It took the airing of a sequel to kick my butt into finishing the first season of Nisekoi, a show I had stalled on, then backlogged, back when it first came out at the beginning of last year. Here we are more than a year later in the midst of summer (hooray, June, my birth month!!) and I’m all caught up on the antics. I was sorely disappointed that the ending didn’t bring with it any resolution of the lock-and-key mystery, though that was to be expected with the presence of a sequel. In a way, I felt like I was cheating since I already knew when beginning the original that there was more material to be had and any cliffhanger would immediately be rendered useless.
My feelings towards this show and its characters have been all over the board, and continue to remain in a wobbly state. At first, I was bored with the premise, and had an obvious preference for the only mutual feelings of affection between Ichijou and Onodera. As I was sucked into the rest of the episodes, I slowly warmed up to Chitoge and her bodyguard, Tusugumi. The only person who maintains my disdain is Marika, who I wish would take her unwanted affections and vanish off the screen. Unfortunately, the best girl of the show, Onodera’s best friend Ruri, isn’t part of the harem.
Everything in this series is a re-hash of what has been done before: character archetypes, plot scenarios, conflicts. Nisekoi doesn’t bring anything new to the boards and is ridiculously easy to predict, but it does perform what we already know reliably well.
If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I would pick up this CG-heavy, cutesy battle girls show, I would’ve laughed you off of my screen. I’ve come a long way from my earlier disdain for CG, thanks in large part to gems like Sidonia no Kishi and Sanzoku no Musume Ronja, and the application to Etotama remains with the battle sequences, leaving most everything else to 2D. My true aversion to this show came mainly from the harem set up and bawdy interactions, which oddly enough have now faded into the background of my viewing experience. Etotama slowly but steadily charmed me with its zodiac members and Nya-tan’s well-meaning but usually chaotic actions, the self-aware comedy, and very prettily executed battles.
I can’t begin to count the number of times that The Irregular at Magic High School was recommended to me, so after enough reminders, I finally picked up this show (viewable on both Netflix and Crunchyroll) over the winter and just recently finished it. I don’t remember why I skipped it when it first aired, but it took only one to two episodes for me to add this to my watch list. The setting was none too unique–a high school instructing students on magic and organized by entrance scores–but the lead characters firmly took a hold of the tone of the series through their capability and set themselves apart from other magical high school anime.
“Takeo-kun has really nice skin…and his eyebrows and sideburns really get to me…and his broad shoulders, and nice pecs…and his lips are so sexy!..His hands are so big, too. They make my heart race! I really want to cuddle, and hold hands, and stuff.” -Yamato Rinko
A modern day Beauty and the Beast, Ore Monogatari!! takes a much sweeter route through its tale of romance. Yamato Rinko appears to be your typical adorable female shoujo lead, with her small stature, high voice, and pure aura. Gouda Takeo towers over her and many full-fledged adults with a body builder’s muscles and penetrating stare. But unlike the fairy tale, our girl isn’t a hostage, and our guy is neither prideful, nor full of anger. We have two young people who genuinely care for one another, and come together as a couple in the first three episodes.
“I’ve never liked playing tuba alone. It’s just one boring phrase after another. But when you play in an ensemble and hear all the other parts, it becomes music. It becomes harmony. You can really tell you’re carrying the piece. I’ve liked tuba ever since.” -Gotou Takuya
I’ve mentioned quite a few times in previous posts that I grew up playing the piano, having started at a very young age, but I don’t know if I ever mentioned that I also picked up percussion at the wise age of ten. The choice was a simple one: I took one look at the mallet instruments–glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, chimes–and saw my piano keyboard. And when I joined the concert band, it was easy to shift into the role of mallet player since all the boys wanted to smack the drums and auxiliary percussion. It wasn’t too long before I realized that to continue on would require I learn the other percussion instruments, as boring as they seemed.
After revisiting an old favorite, Hero, and watching its recent sequel, I followed actor Abe Hiroshi to another of his past roles as the main character in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. This is likely my most favorite character of his that I’ve seen to date–he plays a successful architect named Kuwano Shinsuke with a solitary lifestyle of his own choosing. He has no qualms with eating alone in restaurants, does not allow anyone but his mother into his home, and relies heavily on his charismatic colleague to mediate all customer interactions. This is a man bent on self-satisfaction. He does not care if diets heavy on fatty meats and milks are detrimental to his high cholesterol–he will continue to eat at all-you-can-eat barbecues and drink his daily glasses of whole milk. But through his continued interactions with the people around him, particularly a few strong-willed women, he starts to appreciate human connections.
We’re into the third and fourth weeks of the spring season, and I’ve finally decided upon my line-up. They’re not in any real order, other than viewing order, and span a variety of genres. Many of them are sequels, the majority of which retain a very similar feel to their prequels. I’m also noticing more and more CG these days, sometimes tastefully inserted during actions scenes where characters are smaller and less unnatural-looking, and at other times overwhelming (see my dropped list). Anyways, have a look-see and let me know what you think and what shows you’re watching that I’ve skipped this time around!
Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season
Shokugeki no Souma
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken S2
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid
Daiya no Ace 2
Baby Steps 2nd Season
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
Hello! Kin-iro Mosaic
Owari no Seraph
Kyoukai no Rinne
Koukaku Kidoutai: Arise – Alternative Architecture
My third year back at Sakura-Con, I again went with KWoo for all three days. This year, I spent more time in panels and less time running around the Dealer’s Hall / Artist Alley and taking cosplay pictures. I’m not sure the reason for the shift in attention, but I found myself more interested in listening to the guests from Japan discuss their works and process than on throwing down more money on dust collectors. This years guests covered a few major franchises: Blazblue, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV), and Sword Art Online. A big surprise was the amount of time spent on WIT’s recent show, Rolling Girls, which received its own panel on top of the industry panel.
Note: I originally planned to transcribe the panels I attended, but due to the poor audio quality of my recordings, I decided to skip unless specifically requested by readers. Please let me know if there are any particular panels you would like me to transcribe.
It was only last fall that draggle introduced me to this manga, and though I loved the concept and cooking, I was shocked at its bawdy display of eating. I quickly overcame that initial horror and came to thoroughly love Shokugeki no Souma. Imagine my delight when I found out that it would be soon adapted to anime! I was worried that the tone of the manga wouldn’t translate over to the anime, but for the past two weeks, those fears have remained unfounded. There are plenty of meat juices and peanut buttery tentacles to go around for all the diners!
The first episode of the anime, “An Endless Wasteland,” features Souma’s potato roast, a twist on a pork roast featuring mashed potatoes and mushrooms wrapped by crispy bacon and soaked through with meat juices and a red wine sauce. While the dish looks heavenly, I wasn’t too keen on an entire meal of what I would usually prefer as a side dish. I hunted around online for ideas and stumbled across Savory Style’s Mashed Potato Bacon Bombs and decided to try their snacks out, as well as add in some garlic and onions to tie in to Souma’s version. Go ahead and give the below a try and let me know what you think! And if you attempt a version truer to Souma’s, I’d love to see your results of that as well.