Happy Saturday, chums! It feels fantastic to be blogging again after such a lengthy medical hiatus of sorts. While I’m not quite back to full-time posting yet, I do look forward to easing myself into it throughout October. Being able to put content together, even simple wrap-ups and reviews, will be a welcome reprieve of productivity that shall help me get some air of normalcy back into my life. Recovery has been going as decently as possible, however, to say that I’m not going a bit baddy from inactivity and constant, unfettered rest would be a grotesque lie. Some folx are just not made for resting. I am definitely Some Folx, oops.
Summer was an interesting season of anime watching for me. While I didn’t get through all of my initial watchlist, I did finish a lot of long-term projects that I had been picking at, most of which were re-watches. In that sense, I actually feel really accomplished with what I completed. Having the opportunity to re-visit old favourites with renewed perspective while dabbling in some unfamiliar titles gave me a refreshing season of entertainment, along with a couple new serials to add to my favourites stack.
This wrap-up covers everything that I watched between June and September. I didn’t watch anything in May at all, so there’s nothing from that month shared here. As per usual, everything shall be listed in order of completion. I’ll include a brief snippet, the genre, and links to respective AniList pages via the Japanese titles. If I have any First Impressions and/or reviews for the anime listed, then I’ll go ahead and link them as well. If there aren’t any reviews currently up for the stuff I mention here and you are interested in hearing more of my thoughts on it, please drop me a comment and I’ll definitely put something together for ya.
Shiki (屍鬼): A seinen, psychological horror anime about a small town that is struck with a terrible pandemic that slowly kills off the villagers one by one. This was such a mind-fuck of an anime series. The first three-fourths of it is a slow-burn story of intrigue and mystery as to what’s happening to this little town with the last quarter being a chaotic bloody massacre of epic proportions. I enjoyed the methodical way everything was revealed, however, I also felt that the overtly predictable plot took away too much intrigue and suspense from it, elements that would’ve made this so much more phenomenal than it was. My favourite aspect are the themes about mob mentalities, impermanence, and how humans are always at the top of the monster food chain no matter what or whom they’re facing. My first impressions. My full review.
Wakako-zake (ワカコ酒): A seinen, cooking anime short about a young office worker who likes to visit various restaurants and pubs after a hard day’s work. This is a very cute, very short series that I enjoyed quite a bit, more so as a compliment to the Japanese drama of the same name. By itself, the short can feel empty and brusque, however, when combined with either the drama or the original manga, it’s a supremely charming series that celebrates the practise of ohitorisama, or the custom of doing activities alone, which is a growing construct in Japanese society, one I respect and relate to quite a bit. My review goes into more detail on this custom and its portrayal in this franchise.
Sing “Yesterday” for Me (イエスタデイをうたって): A seinen, coming-of-age story about a group of individuals who must learn to navigate their present and future without the burdens of their past. I absolutely loved this series to bits. While the finale was super rushed and could’ve been better, overall the anime is about how adults can spend their entire lives focusing so much on the things that they lost, letting their futures pass them by. Learning to let go of the past in order to move forward is one of the hardest parts of being an adult and it can be easy for anyone to fall into those sentimental traps. Coupled with lovely music, gorgeous animation, and marvellously flawed characters, it was hands-down one of the best anime of 2020 for me. My full review goes into more detail on these themes, so check it out.
Lily C.A.T.: A seinen, sci-fi, horror film that released in the 1980s about an alien entity that terrorises people aboard a spacecraft, slowly killing them off. It becomes painfully obvious that this film is inspired by quite a few sci-fi classics, especially Alien, however the overall product was a hot mess of crap. First of all, there is a supremely graphic cat death in the film that made me so fucking angry. If any of y’all have been following BiblioNyan for a while, y’all know I don’t want to engage with stuff that has cat deaths in it. I wasn’t aware of its existence going into this film, so that was an extremely unpleasant surprise. Secondly, most of the film seemed to thrive off of shock value and grotesque deaths as a way to tell the story of corruption and government secrets, while being a clone regurgitation of classic sci-fi tropes. It was just one of the worst films that I have ever seen in my life, anime or otherwise, and I do not recommend it, especially if you’re a cat lover.
Flavours of Youth (詩季織々): A Japanese-Chinese co-produced anthology of shorts, it has three separate stories about the youthful struggles of individuals who’re trying to find their place in the world. This collection is stunning in animation and artistry, however. I wish there were a bit more use of food to help tell the stories of these characters as that was what seemed to be implied by the title and PV. The first story, The Rice Noodles, was an excellent tale about loss and love while using a comforting dish as the focal point of the theme. The other two had food, but it was so passing and inconsequential that it created a small disconnect from the first story (motif-wise) and title that it may have fared better in a different collection. Overall, the anthology was cute and pleasant if bittersweet. I was just expecting much more than I got. If you enjoy beautiful animation then I definitely recommend this anthology to you.
The Perfect Insider (すべてがFになる): A seinen, locked-room mystery anime that’s an adaptation of a book, it follows a genius and her teacher who are invited to meet with the world’s most brilliant engineer, a woman who’s been isolated from the world for fifteen years. However, when she ends up dead behind a locked-door, it’s up to the twosome to solve the mystery of her death. My only complaint with this anime is that it was way too predictable, more so if you are someone who understands math and numbers quite well. Beyond that, I fucking loved everything about it. It’s so intelligent and contemplative and does an extraordinary job of making a person ponder existentialism in ways that I haven’t seen in anime before. The story is dialogue-heavy and dense, but that just makes me love it more. It’s not an anime you can watch casually. To be intellectually engaged with it is the best way to experience it and it’s easily one of the best serials from the medium I’ve ever seen. If you like supremely brainy shows, then definitely watch this soon. My first impressions. My full review.
Ninja Scroll: The Series (獣兵衛忍風帖｢龍宝玉篇｣): A seinen, jidaigeki, supernatural series that is the sequel to the fantastic 1993 film about a rōnin named Jūbē who is charged with delivering a precious item to a princess. I loved the film so much. But this sequel series was absolutely atrocious. It has robots and technology that shouldn’t exist during the time period. Plus, the animation quality is terrible, the writing and storyline is a hot mess of what-the-fuck, and the action sequences are excruciating to watch. It’s hard to believe that this is in any shape related to the classic film. I honestly like to pretend like it isn’t. I ended up dropping this after a few episodes and cannot recommend it at all, more so if you were a fan of the original film. My first impressions.
InuYasha (犬夜叉): A shōnen, fantasy, romance anime series about a young girl named Kagome who falls into a well on her family’s property and gets transported 500 years back into Feudal Era Japan where she meets a half-demon boy named Inuyasha. Together they have to find and protect a magical jewel from falling into the hands of evil folx. I started my re-watch of this a year after moving into my new place (2016) as a way to move on from some dark and depressing events. I have slowly been watching a few episodes here and there whenever I could. Four years later, I finished my re-watch and I feel like it has made me fall in love with this series all over again for a whole new plethora of reasons. My goal is to do a discussion on this watching journey, so I won’t go into much detail here. But if you’ve ever been interested in watching InuYasha, I highly recommend you do so. It’s such an excellent fantasy anime and one of the best serials out that that span over 100 episodes. Even most of the fillers (usually follows Kagome when she goes back to modern-day for a while) are hilarious and heart-warming. It has some of the best writing I’ve seen and so many wonderfully empowering yet bittersweet themes on love, friendship, bullying, living with multiple identities, struggling with a sense of belonging, family, and much more.
InuYasha the Movie #3: Swords of an Honourable Ruler (映画犬夜叉 天下覇道の剣): This shōnen, fantasy film is about two swords and the two brothers who wield them, and how they must learn to find common ground to defeat a great evil. This is probably my favourite film from the series as it reveals so much about InuYasha’s and Sesshomaru’s father. Plus, watching everyone work together while still bickering their little heads off is wonderfully entertaining.
Goblin Slayer: Goblin’s Crown (ゴブリンスレイヤー -GOBLIN’S CROWN-): A seinen, fantasy film that’s a sequel to the anime series, it follows Goblin Slayer and his band of adventurers as they hunt down a new horde of Goblins who seem to have advanced in their use of strategy. My biggest problem with this film is that it is one and a half hours long with the first thirty to forty minutes being a gross recap of the entire 12-episodes of the series. The film would have been much better if it were released as an hour-long OVA/ONA instead of a film. It’s such a waste of time and was intensely aggravating to watch. I suspect this would be more irksome for folx who pick up the film right after watching the series (for example if someone were marathoning it in a day). The actual film’s story itself was okay. Nothing too inspired or overtly creative. It was entertaining and gave us some insight into the friendships everyone has formed since they began working together. But all in all, it was a humongous let-down because of that godawfully unnecessary recap.
Devil May Cry (デビル メイ クライ): A seinen, supernatural, horror anime adaptation of the video game franchise following a guy named Dante who hunts down and kills demons in a private detective sort of setting. This was a re-watch for me. I saw it on HULU and picked it up on a whim, then proceeded to watch it over a span of two days. I loved it my second time around as much as my first. It’s entertaining, has lots of badassry in it, a few familiar faces, and is just a great ride all around. The anime takes place between the first two games and can be watched as a stand-alone (meaning you don’t have to be familiar with the games to get enjoyment out of it). If you’re searching for a fun, spooky anime to see during October, definitely give this a shot, more so if you like big action akin to Black Lagoon.
07-Ghost (セブンゴースト): A josei, fantasy anime series about a young boy attending a military academy who via some plot events realises that his father was murdered and a strategist that he had looked up to may have been the murderer. He escapes so that one day he can get his revenge. When I began watching this, it sounded like a great fantasy story with some neat revenge elements to it. But the series is painfully dragged out. I had watched about ten or eleven episodes before realising that I wasn’t having any fun with it at all. Everything that transpired could have easily occurred in half that time. When the plot stopped moving forward, I became frustrated and ultimately dropped the show entirely. The animation was average as was the music and the characters. This was probably my most disappointing anime over the season as I had some decent expectations for it. As it stands, I don’t really recommend this at all. Check out my naïve first impressions here.
Aggretsuko Season 3 (アグレッシブ烈子第3期): A seinen, comedy-drama about an office worker who likes to do death metal karaoke after work to deal with the stresses of adulting. Yeah, I have nothing other than fantastic things to say about this series. I am so fucking obsessed with it. It’s an excellent portrayal of how frustrating being an adult can be whether one is dealing with professional woes or personal ones (romantic, familial, friendship). It makes you laugh while cringing with brutal relatability. When season three released, I binged the whole thing in one sitting. If you want an anime that is cute but perfectly crafted for adults, then you must watch Aggretsuko!
InuYasha the Movie #4: Fire on Mystic Island (映画犬夜叉 紅蓮の蓬莱島): This shōnen, fantasy film is the fourth and final one in the InuYasha franchise and follows InuYasha and friends as they try to hunt down Kikyō’s doppelganger before she can unleash a terrible power. This film is my second favourite because I loved the scenery and the overall story that surrounds a disappearing island. It has tons of sappy moments on friendships and standing up for oneself too. The only thing that felt awkward was the animation. For some reason, a lot of the characters seemed oddly shaped (too narrow) in a lot of the scenes and the 3D elements were disjointed. Even so, it’s still entertaining and a decent film overall.
Fruits Basket Season 2 (フルーツバスケット 2nd season): The second season in the new remake for a classic shōjo, RomCom, supernatural series about a young girl who is taken in by her classmates’ family when she finds herself homeless. She then discovers their family secret and becomes determined to help them find freedom from it. There’s not a lot I can say about this season that hasn’t already been said. It’s perfect. It made me cry. It made me laugh. It made me miss my brother. It gave me hope. It makes me want to be a better person. It is literally the perfect feel-good, coming-of-age anime. If you aren’t watching this new remake of Fruits Basket, whether you’re a veteran fan or a new one, then… you’re missing out on the time of your life. My first impressions (season one). Tōru Honda Character Spotlight.
The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED (富豪刑事): A seinen, detective series about rich-boy Daisuke Kambe who gets partnered with a normal detective dude after he joins the Modern Crime Prevention Task Force, and the fancy shmancy ways he uses his family’s wealth to solve crimes. This show is fucking BOSS! I loved it. The music is fucking fire and so badass. The animation is goddamn gorgeous. The characters all have fun personas that set them apart from one another. Kambe and his partner Kato are a hilarious, unlikely duo that have great chemistry. There’s a mystery that sprouts up later on in the show that I was worried would create a huge disconnect in the story, but the writers ended up making it work rather well with what they had already established. Overall, it was one of my favourite anime titles for 2020 and I’d love a second season so much, although I doubt we’ll get one, sadly. If you want a funny and entertaining James Bond-type cop show with idiotically loveable characters, then definitely give this a watch.
Demon Slayer (鬼滅の刃): A shōnen, dark fantasy, martial arts series about a kid who comes home to his entire family being slaughtered by demons. His sister is the sole survivor, but she was turned into a demon. Determined to help her become human again, he vows to protect her while ridding the realm of demons via the Demon Slayer Corps. Oh man… when I first began this series, I loved it so much. It blew my mind (like many other otaku out there) with this vast potential. But then as it introduced some new characters, it became so frustratingly stupid with these immature hijinks that I couldn’t stand it. I had to put the series on hold for a long time. A part of me wanted to drop it entirely, but I really liked the core concept and was invested in Nezuko’s plight (the demon sister). So, instead I stepped away. In August, I started picking away at it again slowly and then finally finished it right before my surgery in September. While I still hate the whiny and obnoxious characters that make up most of the cast, I was happy that I stuck through it until the end. The action in the series is really beautiful and I find the way it was crafted, aesthetically speaking, to be very unique. It sets the show apart and gives us a glimpse at the potential that ufotable has as a production company. I just wish the characters weren’t so fucking annoying.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie (劇場版NARUTO−ナルト− 疾風伝): The shōnen, martial arts film is the first film instalment in the Shippūden series of the franchise and follows Naruto’s team as they escort a maiden to a shrine to help stop a powerful entity from wreaking havoc on the world. I enjoyed the film for what it was, which is a popcorn-type entertaining action flick, however, I’m also sick and tired of every single Naruto film being nothing but a glorified escort mission. It seems to be getting a bit stale to me and I wish there were more narrative elements to these films aside from trying to protect Person A or B as they go from Point 1 to Point 2. On a technical level, the 3D elements in the film were horrendous and felt terribly out-of-place with the hand-drawn aspects. Even the fight scenes in the film were a bit unimpressive. Story wise, it’s more of what’s expected from a Naruto film. He helps escorts someone to where they need to go while lecturing them about friendships and bonds and helping them to become a better person in the process. It’s all so damn singularly formulaic. All in all, I’d say it was a supremely average watching experience all around.
Phi Brain: Puzzle of God Season 1 (ファイ・ブレイン 神のパズル): A shōnen, adventure series about a couple of genius kids who are basically professional puzzle solvers. After they discover a great artefact, the puzzles they get tasked with solving turn into life or death situations. This is an anime that I dropped simply because I fell out of touch with it. I watched the first few episodes and then became quickly distracted with other projects. When I tried to return to it, I just couldn’t get back into it. Phi Brain isn’t an anime I want to give up on entirely because the concept really is something I’d normally enjoy. Even so, my ability to focus on this type of series at the moment is non-existent so I’m going to put it on pause until I’m ready for it again one day. With that said, I do wish the puzzles were a bit more entertaining and relied less on the main character’s use of an artefact and more on his own intellect. I feel that would make the show feel much better all around. Thus far, that’s my only real gripe. My first impressions.
That’s everything that I watched over the summer, from June to September. I did re-watch a couple of others that I make a point of watching routinely like clockwork every few months or so and those were Black Lagoon and Ouran High School Host Club. I haven’t completed anything yet for October, but I do have my hands in some fun shows and I’m hoping to have them wrapped-up in the upcoming week or so. Some of the anime I’m currently watching include InuYasha: The Final Act, Real Girl Season 1, and Sword Art Online II. A couple shows I hope to start over the weekend are Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit and Japan Sinks 2020.
I hope y’all had a decent season of anime watching yourselves! As I mentioned before, if there’s anything here that you’d like to see a review of (or other discussion type post), please let me know and I’ll gladly put one together.