Just Because Anime Review

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Just Because was one of the romances of last season I was most looking forward to. One of the reasons being that it strived to depict life for high school students during that interim period between college exams and graduation. Mixed with the problems of adolescent romance, it looked as though this could be a series that accomplished something different. I think we have far too many school romances that focus on the whole of high school life or the middle of it. They may depict college exams and graduation, but they don’t start their story there. This turbulent time adds to the drama and adds to the stress the characters are feeling as well as giving a sense of limbo to their relationships. Even with the problems surrounding this series production, I did find myself enjoying the ride through mundane life and romance.

This original series was written by Hajime Kamoshida, the creator behind The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Production was handled by the small studio Pine Jam and licensed in the US on Amazon’s former Anime Strike. This anime follows the lives of a group of high school students during their last semester and the drama that arises with the appearance of a new transfer student, Eita Izumi. Izumi had lived there during middle school but had to move away because of his father’s job. On his return, old feelings resurface and new relationships are formed. For most students, the end of the school year is expected to be devoid of fanfare, but not for these students. Continue reading

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Brothers Conflict Anime Review

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Brothers Conflict was something I watched a long time ago when the sub was still streaming on Funimation. I’ve always meant to review this one, and this interim period while the most recent shows are finishing up gave me a chance to sit back down again and watch it all the way through. This second watch-through, however, has made me realize just how uninteresting this anime is overall. It has it’s good moments, don’t get me wrong, and I think fans of reverse-harems and the otome genre might appreciate it, but I feel like I don’t get that much enjoyment anymore out of series that don’t try and do anything different with their concept.

The series was originally a novel which got turned into a manga, 4-koma comic, and then Playstation otome games before finally becoming an anime in 2013. The story follows the life of highschool student Ema Hinata who finds out that her father will soon be getting married to another woman and she will soon have 13 new brothers. In order to not be a bother to her newlywed parents, Ema decides to live together with her new extended family. As Ema tries to make a place for herself in this new family, her brothers are also having a hard time accepting her as just a sister. Continue reading

Hitorijime My Hero Anime Review

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Hitorijime My Hero was the token boys love anime of the summer season, and as not many mangas of this genre are adapted into anime, I was pretty excited to see what would become of this one. Unfortunately, I can say now after watching it though twice that this one doesn’t really give me much to be excited about anymore. For those of you who like the traditional boys love/yaoi tropes — semi-abusive semes, weird power dynamics, and overly naive ukes — this show will probably be fairly enjoyable. However, for me, I very nearly gave up halfway through after I found I wasn’t looking forward to a new episode every week as much as other shows on my list that season. I won’t say I completely hated it, there were moments that I liked, that made me laugh, but it definitely not a show I’ll be returning to.

The story follows the love stories of two couples — Masahiro and Kousuke; Kensuke and Hasekura — as they try to reconcile their feelings for each other. For the majority of the plot though, we focus on Masahiro and Kousuke as Masahiro’s admiration for the man who saved him from a life of gangs turns into love and Kousuke must admit that their relationship is more than teacher and student. Based off the mangas Hitorijime Boyfriend and HItorijime My Hero, the story was licensed for the anime adaptation by Sentai Filmworks and picked up by Encourage Films for the animation. It was simulcasted in the US by Amazon’s Anime Strike and ran for 12 episodes last season. Continue reading

Konbini Kareshi (Convenience Store Boyfriends) Anime Review

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Konbini Kareshi was one of those animes that I wound up dropping after about four episodes last season. I decided now was probably a good time to revisit what made me drop it and find out if it actually got any better in the following episodes. Short answer: not really? It’s an anime with a lot of problems that tries so hard at being good, but ultimately pales in comparison to others that have taken its concepts further. I mentioned in my Summer 2017 First Impressions that this is primarily a fluffy and easy watch in terms of romance, but ultimately feels dull if you’re looking for something more, and I’m going to stand by that assessment for this review.

The story centers around a group of four friends who always stop at a convenience store on their way home from school and the relationships that develop from chance meetings. It continues to follow these four high schoolers, two girls (Mashiki and Mihashi) and two boys (Mishima and Honda), as they make their way through their last years of school and the troubles that come with it. It started as a multimedia project by the publisher Kadokawa, first  as a mook (or like a cross between magazine and book), then a bundled drama CD, before being picked up for animation by Studio Pierrot. The simulcast was licensed by Crunchyroll and ran for a total of twelve episodes. Continue reading

Fall 2017 First Impressions

Compared to last season, I feel like this season is lacking on some diverse romance options. As you can see, there are a four animes I can talk about, but definitely not as much of an offering as we saw last time. What I see lacking this year is our token shonen-ai series or the once and awhile shoujo-ai series. However, what we do have for options this season are a lot stronger than last time, and I can say now that I can recommend almost every show on this list. I’ll also list some other anime’s I’m watching outside the romance genre at the end or you can follow me on My Anime List to see what I’m watching and what I’ve dropped. Continue reading

How Love and Lies Remains a Shallow Romance Despite its Premise

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Love and Lies is an anime that I was relatively interested in when it first came out at the beginning of last season. The first episode caught my attention with its backstory based on a very real problem facing Japan today: the declining birthrate and subsequent aging population. Its an issue I’ll go into in more depth later on, but suffice to say it’s an issue that can make or break a Japanese Prime Minister depending on how they handle it. This anime took this highly relevant and contentious issue and decided to use it as the backbone of their story — and they failed. What was set up in the first episode as a romantic drama surrounding a governmental mystery became a poor excuse for a romantic and harem anime. It brought up issues that could have made the story more interesting, but failed to capitalize on them. Honestly, its one saving grace is that Liden Films did a great job on the animation.

In this alternate Japan, every person receives a notice at the age of 16 that tells them who their assigned wife or husband is. The story specifically follows Yukari Nejima who has been in love with his classmate Misaki Takasaki from a young age. On his 16th birthday, Yukari decides to confess his love to her minutes before his notice is supposed to arrive. And minutes before that notice, Misaki returns his confession. Strangely enough, when Yukari gets the notification on his phone about his future wife, she is listed as Misaki. However, when agents show up with his hard-copy notice, his assigned wife is listed as another person — Ririna Sanada. When he meets her, though, Ririna is so taken with his love story they she allows him and Misaki to grow their relationship under her watchful eye. Continue reading

How Made in Abyss Became My Dark Horse Winner of Last Season

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Made in Abyss has to be one of the biggest surprises of the Summer 2017 season. I certainly did not see this show I had never heard of, that looked like it might be geared towards a younger audience, becoming one of my favorites. But once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. The world that was being built from one episode to the next, the characters, the overarching story, and even the smaller stories all combined to hold my interest. Though the romance aspect is a very small part of the show, I couldn’t help but write a post about this anime. Originally a manga created by Akihito Tsukushi, it was picked up by Kinema Citrus for the anime. In the US, Amazon’s Anime Strike service picked it up for simulcasting.

The anime centers around the city of Orth that surrounds a mysterious hole going deep into the earth, called the Abyss. In the city lived a young orphaned girl named Riko who is training to become a Cave Raider, or someone who ventures down into the Abyss to dig out and bring back ancient artifacts. On one raid, she finds and befriends a humanoid robot named Reg. Some time later, she is informed that personal effects of her mother, who was also a cave raider, were recovered in a deep part of the Abyss. One contains a note that encourages her to make the long and dangerous journey to the bottom of the Abyss. Continue reading

My Love-Hate Relationship with Gamers!

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Gamers! was an anime that I was honestly excited to watch when it first started airing this past season. The first couple episodes were funny and the characters were people I could relate to as someone who avidly follows videogame culture. Then the episodes started to get more and more into relationship drama and I finally had to take a break at episode seven. It strange to think that as someone who loves romance, has built this blog around romance, that I would find relationship drama in this show grating and way too awkward to watch, but I did. However, I came back to the show a few days ago to write this review and found myself oddly enjoying it for the most part. There were still moments that annoyed me, but that instinctual hatred of awkward comedy that I was feeling before was dulled. I’m still on the fence about whether I like the series or not, but logically I can see the good and the bad in it.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on the Summer 2017 season, Gamers! is a show that follows the life and troubles of five high school students whose love of videogames brings them together. Their friendship quickly becomes fraught with misunderstandings, relationship drama, and he-said-she-said moments. Originally an ongoing light novel series written by Sekina Aoi, it was picked up by Studio Pine Jam for its 12 episode run. While not one of the top-rated shows of the season, it still clocked in at 7.33 on My Anime list. Continue reading

My Love Story Anime Review

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My Love Story has been on my list to check out for a while now, and I finally decided to give it a shot this week. This anime was adapted from a manga of the same name written by Kazune Kawahara with art by Aruko. It was picked up by studio Madhouse for animation and was simulcast on Crunchyroll in 2014. I went into this anime only knowing the small snippets I had heard from other people and other reviewers so I was honestly surprised to learn how many nominations and recommendations the manga had received among the shoujo genre. This is mostly because I found the series as a whole fairly hit and miss in terms of story and my own level of engagement and enjoyment.

This romantic comedy features the high school student Takeo Goda who doesn’t have much luck with women. He’s tall, muscular, and not classically handsome. To make matters worse, all the women he falls in love with are more attracted to his best friend Makoto Sunakawa. That all changes when he spots Rinko Yamato, a petite shy girl, getting groped on the train and rescues her. Takeo, who’s never had a girlfriend in his life, must now try to make sense of what it means to be in a relationship. Continue reading

Manga or Anime? Say I Love You

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I wanted to give something new a try this time around and take a look at some short anime series to see how they compare to the manga. For our first review, we have Say I Love You, created by Kanae Hazuki, and picked up for its 13 episode anime adaptation by Studio Zexcs and Sentai Filmworks. The manga itself currently has 17 volumes published with the 18th and final volume due to come out sometime this year. Like most anime adaptations, the manga continues well after the anime ends, but the question then becomes whether it’s actually worth it to continue reading the manga or even if it’s worth it to check out the anime. I’m hoping with these types of reviews, I can answer those questions for you guys. Over the past couple days I’ve binged through all 13 episodes of the anime and 17 volumes of the manga, and have come to the conclusion that while I love how the anime handles the story, the manga has its good points as well.

Say I Love You follows the growing love story between high school students Kurosawa Yamato and Tachibana Mei. Mei doesn’t trust people, not after being bullied her whole life, and refuses to make friends or open up to people. But that all changes when she round-house kicks the most popular boy in school, Yamato, and gains his unwavering attention and phone number. While she vows never to use it, soon finds herself hiding from a stalker in a convenience store with Yamato the only person she can call for help. After he shows up to rescue her and subsequently steals her first kiss, she begins to see that opening up to the people around her isn’t such a bad idea after all. Continue reading