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.

Ponder

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.

Meeting

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.

Florist

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


The Otaku Couple

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.

Pretty

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


The Otaku Couple

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


The Otaku Couple

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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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.

Urabe-tsubaki-share-drool


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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


The Otaku Couple

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

RoaMMJ

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


The Otaku Couple

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.


The Otaku Couple

I’ve come to deliver some bad luck.Bad Luck Social 2

This is the one-liner that is delivered perfectly by the main character, not once, but twice, throughout the episode. He’s dangerous and stealthy and badass and that line seals the deal. Hearing this line was probably the best part of this episode.

Black Cat Forget

From the first episode, we learn that the main character goes by the moniker: Black Cat. He is (predictably) dressed in all black and is extremely agile and efficient at what he does. We also learn that he is an assassin, the thirteenth to be exact, of an elite variety. We get introduced to the term eraser by an old man working at a pawn shop who (predictably) freaks out when he learns that the man standing in front of him ran into him. He then proceeds to deny him service and kick him out of his shop.

Black Cat XIII

The man in the shop is definitely the other main character in this story. Not only does he sport green hair, he is constantly broke, hungry, and smoking cigarettes, as well as a bounty hunter (maybe? This part was unclear) who has a mystical eye that can see into the future. He doesn’t give off the vibe that he’s someone who is going to be disappearing from the storyline any time soon.

Black Cat Other Guy Social

Overall the show wasn’t bad. I would just say that I wasn’t very intrigued or pulled in by it. While I could be wrong, the first episode gives off a very predictable vibe that just didn’t grab my attention. In addition to that, the anime originally aired in early 2000’s, so while the graphics aren’t bad, after having watched The Ancient Magus’ Bride, it’s hard to adjust.

This show may be really good, but I’m going to have to get over my Ancient Magus’ anime hangover before I can really see it as that. I might give it another try in the future, but as for right now, I’m done. My anime journey with Black Cat ends here.

Are we making a bad decision here? Should we keep watching? Or are we saving ourselves from anime disappointment? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


The Otaku Couple

Afterthought: While creating this post, I realized that this show may be better than originally thought. The journey may not come to such a quick end, but tell us what you think.