Thoughts on Heike Monogatari

Y’know what one of my favorite topics in school was? History. In fact, while I’ve likely mentioned I am a college graduate with a Bachelor’s in English, my minor was in History. There’s a lot to learn from studying the events of the past and how they’ve shaped the present, and it’s something that’s always fascinated the observer in me. This interest often makes its way into the media I consume, as well—such is how I came to discover and take a keen interest in Heike Monogatari.

With a combination of a distinct art style and the promise of some (moderately) realistic depiction of olden-days Japan, it was something I was able to consume fairly easily, despite the eleven-episode runtime. Pus, it had “Monogatari” in its name. If Katanagatari and Bakemonogatari are any indication, anime with that titling tend to just be good by default. It’s a sign.

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Quick Thoughts on Mob Psycho 100 III

This post is overdue for a couple reasons. The first is that this series ended around Christmas of last year. The second is that I actually finished watching it almost ten days ago. Such are the trials of having to pull oneself to be productive, I suppose. Regardless of my subtle excuses, I will be (briefly) elaborating my thoughts on the third season of an anime series that I actually quite like: Mob Psycho 100.

For those of you who want a little more insight on my thoughts after the first three episodes, I have a post on that.

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Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai (Season One) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

This will be the final anime I cover for this year’s Merry Days of Anime. To end it, I wanted to do something very stupid: indulge in something I knew I would probably hate going into. What better example than with Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai, a rom-com harem anime where a geeky-looking doofus happens to attract the attention of multiple way-out-of-his-league women of varying personality archetypes? Just like the old days…

It would seem inevitable that something like this, which would’ve been an easy below-five-scored title for me in my “glory days,” would continue to irritate me in newfound ways. However, I’ve been surprised before! Perhaps this will be a lovely outlier, something that goes beyond its surface triviality and will dig deep into its characters to provide a fulfilling, emotional experience!

Spoiler: it didn’t.

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Tonari no Seki-kun (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

From one dropped manga to another. After only getting through one episode of Hakumei to Mikochi, I ended up giving Tonari no Seki-kun a spin—another anime adaptation of a manga I read to some degree. Unlike with the prior subject, however, I ended up getting fairly far with this one’s manga source. I knew a decent amount of the subject matter before going in.

What ended up surprising was just how little I remember from the manga. That is assuming, of course, that the anime didn’t make up content. The simple premise stays true, though it’s a little more involved than what I recall. Perhaps the manga simply ran its course too long and I found it too tedious; the anime ended up flowing at a pretty consistent, endearing pace.

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Hakumei to Mikochi (Dropped) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

Back in 2016 (the 2016-17 period has been a theme this year), I started (and eventually dropped) a manga by the name of Hakumei to Mikochi. Something about its tranquil nature, amplified by the characters being surrounded by nature, spoke to me. Its distinct chibi aesthetic was also a pleasant appeal. Alas, it would only last six chapters read before I dropped it, though I left no evidence as to why I did so.

Then it received an anime adaptation, and I was actually tempted to watch it while it was airing. That did not happen, so this series has been off of my radar for many years. A nice, carefree watch seemed deserving enough after this month of relatively dramatic and/or energetic titles. I gave it another shot, then promptly remembered why I dropped the manga in the first place.

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Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Movie: Kurenai Densetsu (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

Title’s quite the mouthful. Then again, so is the humor attributed to this franchise. Konosuba is a series I’ve kept up with over the years and have found generally enjoyable. I have posts on both seasons, and with the “film” quota of the month yet to be checked off, it seemed fitting to finally dive in.

Then again, it’s been over five years since I’ve consumed any content from these misfits. From what I recalled prior to seeing this film, there is quite a bit of salacious material that the current me would probably squint at. Yet the energy the cast brings to the table is hard to despise entirely. Almost like a “guilty pleasure” wrapped in a genuinely rambunctious shell. Does the film do anything that the parent series doesn’t?

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Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Re-Watch) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

This will be the last series I re-watch this December. Upon finishing Dance Dance Danseur a few days ago, my heart randomly leapt out of the chest and pointed at this darling series that I haven’t seen since mid-2017. Figuring there was nothing to lose (except for the overall score), I went back to watch Demi-chan wa Kataritai.

Have you ever encountered something that feels tailor-made for you? This series seems to fit that description for me. Upon first viewing, I liked it quite a bit, though my original post is still smugly within an atmosphere of “I have to be an objective, snarky anime critic to stand out.” Still, I saw the signs of something deeper—a connection bridging who I would eventually become to the gentleness of this series’ writing. Watching it again now, I think I have a better understanding of why this invigorates me so.

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Dance Dance Danseur (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

In my years of watching anime, sometimes you can just sense quality from a cover. You should not judge a book by its cover, generally, though this isn’t an absolute rule. If your series has a cover that conveys everything that it embodies, complete with “a soul,” that’s a good very early sign. Dance Dance Danseur was the latest new(-ish) series that intrigued me from appearance alone.

After three straight re-watches, this is the first new series I’ve seen this December. And after watching (almost) four series in roughly eleven days, my desire to ingest is starting to slow. As such, my posting quantity will be a tad less frequent from this point. (In fact, I could have finished this series and written this post on Sunday.) I’ll continue to put the same sort of fun energy I always do in my posts, regardless!

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Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto (Partial Re-Watch) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

In early 2016, I stumbled upon a series by the name of Umi Monogatari. For the record, it has nothing to do with the Monogatari series by Nisio Isin. This series has an abysmally low average rating on MyAnimeList, which intrigued me more than anything. After viewing it the first time, I left with a shockingly positive outcome. “This anime is severely underrated! How can people not understand that this is actually a pretty good series?” I thought to myself often.

Try as I may to keep things positive, a lingering doubt permeated in my mind as the years continued onward. Why is this so low in score? What is it that makes people find this so easy to despise? For this year’s festivities, I wanted to once again travel back to my younger twenties and see if things still held up, particularly a series that has seen its fair share of malignment. After three and a half episodes, I return with one question:

Why… did I think this was good?

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Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata + ♭ (Re-Watch) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

For those unaware, I do actually have posts on both seasons of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (or SaeKano), as well as its movie finale. This is why I marked this as a “re-watch” in the title and didn’t for Sakurasou before this.

This is a series I remember being rather fond of. The way it played with the tropes of its genre and the spirit of its character roster were a cut above the rest upon first viewing. My younger mind was impressed by the self-awareness of the script and how it seemed to poke fun at itself with most situations, even if it was also heavily indulging in sexual fan service all the while.

I am no longer a “noob” with anime. I’ve seen close to 500 series at this point in my life. Plus, I’m no longer as cynical (I hope?). If anything, the expectation would be that I can appreciate the series all the more upon re-watch, right? …Right?

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