Boku dake ga Inai Machi: Mentally projecting through time

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi ran from 2012 to 2016 in its manga form from author Sanbe Kei. At the beginning of 2016, it also got an anime adaptation from A-i pictures. Which concluded in March. This is the same studio that gave us Kuroshitsuji, Anohana, Valkyria Chronicles, Uchuu Kyoudai, Sword Art Online & OreImo. For me, their track record has been extremely mixed. With some of those anime being strong, some being more middling and some, SAO & OreImo, being foetid piles of excrement. So, let’s look at Boku Dake ga Inai Machi and see how it compares to the studio’s other works.

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Story:

Satoru is a failed manga artist making ends meet by delivering pizzas. He also has a strange power, revival. When something is about to go wrong around him, he finds himself a couple minutes back in time so that he can search for signs of what’s about to go wrong and intervene. During one such incident, he saves a young child from an out of control truck and gets in an accident in the process. His mother shows up to his flat to help him recuperate. While they’re out shopping, he experiences a revival and asks her if she notices anything amiss. She spots someone about to abduct a child. He notices and scarpers. She snaps a picture of his car and is reminded of an incident from when Satoru was a child. She mentions a belief that the case is still unsolved in spite of a man being in prison for it. Later on, Satoru returns home to find her murdered and he’s the primary suspect. In grief and panic, his mind reaches 141.6 km per hour and he experiences the biggest revival of his life, with his mind sent all the way back eighteen years to just before the serial abduction case. In order to change the future, the now eleven year old Satoru has to find the truth behind the incident and prevent it from happening.

While the premise is very compelling, there are some pretty significant flaws with the execution. The most substantial being that the mystery element is too obvious. While there aren’t many clues to go on, there also aren’t any suspects that fit those clues and are also major enough characters to be viable except one bloke. So, you can pretty readily figure out that it’s either going to be that guy or the Baron showing up out of nowhere.

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(the face of true evil)

The series could have really benefited from having more major adult characters who could have potentially been the culprit. There’s also a bit of a problem with Satoru gaining knowledge out of nowhere. For example, there’s a part where Satoru is looking over the files on the abduction case from when he was a child and he somehow knows instinctively that the killer murdered one child in particular to throw suspicion off of himself. What, did he peek at the script? But that actually brings me to another story aspect that bothers me. The police investigation of this case was downright inept. From two young girls being murdered, they came to the conclusion that their culprit was definitively targeting girls and only girls. Seriously? I’m pretty sure that a sample size of two victims is not enough to make definite claims about someone’s modus operandi. I’m sure they’d look for commonalities, but I’m also pretty sure the response to a boy joining the victims wouldn’t be “our perpetrator must have thought that he was a girl.” At that point, it’s just as likely that the culprit is just going after children and doesn’t care about their sex.

On some more positive notes, the premise is highly compelling. And, while the mystery falls woefully short, the thriller element is very strong with a lot of strong tension. The series also does a really good job of tackling some difficult and serious issues like child abuse. The ending is really good. The series also does have a very strong atmosphere with a lot of really good scenes playing off of it. The anime is also pretty well-paced especially given how much longer the manga version is.

Characters:

Boku dake ga inai machi is one of those works where the shortcomings of the plot are somewhat offset by the strength of the characters. It has a really strong cast. Sachiko is, quite possibly the best anime mother I’ve ever seen and her strength as a character really helps add to that tension since part of what Satoru is trying to do is save her. His young friends are also pretty complex characters who still manage to feel like children. Some people may take issue with Satoru’s character and how his young self, in spite of having his adult mind, still acts largely like a child. However, there are two possible explanations for it that would make complete sense. The first is that he has the adult’s memories and knowledge but he’s sharing his mind with his childhood self. One of his friends even suggests that, at times, he seems like someone else which would support that idea. The second possibility is that he has his adult mind but he still has an underdeveloped child’s brain so that he can’t fully utilise it. Which would make sense based on actual brain development. It could also be a combination of the two, I suppose. The point is, I’m not going to complain about the story not explicitly stating it when there are ready explanations that make perfect sense.

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Art:

The artwork and animation in this are well done. There are a lot of nice details and it does do a really superb job of helping build and maintain that atmosphere. The film reel image for Satoru’s time travel is an effective one. About the only thing I would say in criticism of it is that the character designs are pretty standard. They look fine but they also look like the characters you’d see in a lot of other works. Exempting only the pronounced lips on certain characters.

Sound:

This series does have a strong cast. For me, the performances that stood out were Mistushima Shinnosuke & Tsuchiya Tao (as older and younger Satoru), Yuuki Aoi as Hinazuki and Takayama Minami as Sachiko. There really weren’t any weak performances, but those four were the best. The music, on the other hand… it’s all right. Kajiura Yuki has certainly done a lot better but there’s nothing really wrong with it.

Ho-yay:

This series really doesn’t have any. It doesn’t do much in terms of romance, really.

Final Thoughts:

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is a good series. The weakest aspect is the narrative itself which, though flawed, is still decent. Aside from that, the characters are great. The artwork is good. The acting is great and the music is decent enough. If the premise seems interesting to you, even knowing that the mystery is weak, try it. If the mystery being weak is going to ruin it for you or the premise doesn’t seem interesting, give it a pass. For me, it’s a solid 7/10. Next week I’ll be looking at another request with Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. We’ll see how that goes.

Combining games for fun and profit

Lately, we’ve seen quite a few games released that combine the mechanics of two different games. Dynasty Warriors with both Zelda & Dragon Quest. Etrian Odyssey with Mystery Dungeon & Persona. Tekken with Pokémon. And that’s just to name a few. On one hand, it’s easy to understand why this happens. It’s an easy way to do something new with a franchise while also using game mechanics that are tried and true, even if they are such for a completely different game franchise. It’s also undoubtedly true that some of these combination games have been really good, melding elements of the two games for something that manages to be, strangely enough, unique.

Yeah, I’m not going to slag off the practice itself. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of five game combinations I’d like to see. Sorted by the one I’d like to see the least to the one I’d like the most.

5. Pokémon & Endless Ocean.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Endless Ocean, the idea is that you’re a diver mucking about underwater in various areas, interacting with marine life to learn about them including feeding and petting them. You even get dolphin friends to swim around with you. It’s a very relaxing game. Imagine how perfect that format would be for a game where you take the role of a Pokémon professor. You could explore various environments, not just the ocean but the forest, mountains and such, while studying wild Pokémon and gaining information for your Pokédex in the most world-building Pokémon game to date with an emphasis on exploration and environment rather than on battling. It wouldn’t be for every Pokémon fan but I’d certainly buy and sink hours of time into it.

4. Metroid & Borderlands

It’s no secret that I love most of the Metroid franchise, except that one game that basically nobody liked where Samus had Daddy issues for some reason. The games are about exploration and making your way through hostile worlds. However, one thing they haven’t really taken advantage of is the fact that Samus is a bounty hunter. Which is why I think it could benefit from taking some cues from Borderlands. Giving us a Metroid game with city hubs and quests. They could even adapt the gold rewards system to have Samus unlock armour, missile and weapon upgrades instead of just having her lose her power-ups and have to relocate them, usually attached to random statues.

3. Dragon Quest & Dissidia

Having a Final Fantasy based fighting game, that isn’t Ehrgeiz or anything like Ehrgeiz, was a brilliant move on Square-Enix’s part. And I’d love to see the same kind of treatment given to their other big RPG franchise, Dragon Quest. just tweak the mechanics a bit to be more suitable for the franchise and you’d almost certainly have a hit.

2. Persona & X-men Legends

The great thing about this combination is that it would work either way. You could have a more action-oriented Persona game where you can switch between characters readily and summon your personae for special attacks or a more traditional X-men RPG with an emphasis on the character dynamics. Which would also have the benefit of letting characters who don’t really work with the Legends style of gameplay, characters like Shadowcat, Mirage & Karma, take active roles in the party.

1. Fire Emblem & Neptunia

I know, I’m weird. That being said, I would love to see a more action-RPG style Fire Emblem game  where enemy soldiers are scattered throughout a map and you can avoid or engage them while making your way through the map. Where scavenging for materials is a big deal. With a female cast and where the Support conversation system is combined with Neptunia’s Lily rank system for a bit more of an involved dynamic when your ladies reach C, B, A or S-rank. Honestly, it could easily replace Blazing Sword as my favourite Fire Emblem title if it had characters and a narrative on par with it. Even if it couldn’t really include perma-death with a more Neptunia style battle system.

There you have it, some game combinations I, in all my eccentricity, would personally like to see. Feel free to leave your own ideas for cool combinations that haven’t been done yet in the comments.

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: Third time is not the charm

Rakudai kishi no Cavalry is an ongoing light novel series from Misora Riku. Near the end of last year an anime adaptation aired. It was handled by Nexus and Silver Link. Silver Link being the studio behind WataMote & Baka To Test. Yeah, that’s not an auspicious sign. Then again, those are the only two series that they did the main work on that I’ve reviewed or even seen. Their studio probably has some really good stuff of their own. I know that some of the stuff they’ve done in-between animation for has been quite good. So, let’s look at this thing and see if the third time will, indeed, be the charm.

Story:

Ikki is the worst magical knight. He’s at the bottom of his class in ranking and can’t even get proper lessons because his stats are so low. One day, he returns to his room to find a young lady changing her clothes. Not knowing what else to do, he apologises for seeing what he saw and takes off his clothes to make up for it. He later finds out that this is his new room mate. Princess Stella Vermillion, a high ranking magical knight exchange student. The two have a mock battle to decide who gets to make their room’s rules. After the obvious upset, the two and the rest of their school begin competing in a tournament to determine who will represent them at some big magic knight battle event.

Let’s talk about the comedy in this series for a moment. I know, it’s an action fantasy romance and not a comedic work. However, it does try to inject quite a few comedic moments. The problem is that these comedic attempts are just poor. They all seem to be based on something being unusual. The perky teacher who constantly vomits blood or Stella’s entire body turning bright red in a slightly over the top way. Misora doesn’t seem to understand that unusual does not equate to funny. I could sew newsie caps onto the shoulders of my coat and it would be weird but it wouldn’t really be funny and the same can be said for these moments. They’re odd and, at times, out of place but they aren’t funny.

Let’s move on to the main narrative. We have an underdog hero in a tournament with a bunch of other teens who all have special powers. It’s a very trite, very done to death type of story. I’ve reviewed two series that used the same premise, at least as far as I can remember ff the top of my head, four if you count the tournament arcs in Dragonball and Yu Yu Hakusho and there are quite a few more out there. Rakudai kishi no Cavalry takes this very over-used, standard premise and does nothing unique or original with it. It follows every cliché with no surprises which just serves to make it incredibly predictable and pretty boring when it comes right down to it.

That brings me to the biggest weakness of the series, the romance. Like the main narrative, the romance is very trite and standard in terms of its arc. However, it also suffers from there being no chemistry between the leads whatsoever. They barely know each other and have been nothing but antagonistic and then, suddenly she has a thing for him. All in the same episode. No explanation or motivation behind it. It’s just contrived and weak. Then she starts acting tsundere towards him and then the obvious arc is obvious. Granted, it could be worse. His younger sister could be introduced as a romantic rival. Cavalry2.png

(Ikki with his sister…)

This romance is utter shite.

Characters:

So, with such a standard plot do we at least get strong characters? After all, Nanoha Vivid managed to do something pretty good with the same story just by virtue of having strong characters. So, what do we get here? The bland protagonist who acts like basically every generic nice guy protagonist ever, I’m going to call him Blandon from this point on. The tsundere princess, I’m going to call her OA from this point on because it amuses me to do so. The creepily devoted little sister. The supportive trans-girl and a bunch of archetypical characters on the side. The closest you get to any character arcs are the standard doubting yourself for reasons and having to get out of it thing that Blandon undergoes near the end and OA’s spontaneous romantic interest in Blandon. And even those character arcs are ones that are often associated with the tropes the characters embody. I will give the series some credit for not using the trans-girl for a bunch of really tasteless jokes, they do have one, when so many series would have but that’s not saying much. Save that the series could have been tackier.

Art:

The artwork in this is a bit mixed. On the positive side, there is some really nice background design The battle between the little sister & the student council President is pretty decent. The character designs also look mostly okay if a bit standard, except that their eyes are done in such a way that it looks like they’re all constantly wearing heavy eye-liner. On the down side, this is a series with really tasteless, really tacky uses of fan-service. There’s also an issue with most of the action sequences being really weak. So, not only do you have this bog-standard plot but there aren’t even good action sequences to make it worthwhile. Instead, we get these very quick matches that end before anything exciting can happen or these kind of standard hero gets knocked around a bit before winning matches. The final match in the series is the absolute worst offender. They build it up quite a bit and then it’s over in ten seconds. What’s the point of a super-powered tournament plot if there aren’t even going to be good fight scenes? Then, we have the “artistic” art choices. We’ve seen some of these in other reviews, the odd slanted shots in Phantom and such. Inn this one, they use mostly black and white with little colour during Blandon’s doubting arc. To be fair, they do actually need to do this for practical reasons. There’s nothing to the character beyond the trope so the art has to try and convey the emotional tone that the character himself can’t carry.

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Sound:

The acting in this is not very good. It suffers from the same issue as a lot of anime with weak characters, the vocal cast is very limited in what they can actually do with them. You can’t give a complex performance to Blandon or OA or any of these other characters because they have no complexity. Instead, we get the actors doing the standard performances that go with the tropes. They may not be strong, emotional performances but they’re the best you can expect under the circumstances. The music is pretty forgettable. It’s not Nakagawa Kotaro’s best, certainly but it’s not bad. Remember, he did work on the music for Code Geass.

Ho-yay:

There really isn’t any in the series.

Final Thoughts:

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry is a bad series. The plot is trite. The romance is outright atrocious. The characters are weak with acting to match. The action is mostly pretty bad, culminating in an unforgivably short and disappointing climactic battle. If you’re looking for a series where super-powered characters battle one another, you’d be better off with Nanoha Vivid, Shaman King, Dragonball, Yu Yu Hakusho or even the Law of Ueki. That being said, I have seen worse series. At least the backgrounds are nice and most of its flaws, though glaring, veer more towards stupidity than they do towards painfully terrible to watch. As such, my final rating is a 3/10. Next week I’m going to look at Boku dake ga Inai Machi. Hopefully, it will be better than this was.

Charlotte: Star-gazing & Super powers

Charlotte is an ongoing manga from Maeda Jun, the same writer as Angel Beats. He also did some work on Air, which was considerably less impressive. Last year, Charlotte got a thirteen episode anime adaptation from P.A. Works. The same studio behind both Angel Beats & Another. Knowing nothing else about the series, that’s a couple of good signs. We’ve got a writer who’s shown skill in another work and the same studio that worked with him on it. On the other hand, Penguindrum also had a writer and studio that had both shown great ability before and we all know how that turned out. I’m still cautiously optimistic for this one, so let’s take a look.

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Story:

We open with our protagonist, Otosaka Yuu, explaining that he has the power to take control of other people for five seconds when he’s within visual range of them. He uses this power to cause trouble for people he doesn’t like, peep, manipulate events to his advantage and cheat at school. With the only disadvantage being that his regular body slumps over while he’s doing it. One day, he’s approached by a member of the student council who sits him down to retake a test. Otosaka tries to take control of him to get the answers, only to find that the supposed answer sheet is something entirely different. He finds himself being chased by two students from a different school, Tomori & Takajou. Both of whom exhibit strange abilities like his own. They explain that the abilities manifest at adolescence, like Marvel’s mutant powers but, unlike those, they fade away with time. The two compel him to join them at their school. That’s where the meat of our story begins.

There are a few points that act to the series’ detriment. The first is that it has some tonal problems. We start out with things keeping a fairly light-hearted and kind of silly tone but, not quite halfway through, things suddenly get pretty dark and a lot more serious. It’s more than a little awkward. The second issue is with the very final episode. This episode crams in enough material that, well-paced, should be at least three or four episodes. As a result things that should get developed more strongly or that should be built up or that should have some time to develop tension, end up getting rushed through as everything gets wrapped up. Finally, we have a slight problem with the romance. To Maeda’s credit, I do like that the main romance in this is built on mutual respect and that it does drive both characters involved to be better people. However, the romance arc itself unravels in a pretty clichéd way and it’s not one that develops particularly naturally.

That being said, there are a lot of strong points to the series. The more light-hearted moments are really enjoyable and funny. There are also some really strong emotional moments. If the series had done a better job of integrating both from the get go, both would be handled nearly flawlessly. As is, the execution is still very impressive. The story itself is also strong at introducing hints about the main narrative throughout the more episodic content, which allows for some strong tension as things progress further and you get more curious about where they’re going with certain things. I also do like the way the series handles its super powers. It’s a refreshingly unique and clever take on the way those kinds of stories are usually done.

Characters:

Maeda actually takes a pretty significant risk in introducing the main character in this series. Namely, there’s nothing likeable or even that interesting about Otosaka in our initial look at the character. He’s petty, pervy and just generally terrible. Only after we get this initial, bad impression does the character start getting fleshed out and his positive aspects start coming through. First impressions mean a lot and this could have, in the hands of a less skilled writer, killed any potential for us to identify with him. However, in this case it works. For one thing, the first positive traits we’re exposed to are the result of his affection towards his little sister, which does have verisimilitude. We also see the character gradually change as a result of his interactions with the student council. Not only that, but his negative traits are still present, just less pronounced. He also does suffer consequences for all the nasty things we see him do. The other major characters are pretty compelling and developed as well. There are some really strong interactions among the characters in this. The side characters vary quite a bit. Some are pretty fleshed out while others are stagnant and flat.

Art:

I have to give P.A. Works credit on this one. The animation in this is pretty fantastic. The backgrounds are very nicely detailed. It’s a very nice looking series.

Sound:

We get some really strong vocal performances in this. Especially coming from Sakura Ayane, Uchiyama Kouki, Uchida Maaya & Ono Daisuke. The music from Anant-Garde Eyes & Maeda Jun is really well done. Which isn’t really surprising since they also worked on the music for Angel Beats.

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Ho-yay:

There is a little bit. When Yuu’s sister, Ayumi, talks about Yusa she tends to get hearts in her eyes and nose bleeds which kind of indicate that she has a crush.

Final Thoughts:

So, with everything said and done this anime is great. There are a lot of narrative and character strengths with really strong acting, music and artwork. While there are a few factors that do hold it back, it’s still a great watch. If you were a fan of Maeda’s work on Angel Beats or the premise sounds good to you, check it out. My final rating is going to be a strong 8/10. Next week, I’ll look at another requested anime with Rakudai kishi no cavalry.

Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-Chan 2: Mirth gets bludgeoned

Overall, this has been a positive year so far. Lots of really strong series, nothing too bad. Obviously, that had to change at some point. Which is why we find ourselves looking at the follow up to Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, a terrible anime from Hal film maker about an angel who beats her love interest to death, brings him back to life and that’s basically the big joke that we kept getting. I’m not looking forward to this one, but let’s move in and see how many more gruesome domestic abuse scenes they can cram in and treat as humorous.

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Story:

We pick up where the last series left off. Sakura is living with the angel sisters, Dokuro and Zakuro. He’s trying to live a normal life and get the attention of the girl he likes at his school but that’s consistently ruined by Dokuro torturing and murdering him, but it’s okay because she brings him back to life afterwards and that makes it funny because… people dying horribly and gruesomely is hilarious according to this series.

The humour is much the same kind of thing that the first series offered. We have gross out humour with the over the top gore effects and perverted humour that’s really used more as an excuse to show Dokuro and Zakuro in skimpy outfits than it is for actual comedic attempts. This is one of those series that seems to be based firmly on the idea that sex and violence sell and you don’t need any charm or clever witticisms. After all, even semi-clever jokes would have interfered with this OVA’s mission to route your blood flow away from the brain. The humour is also quite repetitive with Dokuro getting angry and mutilating or murdering Sakura with little or no provocation. It really shouldn’t be possible for a joke to get stale with less than an hour of content, but they manage. So, does this one have any legitimately funny moments at all? Personally, I thought that Corpse Party did the over the top violent humour much better and it wasn’t trying to be funny.

Characters:

This cast of characters is pretty horrendous. I’ll give comedic series some leeway when it comes to character complexity since they really only need to play off of each other well for comedic purposes, but this cast doesn’t even have that much going for them. We get the same few unfunny pay-off reactions repeated.

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Art:

The artwork is pretty lazy with fountains of blood gore effects, really basic character designs and minimal backgrounds. The most effort they put in is for the tacky fan-service scenes. Which shouldn’t be surprising after the first series.

Sound:

Like the first series, the theme tune is easily the best aspect of Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan 2. However, it is weakened a bit by being a pretty lazy remix of the first series’ theme tune. Rather like Toei did with Futari Wa Precure: Max Heart. The acting is either obnoxiously exaggerated or emotionless and dull, depending on which character is speaking. Which is a pity since there are some really good actresses here. Chiba Saeko, to give an example, voiced Nina in Code Geass, Azmaria in Chrno Ctrusade & Natsuki in Mai-Hime/Otome. She can give such strong performances. It just doesn’t happen here because there’s nothing to work with.

Ho-yay:

There are some “jokes” that imply that Zansu is romantically interested in Sakura. Aside from that, there’s really not any.

Final Thoughts:

This series is not good, at all. It’s crude, tacky and generally tasteless with the same basic jokes the first OVA had. So, if you’re a fan of the gross out/ fan-servicey humour, you might get a kick out of it otherwise, I would stay far away. For myself, I was not amused. I was quickly annoyed by the series and tired of its nonsense. I give Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan 2 a 2/10. Next week we’ll move away from sequels and talk about Charlotte.

Q&A: The yuri factor and more

I’ve been getting some really good questions directed to me on MAL, so I thought I’d go over them and answer them for you guys. 

  1. I am just curious why you add yuri factor, etc. at the end of your reviews?

    Because, clearly, having ho-yay is the most important thing in any series. 

    In all honesty, this one goes back to my time on the Gamespot forums when I started to do these reviews as part of an anime union. At the time, I was also in a yuri fan club union with a bunch of the other people in that union. So, including the yuri factor was something I knew they’d like reading. As time went by and I parted ways with GS, I extended that to a more general ho-yay factor since there was no more reason to keep it limited and I didn’t want to get rid of it, because I was having fun doing it. 

  2. What are some of your favourite anime/manga?

    Obviously, Superbook. Ignore where I said it was one of the worst in another post. It tries to indoctrinate good little children and that’s a cause we can all gt behind.

    Answering this one honestly, I could be a dick and point to the anime I’ve given high reviews but, instead, I’ll name some manga and some anime that might not have gotten the highest scores, but that I have a fondness for. So, I’d have to say that I really love 20th Century Boys. I also really love the Sasameki Koto manga, moreso than the anime by virtue of it being complete.I also have a special fondness for basically everything written by Milk Morinaga. In terms of anime, I do have a special fondness for the Sailor Moon anime even if its series haven’t gotten the highest of ratings from me. 

  3. There’s quite a lot of people on this site who lash back maliciously when you don’t agree or make a disagreeable opinion. Have you met anyone as unreasonable?

    Not at all. No one is ever nasty on the Internet.

    On MAL, absolutely. Not on WordPress, but that could be that comments can be easily moderated and people who are inclined to be arseholes might consider it not worth their time since I could erase their long, angry rants. I probably wouldn’t unless they used slurs, but they probably don’t consider the risk worth their time and energy. The worst I’ve gotten have been angry Evangelion fans. I’ve spoken with some Eva fans who were perfectly nice too, but they have definitely been outnumbered by the people who were very angry that I didn’t say nice things about their super sacred and above reproach of any kind series. I also did encounter a couple furious Yu Yu Hakusho fans who seemed to think that a “7” was a terrible score for the series and I’ve been berated by angry One Piece fans. There have been a couple fans of various other series who were really unhappy with me too, but those are the ones who stand out. 

  4. Would you watch yaoi and yuri?

    Absolutely not because I hate romance. 

    I have done a few series, actually. And if any of you have any more requests for yaoi or yuri, put them in the comments. As long as they aren’t actual hentai, I don’t mind doing them at all. 

  5. Have you travelled outside of Germany before? If so, where?

    You mean, leave my basement and interact with people in the real world? Sounds horrifying. 

    I have, actually. Mostly countries that are nearby. I’ve been to The Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark & the Netherlands. They’re all countries with rich cultures and lovely people, mostly lovely people. 

  6. Ohh you write stories?

    No, but the AI in my PC does and posts them online. 

    I do, yes. My other WordPress site is all about stories and it gets updated twice a week. I’ll end the shameless self-promotion there, for now. 

  7. Anyway, any favourites for female seiyuus?

    I almost joked by putting some terrible English dub actresses, but I don’t want to even pretend to find them passable so I’ll just answer the question. I really love the work of Hayashibara Megumi. I would also say Itou Shizuka, Kawakami Tomoko, Paku Romi & Ogata Megumi. There are lots of other really skilled voice actresses, but those are the ones I would call favourites. 

  8. What about for male seiyuu?

    Sir Patrick Stewart has done some voice work on one of those really awful Seth Macfarlane comedies, right? 

    As much as I love Sir Patrick as an actor, I’ll stick to anime voice actors who weren’t in really egregious butcherings of Nausicaä. I would say Ishida Akira, Sakurai Takahiro, Koyasu Takehito,Morikawa Toshiyuki & Hayami Show. 

  9. By the way do you always watch your anime with the original language?

    No. I actually really like to find bad dubs and punish myself with them. 

    These days, yes. I used to try Deutsch or English dubs if I heard they were really good, but I stopped doing that because the people who were saying these were good were clearly had different standards of good acting than I do. I’ve never reviewed the non-Japanese dub because I’m sure most of you don’t want a long paragraph dedicated to my trashing the performances. Especially those of you who do watch and enjoy those.

    So, there you have some questions I got asked and the answers. I hope you liked it. Here’s a picture of a dog to close things:

    Jelly Baby

Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka? The return of girls named after drinks.

Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka was a really enjoyable slice of life series with fun characters and strong comedic moments. I think that we’re probably going to see a pretty comparable level of work with White Fox’s second series of it, but first, let’s briefly talk about the first series. Cocoa moved into a new area where she’s staying at the Rabbit House Café and using sister to describe Chino, the younger girl who runs Rabbit House. The two of them have friends from two competitors and a friend who works with them and the five of them engage in hijinks. There’s also a rabbit that houses the soul of Chino’s grandfather and talks…. because. So, let’s see if the second series provides new and improved hijinks for us.

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Story:

Like the first series, there’s no over-arcing story here. Cocoa has been at Rabbit House with Chino and their other friends for a year. They play around, get their work done and shenanigans happen. The comedic value is largely derived from our major characters, their quirks and their interactions with one another. Taken as a whole, it works really well. The situations they find themselves in readily lend themselves to comedic possibilities and most of the jokes that you get are amusing. About the worst you can say about the comedy is that some of the jokes are kind of obvious and that does weaken their impact.

Characters:

The cast in GochiUsa is still not the deepest or most complex. However, they are incredibly endearing and entertaining. They’re varied enough that they can play off of one another really strongly for comedic purposes and there are some really good non-comedic interactions too. This series does more with Megu & Maya than the first did. It also brings in Cocoa’s sister, which leads to some very funny moments and Aoyama’s editor. She barely appears but both the scenes that feature her are really hilarious.

Art:

The strongest aspect of the artwork is definitely the background details. White Fox does a superb job of making the buildings, plants and various other background objects detailed and vibrant. The characters look decent, but they’re also pretty standard for a moe style.

Sound:

The performances in this are really well done. We’ve got Sakura Ayane, Minase Inori, Uchida Maaya, Taneda Risa, Sato Satomi, Hayami Saori, Tokui Sora, & Murakawa Rie in prominent roles and all of them give really strong performances. The music is also really well done.

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Ho-yay:

This series builds on the first, including developing the relationship with Sharo and Rize which outright involves romantic feelings on Sharo’s part. Cocoa really has a thing about getting younger girls to call her sister and I remain convinced that she’s thinking of it in the shoujo-ai trope way. This series also gives us Mocha, Cocoa’s actual sister. Basically Mocha’s interactions with all of the girls save Cocoa read as a bit yuri. Chiya also gets involved in a fair bit of les-yay in this series. It’s all very cutesy and somewhat subdued because the series doesn’t want to go full canon with it, but it’s certainly there.

Final Thoughts:

Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka series two is a thoroughly enjoyable series with endearing characters, strong comedic elements, and superb acting. If the moe type of slice of life series isn’t your thing, it’s not likely to change your mind but if you enjoy that type of series sometimes, you might want to give both series a watch. Which brings me to the final score. Overall, the second series builds off of the first and provides a somewhat improved experience. Which is what a good sequel should do. As such, my final rating is going to be a 9/10. Next week, I’ll talk about yet another sequel to a series I’ve reviewed with Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan series 2.