men’s single ice skater. Her daughters record him doing the routine, the video goes viral, and soon Yuri has the Viktor he’s idolized since childhood as his skating coach. This shakes up the skating world and turns Yuri’s career and life on its head.

Yuri and Viktor 1

 

The show follows Yuri as he works hard to make a comeback in his ice skating career. We see him train to get back in shape, struggle to find his confidence, and improve by leaps and bounds — literally with his leaps and bounds on the ice. He has 3 routines that change ever so slightly from competition to competition. I thought at first that this would get boring, but I was absolutely wrong. By seeing the same routine, we see him improve so much! The mistakes he makes during the first performance change him, and his expressions and confidence in the routines change as well. The animation shows this, but with the added addition of hearing his inner thoughts while he skates and the crowd’s thoughts as they watch him, we really get a full picture. I also love that I could connect the routine to his outfits and I got excited to see what was going to happen. Was he going to nail all his jumps or was he going to flub it up?

Yuri Skate 1

My heart was honestly racing as I watched him on the ice, and I’ve never watched an anime that had me so into the story that way.

Yuri Skate 2

Aside from the action on the ice, we have the relationship between Yuri and Viktor off the ice. I really loved the love story between them as well. It wasn’t overnight or sudden really, it was always there and grew bigger throughout the episodes. It wasn’t something that overtook the anime though. This is a sports anime hands down, but you’d be hard-pressed to watch this and ignore their relationship. I’d go so far as to say it’s impossible. So if you’re not into boys kissing boys… this might not be the anime for you. There is only one actual kiss that we see, but there are a lot of other signals that hint that it wasn’t the only one.

Hug
I’m literally the kid over there freaking out.

There were also the other skaters. Normally in an anime like this, we wouldn’t know much about anyone else except for Yuri and Viktor, but we know the story of everyone in the anime. From his skating buddies, to his rival, to the friends he grew up with, to his ballet teacher. Everyone has a story, and knowing it, even if it’s just a little bit, helps to build the world that Yuri lives in and helps to feel connected to him. I think that connection is probably why my heart was racing for him on the ice.

Watch Me
“Watch me Viktor. Don’t take your eyes off me.” – Yuri Katsuki

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you also know that I really appreciate an anime with older characters because there’s more to life than high school. This anime shows that really well. School doesn’t even factor in here and I think it’s accurate in a lot of ways. As a young person, Yuri felt absolutely deflated and at rock bottom after his epic defeat in the Grand Prix Finals. He questioned whether he was good enough to skate anymore at all or if he should just retire. He questioned how long he’d be able to skate since it’s so hard on his body, and at 23, he didn’t have much time left to skate competitively. He refers to himself as “a dime a dozen” skater certified by the association. He’s a real guy who acknowledges where he stands in the world and questions if he can realistically compete with the other great skaters he has to face. I like this because with him being older, he’s more mature in a lot of ways. So, we don’t get so many of the pointless emotional breakouts we sometimes get with younger characters.

Tie Grab

This anime was so good. It had a great story and was filled with interesting characters, just the right amount of romance, and a good amount of healthy competition. The skating routines are fun to watch and it’s easy to get caught up in this one. 100% worth the watch.


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So, as we all know, anime has a way of influencing us from time to time, and I am no exception to this. So after watching Wotakoi, Kiss Him Not Me, and No-Rin, which all feature characters that are obsessed with boy love, I decided to give some boy-love anime a try to see what was so great about it.

Narumi

This journey began by accident, honestly. I watched Wotakoi on Amazon Prime Video and one of the suggestions was Hitorijime My Hero. I clicked on it and it had a pretty interesting description. Add to it Narumi’s obsession and there I was — watching my first boy-love anime. This binge review is all about my experience with that, so if you’re not into boys loving boys, feel free to skip this one.

(more…)

No-Rin | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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Final Verdict: It’s a bit unrealistic but entertaining.

No-Rin is an anime about a popstar who moves to the county. It’s a pretty simple premise, but in a strange way, it works. Ringo is a former pop star idol who retires to go to school in the country and work on a farm. She received boxes with vegetables from the Kosaku, a boy who’s obsessed with her as an idol, which is why she chooses to go to the farming school when she gets burnt out with being an idol. The show mainly revolves around them and the craziness they get into at school.

Group photo

Kosaku is the boy who was obsessed with and pretty much in love with Ringo. His childhood friend is Minori and she’s so in love with him it’s painful. There’s also Kei and Yoshida (who everyone calls Fun-bags because her boobs are so huge) and a pet kangaroo that’s not really a kangaroo. Their teacher is Ms. Becky and she’s an interesting character on her own. She’s a 40-year old woman who looks like a child, but has no one special in her life. She tries to “act young” and push herself off on her students in the most inappropriate manners, and when they turn her down for obvious reasons, she turns into a “monster” and talks about her loneliness until they’re depressed. It’s actually pretty funny, but sometimes it’s misplaced and just makes the anime feel awkward and annoying.

My favorite character by far was Kei. He was the “cool” character, but he was also funny and sort of weird in his own way too. I liked that all of the friends, specifically Kei, Minori, and Kosaku, felt like actual friends. They had a good chemistry and helped each other out. Minori and Kosaku were childhood friends and the casual nature of their friendship was great to watch. Minori was in love with Kosaku, but still joked around with him and cared about his feelings, even if they were for another girl. Ringo was occasionally portrayed as the outlier of the group and I think that’s fitting, considering that she’s known them the least amount of time.

The only thing I just flat-out didn’t like was the ending of this anime. It’s made clear throughout the anime who Kosaku prefers and how he feels about Minori and Ringo. When it came down to choose, the anime ran away from having Kosaku make a choice. I think that was a really poor decision and instead of satisfying everyone (ship who you want) it disappointed everyone because a choice was never clearly made. Other than that though, I have no real complaints about this anime. It was funny, cute, light, and entertaining. I think it’s a nice “refresher” anime: something light to watch in between heavier, more intense shows.

Minori v. Ringo

Definitely worth a watch if you’re looking for something light that’ll give you a laugh or two.


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Wagnaria!! | 40 Episodes | SUB | VRV
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Final Verdict: This was the kind anime I haven’t seen in a while and it was so refreshing to watch.

Wagnaria is what I would consider to be a true slice of life anime. The characters are interesting and relatable, but still wacky and unique. The situations they get into are funny and awkward and most of the story focuses on them navigating their friends — and crushes — at work. The main character is Takanashi and he’s obsessed with tiny cute things, so when Taneshima — a tiny girl — asks him to work with her at a family restaurant, he doesn’t turn her down. That’s where the story kicks off.

Welcome to Wagnaria

While working there, he meets plenty of people, but none are as interesting as the people with him behind the counter. Kyouko is the manager, and she’s a former gang member who does nothing but eat all day and tell everyone else to work.

Kyouko

Todoroki is the “Chief” and she’s infatuated with Kyouko. She’s pretty simple and extremely kind and good at her job, but she carries a katana on her hip at all times and is completely unaware of Satou. Satou is probably my favorite character because of his resemblance to Sanji from One Piece. He’s tall, blonde, and a cook who smokes, who constantly fights with the person he’s probably closest too. He’s been in love with Todoroki from the moment he met her pretty much and has been harboring a secret crush for her for four years.

Souma is the other cook in the kitchen and while a troublemaker and ever watching presence over everyone, a pretty decent guy who always seems to hang out with Satou. He’s also the older brother that Yamada claimed and she’s a runaway who’s living at the restaurant. There’s also Inami who has androphobia, which is an intense fear of men, and Taneshima who is cute and adorable and probably the most “normal” one of them all.

This anime has a lot of great points in every episode. It moves at a good, steady pace, so you never feel like it’s moving so fast you can’t keep up or going so slow you just want to stop altogether. Each episode is a different day (or two) in their lives and as they get more comfortable with each other and spend more time together, the situations change. Even binge watching it, I feel like Takanashi’s crush on Inami and Satou’s crush on Todoroki grew over time. I love that it didn’t feel forced and that we got to see all the awkward stages of them. I especially loved that Takanashi and Inami liked each other because I wouldn’t have guessed that relationship from the beginning and it was a pleasant surprise.

I also like the variety of characters and the fact that it didn’t center around just one of them. True, the main character was Takanashi, but the story is told with the mindset that there are several people working at the restaurant, even Matsumoto who we often don’t see because she doesn’t hang out with everyone else much, but she’s there! And the anime makes an effort to point that out. I think that’s a nice touch and adds a bit of relatability to the anime that wouldn’t have otherwise been there.

Matsumoto

The anime is based in a restaurant environment, and the characters actually work. We see them serving customers, taking orders, organizing, greeting, cleaning, taking breaks, and doing everything else. Again, this was a touch of realism and relatability that I’m glad they didn’t skip over. It makes these characters something you want to continue watching and is a great way to keep the story going. There’s a heartfelt conversation, but break’s over — back to work. There’s an argument or conflict with someone, but they’re not on the schedule — wait several days to see them again. You want to talk to someone and ask for advice, but someone called off and you’re short staffed — no time to talk. Those little things felt extremely entertaining to me. This also helped me to feel like, their lives would continue on after the anime. I didn’t really feel like I hit a brick wall at the end, I just feel like I left the restaurant and can go back whenever I feel like it. It’s rare that I finish an anime thinking that I have complete closure. All of my questions were answered, and while curious about how they’d be in the future, I don’t feel like I’m missing vital pieces of information. I finished it feeling 100% satisfied with watching it.

Restaurant

There were times where I felt like certain things were exaggerated — Takanahi’s obsession with little things, his sister’s drinking habits, Inami’s reactions in some situations — but I never felt it was too over the top. Even though it’s slice of life, it’s still anime designed for entertainment. The only trouble I had initially was with the first season. The quality of the animation just isn’t very good compared to the others and moves a bit slower than the rest of the seasons, but I wouldn’t say it detracts from the anime. I think it’s just something to be prepared for if you watch it from the beginning like I did.

I honestly loved this anime and would rank it in the top 10 slice of life anime I’ve seen. He’s just… good. It left me feeling happy and content. I felt for these characters — I laughed with them, stressed along with them and cheered for them when things finally turned out the way they wanted. I would definitely recommend this if you like slice of life / comfort / romance anime. It’s got so many good things, it’s not one I would recommend passing up.

Group Photo


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