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

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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


The Otaku Couple

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, we’ll see where this thing goes.

Morioka


The Otaku Couple

EP 207-325

Time for another Arc Review. I’ll let you know all the good stuff and the not so good stuff. Along with which episodes you need to skip and those you don’t have to.

I’ll get the episodes you should skip out of the way first. There were a lot of them in this Arc. Episodes 207-225 are entertaining but you can skip them they don’t add to the main plot of this arc but they were still fun to watch. These next episodes however you should skip entirely.

Skip
279-283
284 (Skip the first 8 mins)
291-292
303
317-319

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Now that that is out of the way let me tell you why this Arc was so good. This arc deals with some great concepts including deception, betrayal, and trauma. There were moments in the arc when I was genuinely enthralled in the story and I just had to see more. It was like a good book that you can’t put down until it’s over. This arc managed to infuriate me over the actions of the World Government. These people don’t understand what justice is, but Luffy does, and he gives it to them. He and his crew stand up against the whole world without fear for what they believe in. Luffy’s fearlessness and drive to accomplish his goals along with his ability to entice others to follow him is so addictive to watch.

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The crew as a whole though is getting more and more impressive; they all keep getting stronger. I love how throughout the arc they all get their moments to shine and showcase their advancements. Everyone gets new impressive techniques to take down opponents in battle. Luffy is an awesome leader for this crew, and the show in general, but he isn’t the only one being awesome and this is much appreciated. I think it really sets it apart from other anime.

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I could talk all day about the things I love about this anime and this arc but there were a few things I didn’t like. All of which involved the filler episodes. One Piece was doing pretty good up until this arc. Not only was there a lot of filler but it happened right in the middle of some major episodes. It was pretty jarring. I hate when filler is placed in-between the main story. It should only be at the beginning or end of arcs. Some of the filler episodes this time though were really bad. They were entire episode flashbacks. When I say entire episode I mean they took episode that we previously watched and replayed them as a new episode. They didn’t even bother fixing the aspect ratio. We went from 16:9 episodes abruptly back to 4:3. I really hope this doesn’t happen anymore.

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Overall though this Arc was a great story with plenty of action and as long as you skip the episodes I told you to, you should have a great time watching it. So far, each arc in One Piece has been better than the last, and this still holds true for this one. I definitely recommend you watch it.

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If you want more detailed info on the arc you can check out my previous posts. I’d Rather One Piece | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7. Let me know what you think about the Water 7 arc in a comment down below.

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The darling in the FRANXX. It seems like no matter where we look this show keeps popping up and making its existence known. So, after seeing enough gifs to intrigue and confuse us, we decided to give it a try.

Initial impressions: It piques your curiosity and gives you just enough information to set a solid foundation for the characters.

This a mecha type anime, so we have people inside machines to fight monsters. That’s the basic gist of the first episode. The unique spin we get with this anime is that the pilots of these machines, known as FRANXX, are always male and female partners. They connect this to some unique bird in the anime that only has one wing. That part was a little… overkill? I understand the “deeper” connection and foreshadowing was trying to be made, but I wasn’t feeling it.

In the FRANXX

The two people who reference this bird are Hiro and 002. Long story short — Hiro has no talent at all and basically got kicked out of (we’ll call it an academy for now because I’m not sure what it is yet) the academy, while 002 is super powerful and known as the partner killer (because whoever pilots with her dies). They meet under unsavory circumstances, 002 says she likes him, disaster strikes, they end up piloting together.

Pilot Together

The FRANXX turns into a fighting maiden when the people inside are really in sync and that’s what happens with Hiro and 002. It’s pretty cool to watch. The animation is good and the characters are introduced in such a way that we can see what type of role they will play in the future without it being an annoyance or detraction from the main story or main characters. I think 002’s character seems interesting, but I’m not really thrilled about Hiro as a character. After watching Ancient Magus’ Bride, I’m not too excited to watch another show with a self-deprecating main character.

FRANXX Face

The only thing I just didn’t like at all was how belabored the meaning behind the title was. After a while, it was kind of like, “okay, we get it!” He is her darling. They are inside the FRANXX. They are the birds with one wing who have to depend on each other. Symbolism received. Title understood. Let’s move on now.

Other than that though, the show seems like it will be pretty decent. We’ll probably watch some more of it, but a decision hasn’t been made yet. If you have an opinion on it and think it’s worth a watch (or not) let us know. We’d love to hear some of your thoughts about The Darling in the FRANXX.

Darling in the FRANXX


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.

Verdict: This anime is good. It probably won’t rock your world, but it’s solid.

Kenichi is the story of Kenichi Shirahama. From the very beginning, we learn that he is a weakling. He was teased all throughout middle school and is called weak-knees because his knees always shake and knock together when he’s scared.

We see the first example of this when he sees the girl he met earlier (Miu pronounced Me-you) is outnumbered by 3 street thugs. Kenichi struggles with whether to do something or not. He ultimately decides to jump into the fray, but his knees are visibly shaking and we can tell that he is terrified. Miu ends up handling the guys on her own, and inviting Kenichi to train at Ryozanpaku, a dojo that we later find out is owned by her grandfather.

This starts Kenichi on a journey to become history’s strongest disciple.

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