Dee, Peter, and Chiaki check-in on the Spring 2019 season!
Date Recorded: Sunday 19th May 2019
Hosts: Dee, Peter, Chiaki
0:02:21 We Never Learn! BOKUBEN
0:06:39 Wise Man’s Grandchild
0:10:09 YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World
0:16:12 NAMUAMIDABUTSU! -UTENA-
0:19:54 Midnight Occult Civil Servants
0:23:35 Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu
0:36:24 Fruits Basket
0:44:55 Demon Slayer
0:51:42 Kono Oto Tomare
0:53:54 Fairy Gone
1:01:43 Black Clover
1:04:57 Bungo Stray Dogs
DEE: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. I’m Dee, the managing editor at AniFem. You can find all my writings on my blog, The Josei Next Door, and you can also hang out with me on Twitter @joseinextdoor. And I am joined today by fellow AniFem staffers, Peter and Chiaki.
PETER: Hi, I’m Peter. I’m an associate producer at Crunchyroll and a contributor and editor at Anime Feminist.
CHIAKI: And I am Chiaki. I’m with Anime Feminist, and my day job is covering parking space drama, community activism, and U.S. wartime atrocities at an Asian-American newspaper in San Francisco. You can find me @Chiaki747. It’s a permanently locked account, but I welcome new followers.
DEE: Your job sounds riveting when you explain it like that!
DEE: Let’s just do a podcast on that! Screw the anime season. [chuckles] No, no, no. Okay.
But this is an anime podcast, so today we will be talking about the spring 2019 season. It is our midseason check-in, where we pop in on all the shows we reviewed during Premiere Week and then most of the ones we reviewed during three-episode write-ups and see how they are doing. As is tradition here, we will start from the bottom of our Premiere… Digest—I lost the word for a second there—and we’ll work our way up.
So, we’ll start with the Red Flags, then we’ll move into the stuff we thought maybe had feminist potential—but, you know, first episodes, you never know. And this one’s a little unusual because usually Peter’s the only person watching the Red Flags because I think he is contractually obligated to do so for his job. But this time, Chiaki, you’re also watching a fair number of them.
So, I will give you two the opportunity if you want to talk about any of these shows and what they’re doing and if it’s different, if there’s anything our listeners should know about going into Bokuben or Yu-No or Wise Man’s Grandchild, which I know all three you are watching.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I’m kind of a magnet to trash, more so than Vrai, and actually unironically like things sometimes, so…
DEE: Hey, that is 100% okay.
DEE: No shade. No shade. Enjoy what you enjoy. That is fine.
PETER: Take that over irony-poisoned, for sure.
PETER: So, I guess that means we have to talk about Bokuben, huh.
DEE: It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, just because I think it was a pretty high-profile show this season. My timeline’s not really talking about it, but my timeline is weird. [chuckles] I love my timeline.
PETER: [crosstalk] Yeah. It’s Shonen Jump, so…
DEE: Yeah. I know it’s a Jump title, so I’m sure it’s got a good following. How is it? The first episode seemed promising, and then I know by episode two, not so much. But you’re both keeping up with it, so…
CHIAKI: I believed in it. I really believed in it.
CHIAKI: And I was a fool to believe in it.
PETER: Yeah. Probably.
CHIAKI: It’s just completely fallen into the stereotypical harem beats. They’re starting to get into “Oh, maybe they should actually date” kind of stuff, getting into the seventh episode.
PETER: Yeah. I feel conflicted because it’s basically Quintessential Quintuplets, except I think the jokes are actually funny. But a lot of its beats are just the usual harem stuff, which means most of the jokes are sexual assault-related.
PETER: Lots of tripping and falling on people and stuff.
CHIAKI: Accidentally being locked in the women’s bathroom…
PETER: [deadpan] Oh, yeah, that one. That was great. I like the sports girl. I can’t remember what her name is.
CHIAKI: Yeah. She’s fun. All the characters are fun. Just—
PETER: She’s definitely best girl.
CHIAKI: Eh… I like udon girl.
PETER: Okay, that’s fine.
DEE: [chuckles] Gonna have a shipping war!
PETER: Basically, it’s about as bad as you might expect it to be with these types of things. If you watched Nisekoi, you definitely know what’s gonna happen. But if you liked Nisekoi, you’ll like this.
CHIAKI: And they just got into talking with the teacher, the older lady, who is clearly not supposed to be dating or inviting any boys over to her apartment, even for tutoring purposes, but hey. That happened.
DEE: Oh, God, there’s teacher–student stuff, too?
CHIAKI: I mean…
PETER: [crosstalk] Uh… yeah. I actually—
PETER: I hate it because the plotline is kind of like… The two girls, one’s a genius at math and one’s a genius at writing, liberal arts, that kind of thing… And they each want to get into the other’s school. Math girl wants to do liberal arts; liberal arts girl wants to do math. And the teacher tried to coach them into being good at the other thing, but they weren’t very good at it and gave up and said, “You should just stick with what you’re good at anyway.”
So, I think it kind of had a good idea in regards to “What you’re good at doesn’t always line up with what your passion is” and respecting what people want to do rather than trying to drive them toward something because they show talent at it. But then, that gets steamrolled by the fact that she becomes attracted to the main character because he believes in the other girls where she failed them.
CHIAKI: And also, her own pent-up frustrations with chasing her own dreams.
PETER: Oh, yeah, yeah. She’s got the same issue, too. That’s right. She didn’t want to be a student counselor/teacher, but that’s where she ended up because she was good at it. But I guess not, because she failed the girls where he didn’t, because main character’s pretty much good at everything.
DEE: That’s not a bad undercurrent. I will give it that. That sounds worthwhile. But is it one of those where, based on our three-episode review, if people thought that sounded worthwhile, then stick with it; otherwise, probably nothing to really draw folks in?
PETER: Yeah, I think by three episodes you pretty much got a good taste of what the series was gonna be like.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I’d say even on the second.
PETER: Yeah. Was that the one where they had the pool slip?
CHIAKI: Yep. Yep.
PETER: Yeah. The second. Yeah, second one. [chuckles]
PETER: Showed its true colors.
DEE: Okay. That’s a good update. Thanks, guys. Anything else on those lower-level— And I call them lower level. They’re just Red Flags. That doesn’t actually mean you can’t have a good time with them. Kind of curious about how Wise Man’s Grandchild was going, because the first episode seemed okay.
PETER: It’s not a harem, which is very interesting. He’s got his club, which has a lot of girls who want to learn magic from him because he’s a super genius, but only one of them is romantically attracted to him, the same one who he’s romantically attracted to. They’re a couple, kind of, but they haven’t gotten together because they’re both super awkward, but everybody knows and they make fun of them constantly, which I really appreciate.
I think that’s probably the series’ most glowing feature, is that there’s a main ship, the other characters all see the ship, even if the two who are involved in it are too awkward to realize the other one likes them, and it’s not like every girl is trying to roll over the main character.
CHIAKI: But as much as I enjoy that, I feel the biggest problem with this show is that… if you’ve seen Hey Arnold! before and remember that episode with “Get the ball to Tucker”—
PETER: All right. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this. All right.
DEE: Mm-hm. Go on.
CHIAKI: It’s the “Get the ball to Tucker” show because it’s constantly Shen being so overpowered that there’s really no point in anyone else being in the story.
PETER: Yeah. It might be the most egregious Main Character’s Good at Everything isekai.
CHIAKI: They try to lampshade it by saying, “Oh, you’re just incredibly talented beyond our imagination,” but I’m like, “I want to see the other characters get developed,” and they just don’t.
PETER: Yeah. True. It doesn’t really have a lot of fights. It’s just a lot of school stuff. But every time there is a fight, he just instantly destroys it, even the main villain of the series. If you don’t care about the fights, though, it could be a cute magical school series. And I don’t really think it’s done— Has it done any bad stuff? I know he meets the main girls when they’re being accosted in an alleyway, but I don’t really think it has had a whole lot of fanservice, unless I’m misremembering.
CHIAKI: No fanservice. The noble boy was a little bit of a creep, but…
PETER: The one who was transparently a villain?
PETER: Okay. Yeah. He was definitely a creep. The whole subplot with him was he forced the girl into an arranged marriage and was treating her like his property. And then the villain brought out the preexisting evil within him, so he turned into a demon and the main character had to kill him. So, at least the character who was acting that way was treated as a villain, even outside of him eventually turning into a demon.
DEE: It sounds like the little bit I remember of Sword Art Online before I got kind of bored with it and dropped it, where you got a hyper-powered main boy saving girls from bad people. Which, you know, props for recognizing what counts as bad behavior, I guess, but—
PETER: Hey. Later on, Asuna says, “That’s not good. We have to save each other.” And then they both fight the bad guy.
DEE: That is excellent, and I’m—
PETER: That’s why Sword Art was good.
DEE: I’m glad it goes there. Again, I got bored at episode ten because I got tired of the damsel show.
PETER: Just don’t watch the second cour.
PETER: It didn’t happen. It doesn’t exist.
DEE: Sorry, that was a digression, for sure. But yeah, just the way you’re describing it reminds me of that, where it’s that sense of “Well, I’m glad the writer understands that these are bad things,” but at the same time, you are mining them for drama and to show off the main character.
PETER: Yeah. We should also probably talk about Yu-No, as well.
PETER: Because I think in the three-episode checklist it was revealed that the main character was pretty shitty toward women, but it’s done some stuff since then.
DEE: We didn’t actually touch on that one in the three-episode, so this is the first time we’ve talked about it since the premiere, where Caitlin basically said, “This could be interesting, but I hate the protagonist so much, I have no desire to keep going.”
PETER: Okay. Well, basically, on the first episode, where I think he was asking his teacher to see her panties or something like that, so that pretty much colors the way he— But at the same time, he’s supposed to actually be a nice boy who cares about women.
The whole plot is centered around this time travel power that he gets to mainly save all of the girls in his life who are in various parts of trouble surrounding this big archaeological dig that’s unearthing artifacts that’s killing people or something like that. It’s elaborate. Is this series— It has to be longer than 12 episodes.
CHIAKI: I believe it’s a second cour coming in for the next season, yeah.
PETER: So much stuff is happening with this, I can’t imagine them wrapping it up already. The first big narrative arc was him trying to save his… I don’t even know what their relationship is. Is she his stepmother or something?
CHIAKI: Stepmother, yep.
PETER: Oh, stepmother. Yeah, she commits suicide, and he’s trying to save her, and he has to time-travel back like 30 times because he’s not getting to the crux of why she’s committing suicide. So, each time it shows her committing suicide in a different way, with very graphic scenes, a lingering camera. Like, he comes in and she’s got a plastic bag over her head, and you see the bloody scratches she made in the floor when she was suffocating to death.
DEE: [crosstalk] Woof.
PETER: That kind of stuff. Really leering cameras over all these different, exotic methods of suicide. So, that’s definitely a trigger warning that should probably be attached to the show. And also, I felt like it was really egregious and they didn’t need to do that.
Then he meets that reporter lady, who… She wanted to have sex with him because she thought he was a virgin, right? I guess he is, but he said he wasn’t.
CHIAKI: You know in the actual game you would probably actually be doing that. By my guess.
PETER: You mean it’s an option to accept the proposal? Because it was based on a VN.
CHIAKI: Yeah. I don’t know exactly.
PETER: [crosstalk] Oh, for sure.
CHIAKI: This is a game that was initially released, ’96 or so, for PC-98.
PETER: Yeah, you definitely feel the era that it’s in and the fact that it was based on a visual novel where you could probably have relations with every single female character, of which there are many. So, it’s got predatory female adults, some really graphic portrayals of suicide, lots of sexual assault. Yeah, the stepmother also gets sexually assaulted by some yakuza guys.
PETER: Yeah. Coercive sex…
DEE: I guess those Red Flags were a good call on our part.
CHIAKI: And it starts exactly at episode four, so that’s the main issue.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. I was saying, if we did the three-episode check-in, it definitely had not hit that.
DEE: Yeah. Which is why I’m glad you keep checking in on shows, because sometimes they’ll stay the course, and other times, boy howdy, things take a turn.
PETER: [crosstalk] Yeah, sometimes they fall off a cliff.
DEE: Yeah. So, Yu-No sounds rough. I’m kinda glad I didn’t— Wise Man was the only one in that bottom half where I kind of considered it and moved away from it. And at this point, I’m not biting at the bit to go back to any of them. But thank you all for letting me know what’s going on there and for letting our listeners know, too.
I’m the only one watching RobiHachi, so I’ll try to make this quick because I feel like this is one I could actually take some time untangling. And I’m kinda sad Vrai couldn’t join us for this. Maybe someday we’ll do a four-person one just to cover more bases—although then the podcast would be two hours, which would be a mistake, probably.
I was enjoying it. The past episode and a half got kind of mean-spirited in a way I really did not care for. The villain very clearly has a crush… “Villain” in as many quote marks as possible, because I like the gay space mafia so much better than the main protagonist. Robby sucks. And Vrai called that in the premiere review, and I was like, “Oh, Robby’s kind of a putz, but he’s okay.” No, Robby sucks. Vrai had it right there.
But the villain very clearly has a crush on Robby, and at first it’s played as, honestly, kind of cute and humanizing, and then in the last episode it got kind of mean-spirited, which bums me out because the director for this also did Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! and that show is actually low-key pretty cool about the fact that all the boys have crushes on each other and it’s okay. By the end credits of the final OVA, it’s basically canon.
So, I thought this one would maybe do good by those plots, and I’m starting to feel like that is not the case and it’s just gonna be a punchline from here to the end of time, which sucks. And so, I’m giving it one more episode and then I may end up dropping it because of that. Which is unfortunate because, again, I really like the villains. They’ve got a very fun Team Rocket, goofball vibe to them. Yang is sort of a sweetheart in the fact that he does have this big crush on Robby.
And I actually really like Hachi. He just wants to experience new things and he loves food, and his enthusiasm for everything they do is really fun. And it sucks that Robby is bringing the show down by being a mean-spirited chauvinist. So, again, I’m gonna give it one more and see if it’s gonna take a turn that might keep me going, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be back in the season finale to regale you with how that turned out.
Chiaki, you were watching Namu Amida Butsu!, and I know you’re kind of having a good time with this one.
DEE: Are you still? Because you were. Okay, cool.
CHIAKI: It’s good. I just feel like it still has that crisis identity, because it’s trying to be an action show, but also, it’s trying to be hot boys just having fun, and it still hasn’t figured it out. Like, the Buddhas go to the zoo and check out some elephants. The boys go to a retirement home and regale senior citizens. But also, they’re fighting crime. So, like… [pauses] It’s… [chuckles]
DEE: Is it entertaining? It sounds very messy, but is it still kinda fun even though it’s like two shows jammed into one?
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] It’s fun.
DEE: Okay. And you enjoy both shows even though they’re kind of awkwardly smashed together?
CHIAKI: Yeah. Nothing transphobic yet. Except for the core Buddhas, all the other giant cast of people that they introduce in the first episode… largely invisible.
DEE: Okay. So, is it one of those where if you were into it after a couple episodes, then it’s continued to be the same thing?
CHIAKI: Yeah, I think so.
DEE: Okay. That’s good to know. I think we have that in Harmless Fun?
DEE: So, you’d say it probably still tracks in that category?
CHIAKI: I think so.
DEE: Cool. Is anybody watching Mix?
PETER: I have watched two episodes. I was considering watching more. I was surprised that I didn’t dislike it.
DEE: Are you just not usually into baseball anime?
PETER: I hate baseball. Sorry.
DEE: No, it’s okay.
PETER: This one, I feel like I’m probably going to end up not liking it. Right now, it’s very slice-of-lifey, and I like the character interactions, but I feel like eventually it’s going to get into the baseball and that’s where it’s going to lose me.
DEE: Yeah. Adachi’s manga typically use baseball almost like a backdrop to explore character relationships. I really enjoyed Cross Game, so I came into Mix kind of excited for it. I have sort of dropped it as of episode three because I was getting some vibes—and it may just be that anime has ruined me—I was getting some vibes that one of the stepbrothers has a crush on his stepsister, and I had no interest in watching that play out.
My roommate is continuing to watch the show, and I told him to let me know if it ever follows through on that or if I was just misreading the subtext of a couple of the scenes. And he said he would keep me posted. So, if it turns out that is not the case, I’ll probably go back to it because, again, I really liked Cross Game. I enjoy Adachi’s slow-paced narrative style. But I didn’t want to get surprised by that, going into it, so I decided to just take a step back for now.
PETER: Sure. Well, I’ll watch it and I’ll let you know what I think.
DEE: Yeah. That’d be great, too.
PETER: I’m not too into most sports series, although there are a few exceptions. Usually the exceptions are shows where, as you said, the sport’s kind of a backdrop and it’s mostly about the characters, like March or Days or something like that, and I’m definitely getting that vibe off of it. So, I’d say it’s good, at least so far as you like slice-of-life as opposed to you’re really into sports anime.
DEE: Yeah, and if you at home are watching this and you are enjoying it, please watch Cross Game. It’s so good. It’s very slow-paced, but it is so good and it builds on itself really well, so I would recommend that, for sure.
Next up on the list is Midnight Occult Civil Servants. Peter and Chiaki, you are both watching this one. I can’t believe I’m not. It seemed like my jam, but I just couldn’t get into it. I think it’s ‘cause Bungo Stray Dogs is also happening this season and it is a… [tentatively] better?… executed, similar paranormal Pretty Boys Doing Stuff type show. But how are you liking it?
PETER: I feel like nothing’s happening in the show most of the time. It just feels like they run into a supernatural thing, interact with it, and don’t resolve it. So, each plotline, none of them have a resolution, and I’m not really getting what type of story it’s trying to tell. It’s just the characters running into different supernatural stuff.
I guess with the last story arc, maybe they’re getting into something with this guy who’s been kidnapping women, although that seems to be the thing that every single supernatural creature does, come to think of it. But this time it’s serious. [chuckles] Maybe the next arc will show some of the drama it wants to show, but it seems like it’s trying to get into supernatural drama but the drama never arrives, is my problem.
CHIAKI: Yeah. I think that’s about right. I feel like in the last two or three episodes or so, they’ve finally started honing in on the big buildup now, so I’m hoping that there’s going to some kind of payoff. I am primarily watching it because I’m happy for Huehuecóyotl, or Kohaku, the— I don’t know what to call them.
PETER: Huehue’s a jackal or hyena… what’d they say. No, coyote. Coyote.
CHIAKI: The old coyote.
DEE: I was gonna say, don’t they go by Coyote?
CHIAKI: Yeah, who is absolutely genderqueer and fabulous, and I love them. But aside from my love of characters, not so much the plot. Yes.
PETER: But I thought Coyote was gonna be a trickster thing, but so far, its tricks have been basically it’s always hurting a woman so that the main character has to do something, which is not so great. Like, in the last episode… I don’t think I’ve watched the current episode. Is that today? But Coyote got Another—Another, that’s a weird thing to say—to kidnap the main character’s childhood friend, and he’s been taking pieces off of women to make his ideal woman.
DEE: [crosstalk] Woof.
PETER: So, those are the kinds of tricks Coyote plays, and it’s like, “Oh, well, I think you’re fun, but also you’re super evil and this isn’t a very fun back-and-forth that you’re having with the main character.”
CHIAKI: That’s true. That is very true.
PETER: It’s like you’re tormenting him by hurting people. And I get that Anothers are supposed to not think the way that humans do, but we’ll see how the story… If this story arc doesn’t do something that I think is interesting or cool, I might tap out.
DEE: How about you, Chiaki? Are you in it till the end?
CHIAKI: This is the one show that I’m kind of planning dropping. Yeah. So, I’m not married to it.
DEE: Glowing recommendations all around.
DEE: We’re clearly having a great time this season. I think we’re eventually going to get to the glowing recommendations, possibly by the next show on this list. But so far, it’s been a little lukewarm.
But the next one up is Hitori Bocchi. Gosh, I really wish they’d come up with a different title for this, but it’s Hitori Bocchi no Marumaruseikatsu. Which, I think what everyone calls it is just Hitori Bocchi.
PETER: [crosstalk] Yeah, I think Hitori Bocchi would’ve been fine.
CHIAKI: I just call it Bocchi.
DEE: Bocchi, yeah. It is so nice. It’s such a nice, cute, fun little show. After the first episode I liked it, but I didn’t think it was gonna hold my attention for a full season, and it has continued to find— The entire cast is super fun. I love Hitori’s friends, and I feel like it’s found good ways to mine good stories and humor and different little character arcs out of a fairly simple premise, and it’s definitely kept me around. And it’s just such a nice comedy. It’s constantly giving its anxious protagonist a hug, and I appreciate that about it.
PETER: I’m slightly concerned that they’re gonna use ninja girl a bit too much. I guess I’m just bringing up my single small problem with the show. I don’t know why.
DEE: Sure. No, that’s fine.
PETER: She’s an American who came to Japan because she likes ninjas or something, which is kind of a funny joke, but it doesn’t seem like she has too much of a personality outside of that. There was an episode where it was just them doing ninja stuff to appease her, and I was hoping that just wouldn’t be everybody reacting to the goofy character who has these really strange demands on them, but I think they started moving away from that again, so I’m feeling better about it. I was concerned for a hot minute.
I’m give-or-take on the ninja girl. I think she’s funny sometimes. But the other three are really, really good. Not a super fan of the… There’s always a teacher who just can’t do their job in one of these series, and usually in a way that kind of infantilizes them, that I don’t like. But the main three of the cast are super funny, and they all have very relatable problems. And I like that it puts them in a comedic light but it’s not making fun of the characters ever.
DEE: Yeah, there’s nothing mean about it. In some ways, it reminds me of Tanaka-kun, where it will sort of poke fun at people but then at the end of the day, again, it gives them a hug and says, “It’s okay. You’re all right.”
And I appreciate that about it, because I think it’s important to be able to laugh at your own shortcomings and foibles and quirks and whatever else, but at the same time not necessarily think that’s something you need to be ashamed of, and I think Hitori Bocchi straddles that line very nicely.
PETER: Yep. Yeah, strong Tanaka-kun vibes in this series, which is probably the highest endorsement I can give for any slice-of-life series.
DEE: Yeah, the fact that I just compared it to Tanaka-kun… I was like “Ooh, am I overhyping it? That might be overhyping it.” But…
PETER: I agree. Apex slice of life.
DEE: It has that same kind of vibe to it, which, again, I really appreciate that, so, pretty good.
PETER: My hope for the series is that… I don’t feel like it pats the teacher on the back the same way it does with the kids, and I think that’s my problem with that subplot. So, if it has the teacher get over her fear of her students, I think that’ll really brighten my opinion toward that character and make the series pretty problem-free in my eyes.
DEE: Yeah. I agree with that. And I think the show has done some pretty good things with the other characters in terms of nudging them towards growth. Hitori is getting a little bit better at communicating with other people, slowly but surely, and Nako’s opening up a little bit, and Aru is a hot mess, but she’s got people she can be honest about that with, and I think that’s the main thing for her character, is being able to be more honest with herself.
They’re hinting that Sotoka’s gonna have an arc in the next couple episodes, so I’m hoping they’ll do more with her. And, like you said, the teacher is able to get over her kneejerk fear of the fact that she’s convinced Nako is a delinquent.
PETER: Yeah. Just give her the same treatment as the kids are getting, basically.
DEE: So, the next two on the list are Cinderella Nine and Afterlost, which I do not believe any of us are watching, correct?
PETER: To be honest, seeing Afterlost is the first time I have heard about this anime. [laughs]
DEE: It dropped on Funimation. I believe everyone kind of simultaneously agreed it was bad. Pretty much anyone who reviewed it was like “Woof!” Again, my timeline, I love them all so very much. They’re not necessarily what the mainstream anime fans are watching, so I don’t know if this show is secretly super popular, but I don’t think it is.
It was a very clumsy kind of sci-fi story. Decent, cool premise. Very poorly executed. Also, I believe it’s the one that Madhouse is having production nightmares over right now.
PETER: Oh, no. [chuckles] Madhouse with production nightmares is…
DEE: Yeah. Which has been a thing we’re finding out about Madhouse recently, which sucks.
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] Would you call it a madhouse?
DEE: Don’t quote me on that. I am not a Sakuga reporter or expert by any stretch. I could very much be wrong about the thing I just said. But I do know it was a rough… I was surprised it was Madhouse based on how rough the production of the first episode was.
But skipping over those two, we jump into a show all three of us are watching, which is Sarazanmai.
PETER: Hell yeah.
DEE: Probably the most hype of… Again, the folks I track in the Aniblogging sphere were all pretty hype on Sarazanmai.
PETER: The AniTwitter Corps?
DEE: Yeah. [chuckles] The AniTwitter Corps is just screaming about the kappas right now.
CHIAKI: I’m honestly not sure how to broach this, because this is my first Ikuni show, and… gosh. Gosh, what a trip.
DEE: [crosstalk] I know! It’s so exciting. I’m really glad we have you on here because you’re coming into this with… At this point, because he is one of those directors who tends to explore similar themes and ideas throughout all his works, which I don’t think is super uncommon for…
I think a novelist would be a better comparison than other anime directors, because it tends to be more of a collaborative process. But with Ikuhara, he tends to have a vision and want it to be fulfilled. And I think, with a novelist, you’ll see similar ideas and themes explored over different books and things like that, and he kind of does the same thing.
So, it is impossible for me to not watch Sarazanmai and think, “Oh, this is playing on this thing from Yurikuma or this thing from Penguindrum or Utena.” So, I think it’s awesome that you’re on this call and can talk about Sarazanmai from a perspective that isn’t necessarily pulling from all these past visual and imagery ideas and things.
Are you liking it? Let’s start there.
CHIAKI: Yeah. No, yeah, I’ll start by saying, yeah, I like it. I feel like it’s pulling from an aesthetic. I can just feel it coming at me. I appreciate the investment it has on kappa and how much everything is about kappa. Man, I am at a loss for words, honestly, because this was the one show that I could not really wrap my head around as much. I’m sorry.
DEE: No, that is 100% okay. It’s one of my favorite— I can’t remember who— I’ll see if I can track it down. I can’t remember who tweeted this, but they said, “Every Ikuhara show at the beginning: I don’t understand what’s happening! Every Ikuhara show at the end: (while sobbing) I don’t understand what’s happening!”
DEE: And I think this is actually one of his more accessible… I think he’s more clear on intent and character arcs and everything from the word “go” in this one. I mean, the episode titles all just straight-up tell you what the theme of the episode is. I think we get the character backstories pretty quickly, so we have an idea what their motivations are pretty much right up front. At this point, there’s still a few mysteries to unravel as far as the overarching mythos of this world, but I think we have a very good grasp on each of the boys and what they’re trying to do.
I’m really enjoying it. I struggled for a couple episodes and was a little bit bummed about that, but the most recent one—and I’m hesitant to throw too many spoilers into the conversation—but the most recent one very much pulled me straight back in. It is defiantly optimistic—and I like that about it—and also unapologetically weird and super, openly gay. And that’s great, because a lot of the time we’re talking about queer anime, we’re talking about subtext and implied ideas, and in this one it’s like, “No, no. This kid said, ‘I have a crush on him,’ like three times in one episode and has romantic fantasies about him.” And I appreciate that aspect of it as well.
PETER: Yeah. Enta’s living in the Matrix or something. Poor kid. Yeah, I agree. I don’t really know what the anime’s supposed to be about yet, but it’s definitely interesting and I’m surprised at how much Ikuhara’s able to get away with, like putting weed and guns and all the butt stuff in one anime.
DEE: Nobody told him to stop, Peter. That was the interview. He was like, “I thought somebody would stop me and nobody did, so I just kept doing it.” [chuckles]
PETER: I guess he’s literally just gonna keep putting stuff that’s not normally allowed in until somebody actually says no, and then maybe he’ll just do it anyway.
That’s another thing that I think is wild about the series. When’s the last time you saw marijuana in an anime? I actually can’t remember a single instance before now. And that’s cool, because it normalizes it and Japan has really strict laws when it comes to marijuana. They treat it like we treat cocaine or something. So, it’s very interesting that he’s doing all that on top of all this emotional and this bizarre, weird stuff he’s doing.
Super cool aesthetic. I was kind of with you, where I wasn’t sure how I felt about the series until I got the episode that locked me in. For me it was a different episode. It was… Is his name Toi?
PETER: The one with the ruler?
DEE: Yeah, Toi.
PETER: Toi? Okay.
DEE: Yeah. And the older brother, who is probably working with the yakuza or some criminal organization.
PETER: Yeah. That was brutal. I like how he has these super intense, emotional scenes like the scene where his brother was being coerced. He was being given a gun, too, with the idea that he would have to use it, and in the background, there’s that one guy who’s just… I don’t know, he’s dancing or something? I don’t know how—
PETER: It’s a serious scene and you’re like, “Damn, this is serious. Also, it’s really funny that that guy’s dancing in the background.” [laughs] I don’t know how Ikuhara does it.
DEE: Yeah, he has always had—even when you look back at his episodes from Sailor Moon—he’s always had a very goofy sense of humor. Yurikuma didn’t get to play in that space as much as his other shows, and I think in some ways the tone of that one suffered for it, so I’m glad Sarazanmai can be more— And Yurikuma eventually got there. I think the last couple episodes, especially the last episode, is triumphant and optimistic and I really enjoyed it. But it’s pretty bleak up until that point.
And so I’m glad with Sarazanmai he was able to find a lighter tone to strike and a better balance there to still be able to explore these pretty serious character arcs and intense moments in their lives while still having, like you said, some goofball dancing in the background or, in the most recent episode, Keroppi just doing a pole dance for some reason. [laughs]
Yeah, I like that balance a lot. I think this is one that’s gonna be really hard to talk about until it’s all out, and then it will probably warrant a full hour-long retrospective rather than just a blurb on our podcast.
CHIAKI: I’ll still not know what’s going on at the end, but…
PETER: Yeah. [chuckles]
CHIAKI: [chuckles] I’ll be sobbing.
DEE: That’s okay.
CHIAKI: I’ll be sobbing.
DEE: Hopefully, you’ll like it enough that you’ll want to watch it again, because typically his shows reward second viewings where you go, “Oh, right! This was mentioned and this gets brought up again.” I appreciate shows like that, where you enjoy them the first time even if you’re not 100% sure on what’s going on, and then you watch them again and you go, “Oh, okay. Now I’m following some of these threads I didn’t necessarily the first time.”
And obviously, folks at home, if that’s not your style of storytelling, that’s okay. But I appreciate that, that level of active viewing, which is why watching folks on Twitter talk about it has been really fun, too.
[claps] Okay, we chatted about that one quite a bit, and I had a feeling we would. Next on the list is Fruits Basket, and I… No, Peter and Chiaki, you’re both watching this one, too.
DEE: Okay, cool. What are your thoughts on the new Fruits Basket adaptation?
PETER: I feel bad because I don’t get it. And I know so many people who the series is super important to, life-changing even. I don’t know if we’ve gotten to the part that people connect with so deeply yet, but it just seems very fluffy and like not too much is really happening.
CHIAKI: I’ll be honest and say that’s kinda what brought me in in the first place when I was first watching this show. The first episode, it was like, “Ah, this is really cute and interesting,” and just drew me in immediately. So, it’s delivering on those feelings for me, so I’m perfectly fine.
DEE: So, you enjoyed that it, at this point, feels like a light, semi-magical, rom-com-type story.
DEE: Gosh, this is very interesting to me. Full disclosure for listeners: I have seen the original anime and I have read the original manga. This was at least ten years ago, if not longer, for both of those things, so I have a vague idea of what’s coming, but my memory has not latched onto it.
I liked them. It was not a life-changing series for me like it was for a lot of people, and that is okay. I think it’s awesome. Caitlin loves this series so much, and I think that’s wonderful. For me, it’s definitely kind of a slow burn. The manga I enjoyed early on because it was kind of a silly comedy, and then it starts to grab you with the drama.
Peter, how did you feel about the episode where Tohru goes back to her family and has this moment where she—? I think, to me, that was the best episode, when she goes back to her family and she has this realization moment where she’s like, “I have spent all my life thinking I shouldn’t be selfish and I should do what makes other people’s lives easier, but this is what I want for myself.”
And she has that revelation in the living room about how she wants to be with the Somas and she was happier there, and so she actually does fight for herself in that moment rather than just doing what she thinks will make the people around her happy.
PETER: That was the moment where I’m like, “Oh, this is the stuff people are always talking about.” I was kind of 50/50 on the moment. I liked the sentiment and how it came about and the things that were said, but it also felt awkwardly paced to me and I was having trouble getting into it because the scene that it was occurring in felt so weird to me. There’s like eight people in the room as two people are talking, and six of these eight people are just assholes, I guess. I don’t know if they were just quietly standing around while two other characters are having this heartfelt conversation. It felt really weird to me, artificial. I don’t know.
DEE: Yeah. The production is kinda strange to me because there will be moments where I think it’s really beautifully done and then other moments where it feels kind of awkward and stilted. And I think that sense you’re talking about there is because of the— I think it has more to do with the composition of the room and the fact that she really noticed that these other people are just standing there while they’re having a lecture.
And again, I think a lot is just the way a scene is framed. I’ve certainly had some moments with this show where it felt a little flat or a little rushed in a way that I don’t remember it feeling for the previous versions of this story that I’ve seen. And, again, I could be misremembering those. It’s been years.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. I also think it has that problem that a lot of these more recent adaptations of classic or nearly classic series— So, I don’t know if a series that ended in 2006 is a classic? Or around ’06. It was like ten years ago. I don’t know how long ago a series has to wrap up for it to be considered a classic. But clearly, a very popular title.
And I think we’re seeing some similar issues with this one that we saw with, like, Banana Fish, which is that these stories were important at the time, but there are certain things we’ve moved forward on and they’re not attempting to address that in the adaptation. Like the episode where they put Yuki in a dress. It was uncomfortable for me. I don’t know how y’all felt about it.
CHIAKI: That didn’t bother me as much.
CHIAKI: I think Kagura was a little bit more concerning for me, as far as—
DEE: Also Kagura. Yes. The… Yeah, sorry, go ahead.
CHIAKI: No, I mean, I feel the show overall has shifted in tone a lot more to be in line with today’s dramatic presentation that people look for, whereas… I can’t remember exactly the original, but it was a little bit more slapstick. So, I feel like there was a tonal shift that the anime made without updating the plot itself. You know?
DEE: Yeah, I see what you mean. The comic slapstick really is very jarring in a way I don’t remember it being. And part of it is that I don’t think we see quite as much of that comic slapstick in a lot of modern series. And then, part of it is also it is just very tonally different from the rest of the show that feels a little bit more grounded.
And I am bringing up the concerns just to let folks know about them. I want to keep watching because, again, I do remember the manga being sort of a slow burn, too, so I’m hoping that as we go that they’ll continue to build and develop the characters. And I hope folks stick with it or try out the manga or something, because I do think, overall, it’s a good story that has a lot of important things to say despite its flaws.
PETER: Okay. That’s actually reassuring to hear.
DEE: But, no, I can understand, Peter, why at this point you’re like, “I don’t really get where they’re going with this,” because it just is kind of a slower pace. It’s, what, 20-some volumes of manga, and the first few really do feel like a school comedy, and then it really starts to build into a character drama. And I think there will be some growing pains while watching it as it shifts into that form, and I’m hoping the animation staff can slow down and really hit those beats, because my memory of the manga is every volume would make me laugh out loud once and tear up once.
PETER: Yeah. It’s reassuring to hear that, because I was like— I guess it’s gonna be a 24-episode series, though, huh. Not a 12.
DEE: [crosstalk] Oh, it’s gotta be. I think it’s gonna be longer than that.
CHIAKI: I’m guessing 52.
DEE: The manga’s 23 volumes long. I knew it was somewhere in the 20s. And they haven’t announced how many cours, but they said they’re adapting the whole thing. They might be going through this early stuff a little quickly just because there’s a previous adaptation that more or less covers it—I’m not sure—kinda like Brotherhood did with that first arc being very breakneck.
And they may be doing something similar with this one as well. I don’t know for sure. I don’t have the manga volumes in front of me to know what the pacing looks like from that aspect. Yeah, I would guess it would be between 39 and 52 to get the full story in, but we’ll see.
PETER: Okay. If they’re not into the stuff yet, then I’m enjoying the series well enough that I won’t stop but I can wait for it.
DEE: Yeah. It will continue to build, for sure, and you’ll get to meet all the zodiac characters and they all have their own things going on, and there’s lots to do there. Hopefully, we’ll be able to pop in at the end of this cour and we’ll see a little bit more of those pieces coming together.
PETER: Cool. Can’t wait.
DEE: Awesome. And again, I’m tentatively hopeful to see how it does, especially once it gets past the material that’s already been adapted, and how it moves from there.
Okay, so next on our list is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the Shonen Jump historical fantasy series that we are also all watching. Look at us go.
PETER: I think I gotta start by just saying, “Goddamn, this anime has good production.”
DEE: [crosstalk] It’s beautiful.
PETER: And I like the manga, but I can’t understand why Kimetsu no Yaiba got this treatment compared to some other Shonen Jump titles. It’s really bizarre to me. But I guess I can’t be angry about that, either. It’s really good.
I read ahead in the manga, so I’ve got a couple concerns regarding how certain characters are portrayed. I don’t know how far the anime’s gonna get, but I have mixed feelings about Nezuko. I think she does a lot of cool stuff, but she never gets the same character treatment that Tanjiro does, which I think is already starting to show.
CHIAKI: I was gonna say, too.
PETER: Yeah. She obviously overcame her desire to eat him through her own compassion and love or whatever, but then the weird hypnotism that their teacher did to her while she was asleep, I don’t like, because it undermines any future action she takes as being the result of him tricking her into her thinking that the people they run into are their deceased family members, which sucks a lot. I’d rather she continue to be a good person, which has already been established, and make these decisions on her own without being manipulated.
She definitely does a lot of stuff in fights, and that’s been pretty consistent so far. Every major fight, she has a contribution or she ends up taking someone down on her own. And she develops new abilities, too, but Tanjiro always has these training arcs that she just sleeps through rather than it taking time to— Training arcs are always a character development thing, too, so it’s like she’s sitting around dormant while he’s trying to become a stronger fighter. So, mixed feelings.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I was gonna say, this is basically stereotypical in terms of shounen series, where it’s all on the main character. It’s nothing else. It’s all about his development. And no matter how interesting or how cool other people around him are, they just kinda do their thing. It doesn’t really matter unless it matters to the main character. I mean, I basically call Nezuko Tanjiro’s Pokemon at this point.
DEE: [chuckles] No, that’s legit.
DEE: Well, here’s the thing, though. As of right now, the Pokemon—I have been watching a lot of Pokemon recently, as you guys may know—they get more character development than Nezuko has, so I’ve been thinking of her as his weapon. But no, yeah, he carries her in a box. It’s basically her Pokeball, and he releases her when it’s time for her to fight an enemy.
PETER: Or she kicks her way out of the box and nearly decapitates somebody.
DEE: Yeah, no, sometimes she lets herself out of her Pokeball. Some of the Pokemon do that, too, like Wobbuffet and Oshawatt. [chuckles]
PETER: There are some fight moments where they’re both fighting a person and they both are like, “I need to get stronger,” and then they each develop a new technique at the same time, so she definitely has moments within the context of fights where it’s her rising to the occasion.
And I feel like her contributions to battle are head and shoulders above most Shonen Jump manga that aren’t Black Clover, but it’s weird because it’s like, in-fight she’s doing a lot, but out-of-fight she’s not; where usually My Hero Academia is like, out-of-fights and in the school setting is where all the female cast is really awesome, but then once a fight starts, they’re just sidelined immediately. It’s like the opposite, and it turns out the opposite also sucks.
DEE: I would just like a nice, steady balance between them having character arcs and motivations and also being able to fight. I don’t know why that’s so hard!
PETER: Black Clover, my dude.
CHIAKI: Or heck, I mean, take the gag out of her mouth. I would be so much happier if that happened.
PETER: Yeah. They kind of establish she’s not gonna eat anybody, so I don’t know what the gag’s for, besides the guy likes it as part of her character design. I don’t know.
DEE: Yeah. And it’s one of those things where either you take the gag out and she’s able to talk, so at least then you’re able to get a little bit of a character arc there, or you can… Nonverbal characters can have rich, fully developed arcs, but we haven’t gotten much with Nezuko. So she kinda just feels like a weapon at this point, which is a bummer because I really like her fight scenes. I get excited when she shows up and kicks ass. I just wish I had more to grab than “Tanjiro’s sister,” you know?
PETER: She’s got some good ones coming, too. It’s weird, isn’t it?
DEE: Yeah. And I feel like— Since you’ve read the manga, is the pacing in the anime super slow? Because it feels like this wants to be a really fun ensemble show. We keep getting introduced to these characters who feel like they’re going to join Tanjiro. But we’re halfway through a season and they haven’t. So, it’s surprising to me because—
PETER: Yeah, the manga’s definitely quicker. I feel like they have not gone through too many chapters yet. It does become an ensemble, I think, after this arc where some of the characters he starts to hang out with.
DEE: Okay. Because the orange-haired boy seems fun. And the butterfly girl’s probably a badass, I would assume.
PETER: Unfortunately, she’s not ensemble, though.
DEE: I don’t think I have much else to add. I was really enjoying it. I’m not so sure I am anymore, just because I like Tanjiro but I’m not sure he’s compelling enough to carry a show on his own, and I’m struggling to stay invested when it’s really just about him.
PETER: Have you met the boar guy yet? I don’t think he’s shown up.
DEE: No, I don’t know who that is.
CHIAKI: I’m looking forward to him.
DEE: Yeah, that sounds fun, though.
PETER: You’ll probably like boar guy. It’s definitely better as an ensemble, I feel, because all the characters have trouble getting along since they all look at the world very differently.
DEE: Yeah, that sounds like it would be interesting, so we’ll see how it goes.
PETER: [crosstalk] I think two or three more episodes, probably.
DEE: Okay. So, next up… Well, Lauren’s watching it, but she’s not on this podcast, obviously. The next one is Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life. I haven’t watched the most recent one, which by the time this podcast goes up, I’ll be a couple weeks late. But I caught the first six.
I like it. It is an extremely pleasant watch in terms of “nothing about it really makes me angry.” It has one main female character who is very fun and butts heads with the main guy. They have one of those combative relationships that actually feels like a relationship of equals because they both snipe at each other in pretty fun ways.
I hesitate to say it’s “good” because I think the structure of it and the way it handles its little dramatic character arcs is kinda clumsy. But it’s got a good heart, and when they do play the koto it’s really fun and cool and I love listening to the music for it.
But it’s also very much a club show. Like, they had to defend their club against the evil vice principal who wanted to see them destroyed, and they all had to come together to do that, and now there’s a mean girl who’s trying to break up the band. And I’m kinda curious to see where that arc goes, because it could be real bad or it could be interesting.
PETER: Yeah, I was gonna say, that sounds really bad. [chuckles]
DEE: It could be. Again, I feel like she might have a legitimate reason and they might get it worked out quickly enough that she just immediately becomes a member of the team and they’re all friends and it’s no big deal. So, I’m a little concerned about that, but we’ll see where they go with it.
Again, so far it’s been a pretty— I don’t think it has a mean bone in its body, this show. It wants to be about kids who people judge based on preconceived notions about who they used to be or who their family is or something like that, and meeting them as individuals and then them coming together as very different people to perform these pretty koto songs.
So, I’m gonna keep watching that one. It’s not one I’m excited about every time a new episode airs, but I enjoy it, so I’ll probably stick with that one. I can’t think of anything I really need to warn people about, so that’s good.
And I guess I just get to monologue here at the end, so I probably should have been quieter earlier. [chuckles] The top, last show on our list is Fairy Gone. Peter, you gave this a try, it looks like.
PETER: I’m still watching it. I just recently picked it up as part of my… Irregular show.
DEE: But you’re not caught up on it. You’ve just seen a couple episodes?
PETER: Yeah. Correct.
DEE: Okay. What are your thoughts so far?
PETER: It is extremely Sirius the Jaeger. I feel like they just genderswapped the main characters and made them childhood friends instead of siblings and—
DEE: I feel like that’s an insult to Sirius the Jaeger. [laughs] But we’ll get to that.
PETER: Well, we had different opinions about Sirius the Jaeger, so…
DEE: That is very true. I thought Sirius was a lot more fun. It was less serious. Ha-ha! Also, I just think Ando is an incredible director.
Yeah, Fairy Gone is… I’m still watching it and I kinda like it and I have no idea how to explain why. And I had the same problem at the three-episode review, where I was like, “I think the show isn’t very good, but for some reason I enjoy it.” Every episode, they drop a bunch of exposition on us that I just have no interest in following, and it’s very dry in the way it’s executed. Sometimes the fight scenes look pretty cool and sometimes they look really rough.
But at the same time, every episode, there will be at least one scene where a capable lady does something awesome. And I want this show to be better than what is currently on the page, because I think it has a good cast and a neat concept, and I just don’t feel like it is executing on either of those fronts at all. Or very rarely. Again, we get maybe one scene an episode where I’m like, “Okay, okay. Here we are. I’m here for this.”
There’s some really good character backstory and emotional threads that they could be pulling on more, and they’re not, so it often feels kind of distant and cold in a way that… I think it shouldn’t feel like that. I don’t think this is a series that can necessarily carry itself on riveting lore and plot points. I think it needs that emotional core and it is losing the forest for the trees, I guess.
PETER: Yeah. I know what you mean. I don’t know if this has been corrected since, but… The story is basically about the main character trying to get her friend back, right? But as far as I am in, I feel like I don’t know her at all, and it just keeps telling me stuff about the world that I don’t care about, as opposed to the character who has very obvious drama and motivation right in front of me, and that feels really weird.
DEE: Yeah, it’s kinda trying to balance Marlya and Free’s stories, too, because they both have these war histories and these estranged friends who are now on the wrong side of the law.
PETER: Oh, yeah. The dude has the same story, too! [chuckles] He’s like Sirius the Jaeger a third time. All these blonds turning evil and getting knives is P.A. Works’s thing.
DEE: They’re trying a new genre here. And pretty much anytime it zeroes in on Marlya and Ver, it’s pretty darn good. And the handful of times we get to see Marlya hang out with some of the other members of the team that she’s on, it can be pretty fun.
But the lore and background and that sense of somebody on the staff going “This is a grim show!” makes a good portion of it kind of a slog, and I find myself zoning out. And yet I’m coming back to the next episode like, “Well, let’s see what happens next.” So, this is not a good recommendation.
PETER: [chuckles] Yeah. That’s another thing. I feel like it really wants to be grim, but I just do not feel that it is grim. You know what I mean?
DEE: Yeah. It’s kind of silly, but it’s very sincere about the fact— This is always really hard to talk about, because I like fantasy series that are kind of silly but treat their characters seriously. And that’s why I liked Sirius the Jaeger: I think Sirius the Jaeger had fun with its goofy fantasy elements, and let the vampires be kind of campy, and brought in a Frankenstein, and they had a train fight. There were all these goofy, fun, pulpy supernatural elements to it.
But at the same time, it treated its characters like actual people who had problems and relationships and things they wanted to do. And that was one of the reasons why it worked so well for me; why I really enjoyed it. I don’t think this series is hitting that balance effectively. I think it needs to be stronger with its character arcs and lighten up just a smidge. But that’s where I am.
PETER: [crosstalk] P.A. Works, I think they have a very goofy style. And you can feel it in this series like they’re trying to reject it and it’s not working out, is how I feel.
DEE: Yeah, the art style’s different. It reminds me more of a Witch Hunter Robin or an Ergo Proxy, those shows from that early-to-mid ‘00s period.
PETER: [crosstalk] Damn. If only.
DEE: It’s trying to capture that kind of vibe, and it’s just not succeeding.
PETER: That’s a good way of describing it.
DEE: But I also had kind of a tough time getting into those two shows I just named, too. So, there’s that.
DEE: But I am going to keep watching it because there is something about it that I find appealing, and I’m still not sure what it is, but maybe by the end of this season I will be able to tell you.
PETER: Same. I’ll catch up.
DEE: Okay, yeah, cool, so we can chat about it. All right, we are at the hour. So, did y’all want to say anything real quickly about sequels or carryovers? We usually don’t touch on those too much in the midseasons, but if there’s anything in particular you really wanted to bring up, now is your chance.
CHIAKI: I’ll just mention a quick thing about Bakumatsu. It’s totally different from the first season. They changed direction. It’s a lot more comedic and more episodic, which means that they gave the pwecious ninjas a little bit more screen time, but that also is possibly a drawback because they’re just being pwecious and not actually doing anything. But it’s really different from the first season.
DEE: Are you enjoying the episodic structure or is it kind of directionless now for you?
CHIAKI: I feel it’s a little directionless. I’m starting to lose interest in it. I felt the first season, which had a very solid plot to it and a story behind everything, a reason why everyone was doing everything and more historical references, was a lot more interesting. The second season’s more fanservicey, as far as everyone’s having fun and jokes, jokes, jokes.
DEE: That feels like the kind of thing you’d want to balance out, like “We’ll have some plot episodes and then we’ll take a break and then we’ll go back into the plot,” rather than split it up by season like that.
CHIAKI: I mean, they have a story. It’s just they completely threw it out. [chuckles]
DEE: [laughs] “Let’s just be goofy instead. Who needs stories? Pshaw!” Anything else about anything else, gang?
PETER: Watch Black Clover.
DEE: Yeah! You have been, over the course of the last few seasons— No, it seems like every time we come back in, you’re like, “Okay, guys, so, at first Black Clover was just okay and now it’s legit,” so you’re starting to make me think I actually need to check out Black Clover again. Because I didn’t hate the first episode, other than Screechy McScreech. Maybe the dub would be better.
PETER: I think you in particular would very much like it, Dee.
DEE: Okay. You did recommend Radiant, and that did end up being a good call, so…
PETER: [crosstalk] It’s very Radiant.
DEE: It’s like a million episodes, but maybe I’ll put it on my queue and see.
PETER: It is eighty episodes—eighty-four episodes.
DEE: A million!
DEE: Okay, I guess compared to my 1000-episode Pokemon watch, that’s nothing. [chuckles]
PETER: You can also read the manga for $2 a month on the Weekly Shonen Jump app if you want to see that.
DEE: I am thinking about it. I know the anime’s done some different things than the manga. Would you recommend the anime over the manga or do you think they’re just good in different ways?
PETER: I think the anime is really good at hitting the comedic timings of the manga and there are some outstanding fights. But other than that, I’d say either is good. I can tell you that since I was last on a podcast, I decided to catch up to the manga and I did not sleep one night because I read all of it in a single sitting because it was so good. The arc that’s coming up just now to the present has just been constant slapstick, awesome happenings, and it’s amazing.
DEE: [laughs] Okay.
PETER: It’s legit one of my favorite Weekly Shonen Jump manga now, ever.
DEE: Wow! And I know when it first came out, everyone was pretty lukewarm about it, so it’s cool to hear that it’s grown into its own.
PETER: People like to— It’s like they pick one thing they don’t like and then they… It was Asta’s screaming or with Golden Kamuy, it was the CG bear, and they don’t give the series a chance.
PETER: But I gave it a chance.
DEE: To be fair, Asta’s screaming was like nails on a chalkboard. I truthfully may try watching it dubbed just to see if the voice— It was the voice. It wasn’t just that he was a shouty character. It was specifically the actor, so I might give the dub on that a try.
PETER: [crosstalk] My advice to you, Dee…
PETER: …is if you’re 20 episodes in the series, you will find Asta’s yelling endearing and one of the greatest things about his character.
DEE: [through laughter] If I can just make it through 20 episodes!
PETER: Yeah. It’s kind of like after the first 40 hours, Final Fantasy XIII promises good.
PETER: But it’s legit a very intentional thing that Yuki Tabata did, and it’s kind of a genius. Asta’s a very archetypical shounen character, and it’s really funny that he screams all the time now. I had a problem with it at first, too, but now I think it’s awesome.
DEE: All right, well, again, I have a heck of a queue and I may have promised somebody that I would try Gintama after I finish Pokemon.
DEE: But I will put Black Clover on my list—my increasingly long list—and try to come back to it.
PETER: [crosstalk] Gintama… That’s infinity episodes, but okay.
DEE: It’s 200-and-some, which, again, I’m watching a show that’s over 1000 episodes long right now. Nothing seems impossible at the moment.
PETER: Yeah, nothing is impossible. That’s very shounen of you.
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] Hey, Dee, want to watch Case Closed with me?
PETER: Oh, God.
DEE: Oh, God!
DEE: That’s another pretty intensive ask. But who knows? Maybe someday.
Yeah, I think the only other thing I would say is I love Bungo Stray Dogs, and I still do. The Russian authors are coming and they’re fighting, and some days I feel like the show was made specifically for me, because it’s about literary figures fighting each other in supernatural battles and pretty-boys having emotions.
DEE: It is the most excellent— The first opening theme was called, I think, “Candy Trash,” and I think that’s not a bad way to describe it, and I mean that in nothing but glowing, positive terms. It’s fun and interesting and frequently makes me have a feeling, and I enjoy it, so I’m glad it’s back. And I’ll maybe say something more substantial for the series retrospective, but at this point, I think that’s all I want to say about that.
Okay. Shall I play us out, team?
PETER: [crosstalk] Please.
CHIAKI: By all means.
DEE: We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Chatty AF. If you like what you heard, tell your friends. And if you really like what you heard, we’d love it if you’d head over to www.patreon.com/AnimeFeminist and become a patron for as little as $1 a month. Your support really does go a long way towards making Anime Feminist happen, both in print and in your earbuds.
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