[Review] Romantic Killer is the RomCom You Can’t Help but Love

A ton of promising shows dropped at the start of this fall season, but one that continues to fly under the radar due to its Netflix release late in the season is Romantic Killer, an eye-catching romcom with a defiant heroine. On the surface, this show looks to be a modern Cinderella; we have Anzu Hoshino, a girl whose life revolves around three greats: video games, her cat, and chocolate. When Riri the fairy pops into her life with a mission to add some romance into Anzu’s life à la otome game tropes, we start the roller coaster that is our lead’s attempts to survive the onslaught of handsome young men and compromising scenarios. What started as a seemingly structured storyline with a predictable ending turned rapidly into one of my favorites of the fall that may very well be among the most entertaining romantic comedies of surprising depth in recent anime seasons.

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[Review] Parallel World Pharmacy – A Drawn-out What If

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about Parallel World Pharmacy‘s use of cosmetics and skincare, so I’ll refrain from speaking too long on the series now other than to quickly go over what did and didn’t work for me over the course of the season. As an isekai and slice-of-life, PWP did well to draw me into its world and our protagonist’s place in it. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Falma use his experience from his former life as a pharmacologist to aid in his current one as a pharmaceutist now that medicine and magic co-exist. The show’s attempt to ramp up the drama in the latter part of the season reminded viewers, perhaps uncomfortably, about our own recent pandemic. While I appreciated the higher stakes, Falma’s near perfect handling of this emergency in addition too all the previous ones dampened any real concern, resulting in an ultimately forgettable series.

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[Review] SHADOWS HOUSE 2nd Season – New Faces, Same Emilico

The second season of SHADOWS HOUSE couldn’t have come sooner, and it wasn’t too long into it that I was reminded of all that I loved in the first season. Character interactions like those between Emilico and Kate, a dark Victorian-esque setting blanketing the scenery with shadows and lace, and a mystery that carries on still unsolved–these all balanced together to create a story that continues to enthrall. If, however, you hoped for resolution to our children’s fears, then you’ll be disappointed to know that this sequel does not wrap up the mysteries, but rather sets the stage for even more curiosities as they step closer to adulthood.

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[Review] Lycoris Recoil is the Joy that Keeps on Giving (and never changing)

As busy as the summer anime season was this year, there was a whole lot of mediocrity on that list. Only a handful of shows rose above the masses, with Lycoris Recoil taking one of the highest spots with charm and gusto. So much of the story might have faltered in other, lesser experienced hands, but each week the series defied the weaker elements of its framework with strong characters and writing. I’d be pressed to consider this show the best of the season, if not for the less-than-satisfying ending which lacks a much needed change for true resolution.

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[Review] Aoashi – Fighting to the Limits

The time has finally arrived, my long-awaited sports anime that ticks off all the boxes and then some, leaving me wanting for more. The set-up, our characters, their journey, and the final game all contribute to what I love most in this type of show. I don’t know if a sequel is in the works, but if it happens, I will be there cheering wildly from the stands.

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[Review] The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting

The reality of the word “yakuza” now is one romanticized beyond all recognition. Almost every story I see lately focuses on a singular character or entire family ripe for redemption through love. The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting makes it easy to forget that our comical characters are anything but a normal family. While I would normally sit back mindlessly and just enjoy the heartwarming episodes, the occasional small reminder of their true way of life makes the ride a bit of a bumpy one by the end.

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[Review] YUREI DECO: A Love-y Attempt at Substance

The anime-original YUREI DECO recently wrapped up after 12 episodes and for all intents and purposes is a complete package with little need for a sequel or spin-off. Part of this is due to the material from which it took inspiration as well as the manner in which the writing paced itself through to the end. Colorful and idealistic from the beginning, the larger themes of freedom, value, and family are inspiring but too ambitious for such a small box. While I was fond of YUREI DECO’s characters, I ultimately found myself frustrated with the rushed ending that did little to address the story’s many issues.

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[Review] Phantom of the Idol

The first of the summer shows to wrap up the season is 10-episode long Phantom of the Idol. This light hearted series follows Yuuya Niyodo, one half of two-man idol group ZINGS. There’s just a couple of twists: Niyodo doesn’t actually want to be an idol, and makes that abundantly clear every time he opens his mouth. He’s also haunted by the spirit of a former idol named Asahi Mogami, renown for her open hearted approach to life. Together, they strike a deal to give them each what they want, a goal that follows through to the end of the story with consistent, yet forgettable, charm.

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[Review] Flavors of Youth

It took me a few years to finally get around to watching the 2018 film Flavors of Youth, which you can now find on Netflix. This anime-original anthology includes three short stories in different Chinese locations each with their own cast of characters. Studio CoMix helms the film, which you might recognize from recent Makoto Shinkai works Your Name, She and Her Cat, and Weathering With You. When I first noticed this work and its title, I assumed it would be some kind of food adventure commentary on regional foods. This holds true for the first story, but the “flavors” here are instead a description of experiences and emotions that do resonate for the short time we’re together but fade away quickly once the film ends.

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Boruto: Episodes 70-92, Ohnoki Arc Retrospective

I’ve been catching up on Boruto: Naruto Next Generations lately, most recently with the Ohnoki arc from 2018. Sounds like forever ago, doesn’t it? I’m pretty shocked myself to have fallen so far behind a show that is already well within range of 300 episodes, particularly during such a fantastic part of the anime from all that I’ve seen so far. This particular section resonates even more so because of my recent reading of Kazuo Ishiguro’s short novel, Klara and the Sun. Both feature artificial life modeled after the human species, and in both they question the definition of a human soul in manners that would argue for them already possessing souls of their own. Mitsuki, along with members of Hidden Stone Village, stands at the center of this arc’s storyline. His quest to find himself is also our quest to discover our very own heart stone.

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