Junjo Romantica | 24 Episodes | SUB | VRV
Mature boy-love warning!
Yuri!!! On Ice | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Otaku Couple
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.
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.
No-Rin | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
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.
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.
Definitely worth a watch if you’re looking for something light that’ll give you a laugh or two.
The Otaku Couple
Wagnaria!! | 40 Episodes | SUB | VRV
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Otaku Couple
Wotakoi | 11 Episodes | SUB | Amazon Prime Video
Final Verdict: This was unbelievably cute and accurate to adult relationships and hit all the right notes for a love story.
This anime is all about Narumi and Hirotaka who are, at their core, cute and utterly perfect for each other. They are childhood friends who are all grown up now. Both of them are otaku, although, Hirotaka is into games and Narumi is into anime and manga – specifically of the yaoi variety. They run into each other at work after Narumi changes jobs and things sort of take off from there.
There are so many good things that I enjoyed about this anime. I love that the anime is about them navigating dating instead of falling in love. They’re both otaku, and while Narumi has had boyfriends in the past, they were always normal guys so she hid her otaku nature. This makes dating Hirotaka different, because he already knows she’s an otaku and accepts that part of her which is nice to see. I also thought it was a nice touch, that Hirotaka has wanted to date Narumi since they were younger.
I also really enjoyed that they didn’t become awkward and actually acted like adults who had known each other their entire life. I’ve never had a childhood-friend-turned-romantic-interest relationship before, but this is what I imagine it would be like. They’re extremely comfortable with each other and talk about how they were growing up together and how they’ve changed. They also know each other better than anyone else. Of course, there are awkward and blushing moments, because they’re dating, but the core of their relationship is their friendship.
There was so much about this that I loved, I could really go on forever probably. I loved that they were working people with normal jobs, that they didn’t want to hugely expose their otaku nature, that they made friends who were otaku as well and hung out, that there was often a comparison between their relationship and their friends. It was just so much goodness wrapped up into one show.
I also really loved Hirotaka as a main character. It probably helped, that as far as romance anime guys go, I thought Hirotaka was one of the most attractive I’ve seen, personality wise. It’s purely subjective, but he’s cool, calm, and nerdy on the outside, but still pretty much a goofy person on the inside. That combination really appeals to me. I also liked that he wanted to date Narumi from the beginning and wasn’t afraid to speak up about it — and that he wasn’t afraid to kiss her after they started dating. In a lot of anime, the otaku / nerdy guy is usually too shy or absorbed with his games / anime to do anything, but I like that even though he’s a nerd, he’s still a man. I think they got that part of his character right.
As much as I loved this, there were times when I thought it wasn’t perfect. My biggest dislike was the fact that Narumi often treated Hirotaka as less than her boyfriend. She found it weird that other women found him attractive and found it hard to wrap her mind around doing “girlfriend” things for him. That was the only thing that kind of irritated me with watching this, but it does tie into the whole childhood-friend-turned-romantic-interest thing. She’s known him as Hirotaka “The Otaku Friend” all her life and so it’s hard for her to switch him to Hirtoaka “The Hot Boyfriend” which, to some degree is understandable.
Overall, there is so much to love about this anime that I didn’t even touch on, such as their friends relationship — which I think is done incredibly well too. Their friends romance touches on insecurities, hot-n-cold love, compromises, fights, and a comfortable kind of love that I think is more well-rounded in some ways. This anime is 1000% worth a watch if you like romance anime. It kind of reminds me of MMO Junkie. I really enjoyed that one too, but this one takes on the approach of knowing the person on the other side of the screen before you play with a lot less social awkwardness. I’m not sure where else you can watch it other than Amazon Prime Video, but if you can find it, watch it. It’s definitely worth every second of your time.
The Otaku Couple
Restaurant to Another World | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
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.
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.
The Otaku Couple