My Problem With Nisekoi’s Second Season

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While it is still ongoing and I’d guess it will go for the 20 episode stretch, I will weigh in with my thoughts on it so far.

It follows the manga really well and that could be it’s undoing. The episodes (and the manga) I feel are inconsistent. The manga often doesn’t really go anywhere at many points and has a fair amount of filler. Sometimes these stories are amusing, sometimes weak.

There is the introduction of new characters which is good and needs to happen.

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Kosaki’s little sister, Haru.

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Paula McCoy a member of the Bee Hive Gang that looks up to Tsugumi.

Often episodes with these introductions are short, or weaker as a whole show, but they are also pretty close reflections of the manga.

There was the candy making episode where Haru and Raku have to get along and find common ground. It is a short episode, there’s not much to it. It does serve it’s purpose, which is to show that the two characters can get along and do share some common ground.

And I am not about to say it’s all bad. The episodes with Chitoge’s mother are some of my favorite bits from the series.

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This is my little opinion. Second season: not as good, but it is largely loyal to it’s source material. It is still worth a watch, but be aware it may feel like (and be) filler at times.

We shall see how the rest of the season plays out.

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Oh c’mon….It’s not that bad.

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Re-Kan! The weird Mix of Touching Stories and a Perverted Cat

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Re-Kan!

 Hibiki Amami can see ghosts. She can not only see them, but interacts with them on a daily basis. She leaves offerings for them, talks with the serial killer victim, knits for the ghost of the young girl that haunts a bathroom, and plays with the spirits of dead children. She has a generous heart to those who have passed on.

This sets her apart from others. She is a new student that has transferred to a new high school and has always had a hard time making friends (besides ghosts) because of her “gift”. Other students are mostly scared or weird-ed out by her behavior.

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And if you saw someone being dragged off by spirits you might be put off a little as well.

Luckily, the classmates at her new school seem to be a fairly tolerant bunch and she makes friends fairly quickly. And that’s what the show is about: a high school girl who can talk to the dead.

Overall I liked the show, it didn’t amaze me, but it was a fun diversion at times that had a few problems.

First off, the stories were a strange mix of comedy and sometimes really touching drama. The drama was usually done fairly well and there were some very touching moments. And then there was the comedy which could be a mixed bag. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I didn’t find the perverted cat that funny, but they didn’t over-use him and they tried to vary how he showed up at least.

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The animation was fine and had some good points to it, except one thing bothered me that I could never get past:

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Kana Urehara and Kyoko Esumi’s eyes through their hair!!! I found it so annoying! It definitely distracted me. I know it’s petty, but  it did.

Attention Parents: Overall the show is pretty harmless. There is the perverted cat yelling about panties in several episodes, but that is about the worst of it. The show does deal with spirits and issues of the afterlife, if that conflicts with your religious ideals then you might want to give it a pass.

Overall I liked the show, but it definitely has it’s faults. What it does have is a good sense of compassion and  interconnectedness (spell check says this isn’t a word, but you know what I mean). Hibiki’s compassion for the dead comes through in all the things she does for them which is often being a liaison to the living. It is when she is afraid she has lost her “gift” that her friend shows her the impact that she has had on the living. This is something that we all forget. Our impact on others. We, for better or worse, affect others. It is something to remember in your daily lives. Be nice, take a lesson from Hibiki. Sometimes a small kindness goes a long way.

Spring 2015 Season Watch List

A new season is upon us and after sampling a few shows this is what I’ll be checking out this season.

In no particular order:

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Food Wars: A cooking show where an aspiring middle school cook gets accepted to an elite culinary academy for high school. Looks to be fun to watch, but on the ecchi side. I won’t be letting the 11 year old watch this one.

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Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?: Adventuring, dungeons, warriors, girls, gods…Will it be good? Not sure yet, but has potential. Also somewhat on the ecchi side. Another I won’t let the 11 year old watch.

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My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu Too: I loved the first season of this, hopefully the second will be as good. I am fine with the animation studio change thus far.

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Kinmoza: English exchange students in Japan. A cute show. Pretty harmless. I think my son has watched at least half of the first season of this already.

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Nisekoi: Raku, Chitoge, Onadera,and Tachibana are back! 2nd season of this harem comedy by Shaft. I really enjoyed the first season and have read a bunch of the manga. We’ll see how much they cover in this season and how much filler they ditch.

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Plastic Memories: This looks like an interesting offering about a world where androids (or something like that) have synthetic souls that only have a life span of 9 years before they deteriorate. The show centers around the squad that is going to retrieve the androids at the end of their life span. It has got a good premise. Hopefully it will be a good show.

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Punchline: A guy wakes up after a terrorist attack that happened on a bus back in his apartment building to find that another spirit is occupying his body and he can’t return to it. Now he has to find a book with a ritual to get himself back to his body. But there is a twist. In the building where the book is lives several girls. Fine…Right? No, this is anime. Here’s the twist: If he happens to see a girl’s panties, or gets excited, he has such an extreme reaction that he attracts an asteroid to the planet that destroys the earth. This happens…he turns back time and keeps trying to get his body back. Well obviously I won’t let the younger one watch this. I am not sure if I’ll continue or not.

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Re-Kan! : A girl who can see and befriends ghosts. The others around her can’t see them for the most part, but accept her for the most part, except for one classmate who refuses to believe in spirits. It is a goofy comedy. The jury is still out about how appropriate it is….there is a perverted cat.

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Sound! Euphonium: About a girl who played in the brass band in middle school who decides to join the band club in high school. It looks like a harmless school anime. My largest worry would be whether it will be able to maintain my interest.

Well, That’s it for now. What are you watching?

My Older Son’s “Reason For Living” This Season

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Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!

What can I say about this show…It was fun, a great concept, well enough animated, some not as great episodes, but I think it probably achieved what it set out to do well enough. To make a goofy, not too serious send up of the magical girl genre.

I first came across this show on RocketNews24 and had to show my son (15). He was so excited for it and after it came out, this show has been the one that I know I could always talk to him about since he rarely missed it.

The show revolves around 5 friends(Yumoto Hakone, En Yufuin, Atsushi Kinugawa, Io Naruko and Ryuu Zaou), students at Binan High School, who are members of  The Earth Defense Club (which just seems to be an excuse to hang out and not really do anything). Off school hours they frequent a bathhouse run by one of the member’s (Yumoto) brother. There, they are approached by a pink, talking, wombat like creature who wants them to become “Battlelovers”. To use the power of love to save the world. They are not really too interested in this offer. But once Wom-san (talking wombat alien guy) gets them to put on the “Loveracelets” the die is cast, and with these they can transform when ever evil, anger, or discord needs to be conquered with the power of love. Ridiculous? Yes. But it doesn’t really pretend not to be.

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But where does evil come from? Other pretty boys of course…Specifically, The Student Council.

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They can transform as well.

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And they have an evil alien counterpart to the Battlelover’s Wom-san… An Evil Green Hedgehog! Who, with his needles,shoots other students who are having troubles or emotional problems, thus transforming them into havoc wreaking monsters the Battlelovers will have to fight.

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And every club has to have an advisor… Why not a dead teacher that is being kept alive by the alien controlling it?

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What else to love? Well, if you were my son, you’d love all the yaoi overtones.

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But what is mostly to love, is the friendships between the guys on the show. Their conversations and comfort level with each other as long time friends is what makes for some good comedy and enjoyable viewing.

Attention Parents: Aside from the BL suggestiveness there is not too much that is objectionable. If that doesn’t bother you (it didn’t for me) then that is they worst of it. Oh yeah..There is a little incidental nudity in the bath house. Is it bad, not really. Watch it and decide for yourself if you are concerned.

And always remember about the power of  what in your life?

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Sparkles all around to my readers!

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Why I Haven’t Got My Older Son a Dakimakura

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I just finished 2013’s Love Lab and was pleasantly surprised. Love Lab is an adaptation of a 4 panel manga that was put out by Dogakobo animation (Who also did Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun and Engaged to the Unidentified). Set at Fujisaki Girls Academy the story follows Natsou Maki, the student president, and Riko Kurohashi, an athletic tomboy.

Both of these girls are admired by the student body.

Natsou for being a model student who is poised and reserved.

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And Riko for being forward and outspoken.

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At the outset of the show the two characters don’t know each other. They meet when a teacher sends Riko to the student council office to deliver something and Riko walks in on this:

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Natsou making out with a hug pillow. Natsou has never had a boyfriend, much less even talked to a boy, but is dying to have a romantic relationship. She enlists Riko to help her conduct “love labs” to find out what boys like and how to be more appealing. Riko gets roped into this because she gives Natsou the impression that she is more experienced than she actually is (due to her own embarrassment of being inexperienced with boys). This is where the story sets off from.

The animation is decent, nothing groundbreaking, but good. The comedy is what sold it for me. It is not ecchi, just silly. A lot of it stems from Natsou, whom all the students see as perfect, is a bit ditzy and out of her mind.

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She often comes up with elaborate set ups of  how to get boys to notice and fall in love with her that are not well grounded in reality. Riko, while inexperienced, does have some sense and is frequently trying to bring Natsou back to reality.

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Which often involves Riko hitting her with a paper fan.

If you like silly school based shows, this one is for you. It is cute and the comedy is pretty good. I had found it randomly on HULU and thought I’d give it a try. Like I said in the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this show.

Attention Parents: There is not a lot that is objectionable. No fan service, or ecchi stuff. No cursing that I remember. Aside from some minor fights, no violence of any real merit. There is one scene, however, that made me cringe a little. There was a part where the student counsel are answering questions about love from anonymous letter. Someone wanted to know if boys liked “tan” girls. Natsou took it upon herself put on “black face”  while singing “Oh my soul sister”to get an idea of what that would be like. I found this to be unfortunate and not very good comedy.

That being said. I won’t get my son a Dakimakura because: 1) He’s not on the student counsel. 2) He’s not old enough. 3) I’m not paying for it. and 4)I don’t want this to happen:

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Score 1 for Dad.

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And the award for the best use of cabbages goes to…..

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The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

I watched this little gem a while back and loved it. It is a school based romantic comedy. The story mostly revolves around Sorata Kanda who is wishing to change his life by first getting out of Sakurasou Hall, a dormitory for the outcasts at his school. Sorata landed there when he refused to give up a stray cat he had adopted.

His life ends up more complicated when a new student, Mashiro Shiina, starts living at Sakurasou. Mashiro, while a brilliant artist, is largely helpless and disconnected from reality from being sheltered her whole life. Sorata ends up on “Mashiro duty”. Caring for her and making sure she navigates through the world.

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Even getting all her clothes on can be a challenge.

The supporting cast of other residents make the the show a pleasure to watch. The shut in computer programmer, the seemingly irresponsible teacher, and the insanely gregarious anime artist all made it a fun show.

The animation is decent, so no complaints there. The pacing is a little slow in the second season, but I forgave that over all.

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Attention Parents: There is sexual humor, bra and underwear shots, and general sexual innuendo. Do what you will.

Overall the show is a sweet rom-com with a good sense of humor. I liked it and hope you enjoy it as well.

It also has a bizarrely addictive OP.

And the full version (because I LOVE IT).

And the award for the best use of cabbages goes to….Kamiigusa Misaki!

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