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Anime Moms (Happy Mother’s Day)

It is Mother’s Day. I know it might be the second year in a row some of you wont see your moms. Hopefully that’s not the case for you guys.

Either way, I wanted to do a post celebrating anime moms and I could only think of a few. For starters, Ash’s mom is probably my favorite mom. Yes, she was in the background but she did steal the scenes she actually appeared in. In Yu Yu Hakusho, I remember his mom being really depressed during the initial arc. In Case Closed, Sinichi’s mom has the same playful vibes Ash’s mom did. Jessica wanted to give Naruto’s mom a shout out despite, well we know how that ended. But she died very nobly and for that, she deserves a mention. I’m sure theres plenty of moms in the opening acts of Shonun that kind of fade as the stories progress past the home lands of the hero. Slice of Life animes typically have moms but very few I’ve seen have been memorable.

So with that in mind, how about you guys recommend animes with awesome moms in honor of Mother’s Day. Anyway, remember to tell your mom you love her while you still got her.

Odd Taxi Episode #4 Anine review

I watched Episodes 4 and 5 of Odd Taxi Monday. I was going to do a review over both episodes, but from what I remember, there was almost a disconnect between episodes. And it was episode 4 that stood out to me.

Both episodes were good. 5 was more of that gangster, noir espionage feel that the show has used to great effect. Episode #4, however, had a unique vibe. It told a different, but still interwoven, story about a cat and addiction. His addiction centers around collecting, gambling and loss of self identity. In an essence, it tells a story of consumerism stealing our meaning in life.

This topic hits pretty close to me for two reasons. The first is that I work at a hobby collectible shop and we see a lot people make bad financial decisions in order to obtain cool stuff. Personally, I believe people work for money and would gladly trade that money in for happiness in the form of trinkets and games. I think that part is natural. Though, there is a line where it becomes unhealthy. Some people do it because of the dopamine hit. Others do it to belong to the exclusive clubs that come along with the items. Others determine their whole self value based off of what they have in their possession. Obviously rich people do this too (keeping up with the Jones). And that lifestyle leads to bankruptcy and burn out. It happens to the lower-middle class as well.

The second reason is because in my sustainability classes, we actively preach against the false comfort that is consumerism. We talk about the power of freeing yourself from the shackles that are identifying your worth based off what you own. (Not talking about assets like stocks and such.)

The story follows Tanaka, a cat whose life is spiralling out of control. It’s been a 16 year build up of just bad decision after bad decision. The beginning of this episode deals with school yard psychology as Tanaka and his class peers compete to have the rarest most collectible erasers. One kid’s parents travel and as a result can buy exotic erasers from other countries. Tanaka cannot compete with this. I think this is an important lesson for kids and adults. There will always be someone richer than you. Dont compete with money. If I am remembering right, we never see Tanaka use any of his personal traits to win the kids over. He never uses his humor, his charm or any interesting facts about him. He just tries to impress the kids with expensive erasers. And how does he do that? He steals his dad’s credit card and pays a ridiculous amount for something half the price. This earns his father’s ire.

I’m not sure what message the show was giving by having the expensive eraser never be shipped after he won it from ebay. My only guess is to make the username the antagonist. As the username will pop up later. The next step the show takes is to have his classmates move on from eraser collecting and the eraser never shows up. However, I thought it would have been impactful for him to rush to class to show off his new eraser and the other students dont even acknowledge it or even make fun of him for still liking those while he desperately clings to the item he just spent a small fortune  on.

Either way, fast forward I think 16 years and we find Tanaka has a nice job and hes learned his lesson. He still likes collecting but now its digital through a free to play zoo game. The game gives daily coins for free and will mostly reward you with common and uncommon (not rare or super rare) animals. For the ol giggles, he checks the player with the best rated zoo. It’s the same name as the eBay seller from 16 years ago. That old primal rage is resparked. He now wants the best zoo. He starts off small, only putting in a 1,000 yen a week. However, frustrated with not seeing the results he wants, he ups the spending big time. Before long, he has put about a million yen in a free to play.

This is the huge PSA announcement. The social commentary here is how predatory gacha machines and similar games can be. It feeds off of gambling tendencies and our rush of dopamine from the chance of pulling something rare. Tanaka plays as a stand in for the audience. For the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost countless money on these gimmicks.

So, finally after 16 long years Tanaka gets his revenge. He hatches the dodo bird (the rarest animal in the game). He literally starts crying tears in the middle of the street. His joy is cut short when a crazy taxi driver (you’ll never guess who) drives recklessly around a corner. This causes Tanaka to jump out of the way, dropping his phone on the ground and into a ditch of water…

He retrieves the phone but the progress is lost. The dodo bird no longer resides in his zoo. To make matters worse, Tanaka’s real bird dies. While burying the bird he stumbles upon a gun. Now, with dead eyes and a taste for revenge, Tanaka sets out to kill Odokawa.

This episode is a masterpiece. Plain and simple. The fact that they can, in the middle of the anime, shift gears and focus on a formerly nameless character and it still has the same feel as the right of the series, you know theres something special about this anime. I love the nonlinear storytelling, the narration and dialogue, the characters and the world, it all just blends seamlessly into a near perfect anime. You have to observe everything because it could become the focal point of another episode soon enough. I’m completely sold on this anime. I already was, but now its official. This anime is genius and I cant wait to see how it end.

PS3 Game Prices are going crazy! My thoughts.

I plan to do a more in-depth video later when I have more time. I’m sure most of you have heard about how the PS3 has gone crazy. A lot of my favorite Youtubers from Pete Dorr to SicCooper, from Radical Reggie to Metal Jesus have covered the topic. I did a little searching around eBay and some local game stores. I will continue to monitor my local game stores and update my thoughts.

In a not shell, 3 things happened. (Really 4, but mostly 3.). The first was Covid. This cannot be fully blamed even if some want to. People are at home still, but PS3 didnt spike last year. Nor did it spike during the unemployment checks of last year or the stimulus checks of this year. It may be playing a role now, but it is not to blame.

Secondly, and I think the biggest offender is Sony mentioning closing the PSN for the PS3. Check the dates, I think this was the biggest catalyst. Prices were probably trending up before, because, well that’s it goes in this hobby. But that is what throw the spotlight on the PS3. Pete tries to discount this because why would physical collectors care about digital sales. I think this grossly discounts 2 strong points. 1. It highlighted a lot of “must have” PS3 games. And what was different now about those videos than before, was people were actually looking (because of the Sony news). And 2. The threat of not being able to get patches for those games. Jessica and myself love the PS3 and we owned a lot of what we wanted (Ratchet and Clank, Red Dead, Fallout, Persona, etc), but with the PS3 thrusted into the limelight, we started looking for more out there games.

The third cause for all this is because the day has come where they arent easy to find at Gamestop. We checked our local Gamestop, they had maybe 10 PS3 games left. Sure, they are going to be everywhere if you know where to look. But they are no longer convenient. Theres a funny theory about Earthbound not being rare. It was never rare. It’s just one of those games collectors and the internet decided to turn into a myth. The same could be said for a lot of PS3 games right now. As very few are truly rare. However, when you go out, you arent going to see them anymore. At least, not nearly as much. Dont be surprised if games you were tripping over 2 years ago are considered rare now.

The 4th reason is one weve already talked about. Youtubers and bloggers rushing to tell you not to miss out. FOMO is one of the biggest influencers for people buying useless junk. I believe that is happening. Just 2 weeks ago it wasnt cool to collect for PS3, now I’m about to film a video highlighting my PS3 collection. Its just how things go.

So, that’s how we got here. Is it true PS3 games prices are crazy? Relatively speaking, possibly. But this is nothing compared to Gamecube collecting. I use Gamecube because that’s what I currently collecting for. When Covid hit, that changed everything. 10 dollar games I was putting off suddenly became 60 dollar games. From my personal experience Paper Mario and Chibi Robo are prime examples of how crazy it got. I refused to spend 60 on them just a year and half ago. Both of those games peaked out around 200 bucks. And you were lucky for retro game store to even have sports title. Everything was overpriced even if they were common. PS3 is no where near that. Retro game stores still have healthy sections that havent been raided or jacked up in prices. Maybe things are different here in the South? Ebay is certainly a lawless land. Games are doubling in price. May 3rd Sly 4 could be bought for about 30-40. Yesterday it sold for about 75-80. So avoid ebay at all cost until things quiet down.

So my thoughts are, things are mostly crazy online because theres always a fool online. Not necessarily in stores. If more fools come out easily parted with their cash, prices in person may go up as well. Until than, I dont really feel threatened down here where I am. Hopefully you guys have good hunting spots as well.

This is a topic I am interested in covering more down the road, so be on the look out. Let me know your thoughts down below. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Why We’ve Mostly Been Watching the anime Case Closed

Case Closed was one of my favorite animes growing up. When Jessica and I got together in 2014, it didn’t take me long to introduce her to anime. First I showed her Naruto and One Piece. However, after I went to an F.Y.E. down in Panama City over a summer vacation with a friend I managed to pick up season 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the anime. Jessica and I began watching the first 50 or 60 episodes of the show. Eventually we fell off as we tried to expand out taste in anime. We started to watch some of the latest animes that were coming out and some of the hotter choices. As a result we fell behind on some long, ongoing series. Case Closed was a causality of new animes coming out like Assassination Classroom, Parasyte, Attack on Titan and so on. I don’t regret that. As a result, I had more animes to talk about here on the blog. My taste grew as I searched more than just childhood and newer Shonens. Well, we’ve been eyeballing Case Closed for a while as the latest 300 episodes or so are on Crunchyroll. Something we noticed was it was super close to 1,000 episodes. We tried to binge watch 300 episodes in a few weeks that way we could watch the premier of episode 1,000. We failed. We were watching 4, and sometimes more, episodes a night sacrificing time to do other things like stream, play games and clean smaller things around the house. Eventually it became too much and we missed the premier. Finally, we broke down and looked up a filler guide and skipped the filler episodes for now. Within no time, we surged past episode 1,000. Are we current, kinda. We’ve skipped a lot of filler and Crunchyroll is missing over half the anime, but we are watching new episodes as they premier now.

When Will Detective Conan (Case Closed) End? | Fiction Horizon

Since this became our goal, we fell off watching newer animes. I’ve started to remedy this by watching the latest seasons of anime such as Odd Taxi, To Your Eternity, Tokyo Revengers, and Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro. You guys will see in a future post why balancing getting caught up on old anime while trying to stay current with new anime is a tough hobby. Either way, there you go. When I made my post about Case Closed a little while ago, I wasn’t watching new animes. As such, there were no new anime reviews coming to blog. I’m trying to get better at that aspect and I think I am. Here’s to staying on top of it.

Best 5 Episodes of Detective Conan - 2021 Edition - Hi Boox

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Manga Monday: Little Battlers Experience Volume #1 A Perfect Starter Manga

I was at my LCS a few weeks back and found this manga among their relatively small section. Little Battlers Experience has been like finding a small new world. I read the first volume and wondered why I had never heard of the series because it seemed like a perfect mainstream series to make into a million offshoots. Upon further research, that is pretty much the case.

LBX Manga Volume 1

Littler Battlers Experience, LBX for short, came out in 2011 (a decade ago!). However, it is pretty tough to say what the initial idea was. Wiki claims the series is based off of a game developed by Level 5 (one of my favorite video game studios). The first game came out on PSP in June of 2011. The manga predates that by 5 months. But maybe Level 5 wanted a manga out to introduce kids to the series before the game’s release? The anime came out in March of the same year, both predating the original game. By my calculations, there’s no ongoing anime, but a series called LBX Girls just wrapped up their first season. It has spawned several video games, spin off mangas and anime adaptions.

LBX: Little Battlers eXperience (3DS) Review - NWR | N4G

So, what is Little Battlers Experience? This game came out late in what I call the “kids anime” genre. Think Pokemon, Digimon and even Bakugan. A lot of those animes came out in the late 90’s and early 2000s. Most kid animes did not take off after that time period. Bakugan is probably an exception, coming out in 2007. And it just missed the DS/3DS revival. Yokai Watch kind of became the next generation’s Pokemon in a way. The DS and 3DS helped give a lot these made for kids animes a place to branch off into games. LBX tells the story of how little robots were built for kids to battle with. They’re customizable robots and the stages are cardboard dioramas. Our main character’s, Van, father was a creator of LBXs. He would die in a tragic airplane accident. 5 years later a woman holding a mysterious briefcase shows up being chased by 3 men. She hands the briefcase to Van and tells him to run. The briefcase is revealed to have an LBX created by Van’s father. Later it is also discovered that Van’s father hid a blueprint to an unlimited energy source in the robot. Van’s father is also alive and being held captivate by the evil organization introduced earlier. Van must win a tournament to claim the key needed for the infinite energy machine. For exchange of the key, the organization will release Van’s father.

Little Battlers eXperience Review | Trusted Reviews

The story is nothing special or groundbreaking, but it does not need to be. The manga is mostly for kids and to help sell the video game. On that front, I think it does a fine job. The art is good, the characters are likable but not really unique and the story doesn’t drag on. In fact, one of my complaints is the story progresses pretty quickly. Another knock is that, for now, the characters are only passable. The good guys are heroic with reckless abandonment and the villains are corny levels of cliché. This won’t matter to kids who are just enjoying robots killing each other. Volume 1 is fine as far as the setting, the scope, and grand scheme of the story. I feel like volume #2 may help in those departments as the LBX tournament is about to start.

But on the plus side, this is a great starter manga for kids. It only ran 6 volumes so it should be easy to collect. It is pretty action pack to keep the kids’ attention. The battlers are similar to Pokemon or any of those kind of mangas. There’s no foul language, no blood and guts, no perverted comments or degrading of women. It is just a good, clean fun manga.

Recap: To reiterate, this a fun manga if you are into series like Pokemon, Zatch Bell or anything that seems similar to those. If you like those adventures, you’ll feel right at home with this one.

Action: This manga has action in every chapter. And its robot action too!
Romance: No hints of romance currently.
Plot: Again, this is a kids series. The plot is deeper than say Pokemon, but it is not the main draw here.
Characters: I like the characters. Right now, they are all pretty stereotypical. We have the stubborn hero, the jaded grandson, the cartoon villain, the buddies through it all pals. But they are likable and well written for what they are.
The World: The world is like ours, but with mini fighting robots.
Humor: This isn’t your typical edgy humor Shonen but it has moments of being funny.

Verdict: 7 out of 10. It is not perfect but I enjoyed my time with it. My LCS has 2-4. I’ll probably pick them up at some point. I recommend checking this one out for sure if it sounds interesting to you.

To Your Eternity Episode 1-2 Anime Review

To Your Eternity was an anime I was hyped for. The description was vague but enticing. It also is set up very similarly to animes I’ve loved from past seasons such as Dr. Stone and Somali and the Forest Guardian. It takes place in a secluded area not bogged down by a million characters and subplots. This leaves a lot to the mind to wonder and for the show to connect those dots as we go.

The first episode centers around an orb. Yes, an orb. But not just any orb. A presumed god’s orb. God tosses the orb down to Earth where it takes the shapes of things around it. First it becomes a rock. Then it takes the form of a dead wolf who can revive itself. As a clone of the dead wolf,  the orb returns to the wolf’s owner. This is where one of the most gripping and well shot episodes of anime occur.

Episode 1 is really good. Like amazingly good. The wolf’s owner is stranded in a winter cabin. The elders of his tribe are long dead. He was left in charge of them while the rest of the tribe set off to find paradise. One by one, the elders died until it was him and his wolf, Joaan, remaining. Tired of sitting in one place and busy dreaming of the paradise his tribe discovered, the nameless boy and the orb disguised as Joaan set out to face the harsh, hazardous winter conditions.

As the days pass and the scenes progress, it becomes painstakingly clear the nameless boy wont survive the trek. His extremities freeze turning inhumanely red. His fate is sealed when the ice breaks beneath his feet. This not only intensifies his frost bite. He also suffers from cuts that break the flesh, causing constant blood loss. His delusions are cast away when he finds the remains of his tribe’s wagon and what appears to be makeshift tombstones seemingly cementing the fact they never made it to the promise land of fruits and paradise.

It’s around this time this anime really starts to kick in. The nameless boy comes to term with his own mortality. He realizes he has been having pretend conversations with his wolf and that he will never cross the giant mountain. Reluctantly, the boy and the wolf turn back around and retreat to their cabin. It doesn’t take more than 24 hours for the pain, infection and fever to sap the life from the young boy who was so full of hope and life a mere week ago.

His death is hauntingly slow and dawdles ghastly like. The show appears in no rush to give the boy the peace he deserves. And perhaps that’s what’s so compelling about this episode. The viewers know almost immediately the boy will die and yet the show spends 20 minutes making you love him, root for him and believe in his journey. Almost as if to get our guard down in some sick twist of fate. But it never left my mind. Each animation drawing him nearer to his inevitable death seemed like ferocious roars echoing against the snowscape. And as he crashes out of his bed and onto cold wooded floor, he crawls himself to his chair claiming he doesn’t want to be lying down when the others make their faithful return. He dies in his chair seconds later. And, against his dying wishes, plummets to the floor in one final defeat. The orbbed wolf pulls at his clothes out of desperation, or maybe sadness, hoping their pseudo owner would jump back up like he had done all week. No use. And just like that the transformation occurs. The orb ditches its wolf fur in exchange for human limbs, mirroring the appearance of the dead and nameless boy. He returns the fallen one to his chair upright and leaves the cabin for the final time.

Now, the only real knock I have against this episode is that it is cliche at times. Viewers will know the boy’s fate the second he is on screen thanks to a previous scene. For the orb to go from the initial rock to the appearance of a wolf, the wolf had to die. For the orb to transform once more, it require a sacrifice so to speak. Still, even with that said, there’s still some unsolved mysteries. For starters, when the boy finally teaches the orb version of the wolf how to eat, the wolf roars back at him “See”. Instead of acknowledging the talking wolf, the boy says “You can eat.” He is more dumbfounded by the fact the wolf can eat instead of the fact it spoke. Jessica said maybe his old dog couldn’t eat.

This is possible because the wolf was clearly dying when we met him. Did the boy know this though? That’s unclear. However, when the boy mentally cracks he says something along the lines of how he was having imaginary conversations with the wolf. So, theres a chance this scene never happened in the first place.

Episode 2, for better or worse, is a complete tonal shift. The orb is completely in the background as the narrative turns its focus to a small girl named March. This episode plays out like it is straight out of a Japanese folklore. Ever so often a village is selected and from there an untarnished girl from that village is chosen to be fed to the God of Prosperity. Enter March. She is treated to a royal fest and then tells her family bye for the last time. Only half way up the mountain she escapes her escort and makes a run for it. After tumbling face first down the mountain she runs into the orb still possessing the nameless one. He is devoid of manners or simple human skills. He is completely unlikable as opposed to his wolf form which actually had redeemable qualities. This is more or less how the episode ends.

Dont get me wrong, I liked March and this episode. All the characters introduced were pretty cool. There are more moral philosophies on display. The theme of coming face to face with your inevitable death continues to be a main focal point to juxtapose with the main character who can just revive himself over and over. But this episode seems completely disjointed from the first. It leaves me asking where is the show going. It loses the intimate charm the first episode had but gains charm in ways I cant explain at the moment. All in all it truly felt like watching two different animes.

That isnt enough to make we disappointed or want to drop it. I just felt it was worth noting. As a result, I will be scoring each of the first two episodes.

Episode #1: 9 out of 10. A truly magical experience that fell just short of perfection.

Episode #2: 8 out of 10. It loses what made the first episode so special, but found it’s on way to feel unique.

This anime is totally worth a watch. And I’ve been saying all week, I will go back and try to add pictures and fix any typos. I wrote this at work over the course of the last 6 hours in spurts.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Cool Things Are Coming Soon!

Hey guys, No reviews for today. I’ve watched the first three episodes of ODD Taxi on Crunchyroll but I have not had the time to write all my thoughts down since I was seeing my aunt who was down from Michigan. Here’s an excerpt though it is not final and may be revised between now and when it is published.

Taxi Driver vibes are hard to fend off as our main character’s occupation is taxi driving. However, were far too early to truly understand the main character’s, Odokawa, reason behind taxi driving. Though we do know he is sarcastic and brutally honest. He rarely leaves to doubt what’s on his mind. No, he’s not likeable and you’d have to have his sadistic sense of humor to love him. Yet, over time you find yourself rooting for him. I dont know if I would say he becomes more noble or more relatable (I really want to say he becomes more humanized since all the characters are animal.)

Jessica and I plan to start watching Tokyo Revengers and To You Eternity very soon.

Tonight we are going to do an A Hat in Time Randomizer stream. I’ll blog more about later but if it sounds interesting. Hop over to our Youtube channel here.

I really hope more of readers will gravitate to the Youtube streams and vise versa.

Anyway, look out for more anime reviews real soon. (Tomorrow is the NFL draft. Hopefully I can get stuff done before it starts.)!

Thanks for reading and have a nice day.

ODD TAXI Episode 1-3 Anime Review

At first glance, I was ready to write this anime off as a weird and almost budget title, as nothing impressed me within in the first minute or so. But as this show went on, man did it catch fire.

Taxi Driver vibes are hard to fend off as our main character’s occupation is taxi driving. However, were far too early to truly understand the main character’s, Odokawa, reason behind taxi driving. Though we do know he is sarcastic and brutally honest. He rarely leaves to doubt what’s on his mind. No, he’s not likeable and you’d have to have his sadistic sense of humor to love him. Yet, over time you find yourself rooting for him. I dont know if I would say he becomes more noble or more relatable (I really want to say he becomes more humanized since all the characters are animal.)

With early thoughts out of the way, let’s jump into the plot. A teenage girl has disappeared. She was last seen getting into Odokawa’s taxi and was not seen again. Of course suspension is turned onto Odokawa following the news. However, there’s a baboon named Dobu who is a gangster. Some people believe he is the one who kidnaps her. Dobu is interested in talking with Odokawa because Dobu believes Odokawa kidnapped the girl and Dobu is being set up. Dobu’s boss also has interest in finding the girl and hires him to do some snooping on Odokawa to get to the bottom of it.

So, more or less, that’s the plot. Why did this girl get in Odokawa’s taxi? Why is she hiding from her father? How does the mob tie into all this? Not to mention wondering how all the side characters fit into the puzzle. There’s an alpaca nurse who is believed to have stole a ton of drugs from the pharmacy. Odokawa’s buddy, Kakihana the gibbon. And the latest development, a girl band lead by a trio of puddles. Their agents are sneaking around in the background. And a radio duo are trying to navigate their careers.

What’s makes this show so darn exhilarating is, first and for most, the main plot. This show is not afraid of some really cool scenes. Such as when Dobu gets in Odokawa’s taxi and tells him to drive while he holds him at gun point. On top of the mystery and noir genres being perfectly executed, theres all the background subplots. On top of the main genres, we have a slice of life, a buddy film, flashes of musical, and so many other genres and plots flawlessly being weaved together. The characters are not only very well written, they are well performed as well. Most of the dialogue is so fluid and smooth. It’s like watching Pulp Fiction meets Taxi Driver and for that, I think we can call this one heck of a ride.

Of the animes I’ve seen this season, this one has been my favorite for sure. I can’t wait for more episodes to roll out. This one was very hard to review. It does not fit in a generic mold. It’s unlike most animes I’ve seen. It has so many highlights it is hard to pick a favorite aspect. Yet, at the same time, there’s so many mysteries. It is hard to gauge how good the characters are right now. Will the subplots have pay offs? There’s a lot still up in the air. With that said:

Score: 9.5 out of 10 (For now)

Watch it on Crunchyroll now: https://www.crunchyroll.com/oddtaxi/episode-1-the-eccentric-driver-810846

Next up is probably To Your Eternity.

Manga Monday Haul #2

I think this is our second manga haul. These are some of our newest pickups and I’ll do some later ones that are like retroactive pick ups. So let’s get right into it.

Gants Volume #1, No Longer Human and Smashed

These mangas are Gantz Volume #1, No Longer Human and Smashed. No Longer Human and Smashed are both from the mind of Junji Ito, one of the most respected horror mangaka. Gantz sounds like a trip and a half. I’m just going to quote Wikipedia on this one, because, honestly, they said it best. “It tells the story of Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, both of whom died in a train accident and become part of a semi-posthumous “game” in which they and several other recently deceased people are forced to hunt down and kill aliens armed with a handful of futuristic items, equipment, and weaponry.” Like what!? This manga sounds insane. Smashed seems to be a collection of stories by Junji Ito including I Don’t Want to be a Ghost, Death Row Doorbell, and Smashed.

AOI House is an original English Manga about two guys that start living in a dorm with girls who are fans of yaoi. Blade of the Immortal follows the story of Manji who kill 1,000 evil men to become mortal again. It sounds kick butt and I bet my brother would enjoy it a lot. The Promised Neverland is a book Jessica has been looking for for a while now. The story revolves around orphaned kids as they learn the truth behind their purpose. I assume there is some level of magic elements in it.

So there you have it. These books were traded in to our work so we picked them up while we could. Be on the look out for more Manga Monday reviews and hauls!

DON’T TOY WITH ME, MISS NAGATORO Episodes #1 & #2 Anime Review

A new season of anime is upon us. The first one we will be reviewing is DON’T TOY WITH ME, MISS NAGATORO.

I’m going to be completely honest here. This anime straddles the line of cute and enjoyable to unwatchable all through out the first two episodes. The story centers almost exclusively around the two main characters: Nagatoro and Naoto Hachioji. Hachioji is an awkward introvert who mostly seeks to avoid attention from his fellow classmates. Nagatoro gets off to bullying Hachioji. Why she enjoys pestering him is still open for interpretation. Something cool the show did was it did not show any character’s (except for Hachioji’s) eyes until the 5 and half minute maker. Of course, Nagatoro’s eyes are the ones we see.

Imagine this being the first thing I see each morning…

Hachioji explains why we don’t see the other students’ eyes. He says “Look away, close my mind” (at the 20:06 minute marker of Episode #1). All these students have bullied him throughout his life over his mangas and drawing. So, when we are introduced to Nagatoro and we see her eyes, I assumed she was going to be nice. Boy, was I wrong.

Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro! - Episode 1 - Anime Feminist
She literally makes him cry the first time they meet! Come on, bro…

And that’s where my problems begin. She straight up bullies him. I sat through the second episode hoping the characters would become a tad bit more complex. Meh. There is a cafe scene that gives me hope the two will develop. However, for now, be prepared. Both of these characters are hard to root for.

Nagatoro is very harsh. She degrades him, mocks him, inflicts physical and mental abuse to him. I won’t even go into detail over some of the stuff she does to him but most of it is sexual abuse or at least taunting him. Which is what makes it so hard to watch. It is more than teasing, it is dehumanizing in a lot of way. If Hachioji could defend himself or create a line in the sand, I feel like we might get somewhere. For now, he is stuck in this mindset of “eww, she’s so mean” but also “ahhh, a cute girl”. Because he has been bullied his whole life, he tolerates her behavior.

It’s interesting to say the least. The animation is great. The sound effects and visual gags are highly entertaining. Some of the scenarios they find themselves in are innocent but still have high sexual undertones. These can be okay. For example, the vampire subplot was fine before she fell and groped him. She then used this as a chance to beat him down by mocking him saying that was the first time a girl touched him. Scenes start off fine and quickly cross a line. And based off of Hachioji’s body language it is hard to tell if he enjoys it or is too scared or nervous to ask her to stop. And Nagatoro’s outward demeanor makes it hard to gauge if she hurting him out of in

Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro Anime: Release Date, Expected Plot &  Trailer - OtakuKart

I can get the appeal of this anime. Again, it can look great and be funny. A socially awkward male lead combined with a cute and confident female do create a pretty unique working dynamic at times. Some of the teasing is entertaining. And again, the cafe scene gives hope for something deeper.

Still, as of the first two episodes this is a unique rom com that occasionally rises above mediocrity. The relationship between Nagatoro and Hachioji is different and interesting enough that’ll keep checking this one out and see if it becomes a guilty pleasure or slog to get through.

Score: 6 out of 10 (For now)

Watch it on Crunchyroll now: https://www.crunchyroll.com/dont-toy-with-me-miss-nagatoro/episode-1-senpai-is-a-bit-senpai-dont-you-ever-get-angry-811065

Next up, we review the first three episodes of Odd Taxi (spoiler alert- I love that one!)