Day Twenty-Four: Thank You for Smoking (MotM 2018)

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I don’t smoke. I don’t think you should, either. But it’s not my place. You can do whatever you want. That’s the beauty of never truly adhering to one side or another—you can be on either side of the argument, so you can never be wrong. You may piss some people off in the process, but people are always angry because they’re wrong, and that’s because you’re right. Continue reading “Day Twenty-Four: Thank You for Smoking (MotM 2018)”

Updated Thoughts on Seitokai Yakuindomo (1st Season)

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Do you like sex jokes? No? Then what the hell are you doing here? Close the tab!

Seitokai Yakuindomo is a series I first viewed during the dawn of the first Summer of Anime back in 2012. It’s been a very, very long time coming, so I was looking forward to what I would think of it the second time around. Turns out, it holds up surprisingly well, considering the entire premise is all one will get out of it. While some sexual imagery in the form of unclothed women is presented from time to time, the most explicit content this anime presents is through dialogue and subtle visual manipulation. Censors block out a good chunk of what they’re saying, but if the subtitles are any indication, this is among the most raunchy anime I have ever seen.

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Be warned, Seitokai Yakuindomo very rarely holds back on being blunt, with things such as sex and any sort of variation of it, vibrators, chastity belts, vulgar terms (cock, blowjob, tits), and implications of pedophilia (through means of an older female teacher, so it’s not as bad…?) being fair game with its type of humor. The anime’s atmosphere never implicates anything being said should be taken seriously, which while is fine, still holds some pretty heavy subject matter. Thoughts of sterilizing sexual promiscuity and borderline illegal behavior never came to light while watching this series, but I could understand someone being “triggered” by the things being played with. I realize I make this series sound a little intimidating; rest assured that it’s only for the most sensitive types, as most of it is just blatantly hypersexual for the sake of being hypersexual.

To some degree, this manner of honest sexual prowess from Japan’s youth, coupled with the fact that the most sexual-minded characters are among the student council, responsible for keeping the youth in check, makes the series rather unique. As stated above, a lot of the vulgarity is through dialogue and subtle manipulation, not outright showing characters fuck each other with strap-ons. It’s a strange combination of the slice-of-life flicks that endear with the struggles of common youth and hardcore ecchi that only mean to serve the viewer’s hormones. Of course, in a realistic setting as an ordinary high school student council, the type of exaggerations of hardcore ecchi aren’t possible, so they compromise by making the dirtiness spew from the characters’ mouths, and occasionally their actions. High schools in Japan are fairly strict, so why not compensate the lack of panty shots with talk of finding split ends among their pubic hair?

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Aside from sex jokes, the basic foundation of comedy in Seitokai Yakuindomo is the “Straight Man” set-up. One characters makes a ridiculous statement, while another reacts in a realistic manner. The most immature student council members talk of masturbation, while the male lead reacts with aghast. I’ve seen various series where this set-up works, though here it leaves a lot to be desired, as it’s very rarely funny. Part of this lies on the one typically playing the straight man, Tsuda, the male lead. There’s very little enthusiasm in his responses, which only better implements how little personality he has. His presence among the cast isn’t by any means intolerable, just that he doesn’t liven up the show with his own brand of character. Times like this I wish there was a male lead similar to the type of one in Seitokai no Ichizon. Seeing as the anime is based off of a 4-koma, there are quite a few jokes packed into each episode, similarly to Nichijou, so the chances at humor are fairly high, even if most are crowded in misses.

Characters themselves fall within the type of depth predicated by their interest in sexual activities. There are characters who provide the sex jokes and those that react to them as straight men. And then there is Suzu, whose only defining trait is that she has a height complex and is constantly being treated like a kid, much to her chagrin. Despite this, she is best girl and anyone who disagrees can duke it out with me on the playground. There is an overwhelming superiority in the number of characters who provides sex jokes compared to those who don’t. There are characters who salivate over others in strange ways, prey upon the desires of younger men, take pictures of lewd material for profit, create vibrators, even SANTA CLAUS can’t escape his horny tendencies through this series! In a way, the more characters that are introduced, the more one-dimensional this series becomes, as the scenarios become more predictable as characters behave within their one joke.

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It’s a series better served if not taken seriously. It’s a parody of sorts, with occasional references and carpet-pulling of expectations playing a key part in its enthusiasm. Character development is a foreign concept. There is development between characters, though whether it’s well implemented or not isn’t really the focus the series wants to show. Much like Nichijou again, in fact, the series is quite subtle in any and all terms of character development, interaction, and purpose of inner conflict. The real “point” is decent fun and comedy. Fortunately, if one is tired of the squeaky-clean environment of anime comedy, Seitokai Yakuindomo is sure to blow your load.

While not an amazing show, I find it almost ironic that I once rated this lower than the likes of Hidan no Aria and Infinite Stratos. (God, was I young!) Hell, when I was implementing my scores from my disheveled notebooks into my MyAnimeList account for the first time, I looked at my score for Seitokai Yakuindomo and thought to myself, “Really? Why did I dislike it so much?” The nostalgia laced with this series (as with most series I viewed in 2012) allowed me to think fondly of it despite my grievances, and now in 2017, with three-hundred more anime under the lid, I can say that there was good reason for it. Not an immediate recommendation, but I can guarantee it’ll be a wild one night stand for those in the mood for it.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Early Impressions: Renai Boukun

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Three episodes in, I’m having flashbacks to 2013.

What I mean by the above statement is that, for a time, my choice in anime was along the lines of satiating my base interests. This is a vague way of saying I watched a lot of stupid romcoms that one would categorize as “The cancer of anime.” Series such as MM!Mayoi Neko Overrun!Asobi ni Iku yo!, and other series ending in exclamation points. While I know they’re bottom of the barrel, there are a number of series like these that hold a dear place in my heart, nostalgia playing a part of heightening the rampant stupidity. What does this have to do with Renai Boukun? It has that same vibe to it.

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This “vibe” wasn’t immediately present, as the first two episodes were something of a chore to sit through. Its debut ran through the introductory stages like a madman, leaving nothing out of the imagination in terms of unashamed fetishizing and appealing to base romantic affections. Like a rollercoaster without a safety bar running at hyperspeed, Renai Boukun seems to thrive on being spontaneous and rebellious. Coupled with some incredibly one-dimensional characters and a ridiculous plot that loopholes itself into cheesy, embarrassing situations, it has the potential of setting the brain ablaze.

Episode three seems to have latched onto my spirit and given me a feeling I haven’t felt in a very long time. Flashbacks of those stupid romcoms of years past began to show themselves around one of their kin. Renai Boukun has that sort of quality that almost makes fun of itself along with shows with such horrendous sexual bait as plot devices. Evidence of this exists in the first two episodes, though it wasn’t until episode three that the characters showed a tad more of their softer sides… or so I tell myself. Frankly, there’s so serious reason as to why it happened in episode three that I became accustomed to its tomfoolery. It happened suddenly, almost like the execution of the anime itself.

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Enjoying a series like this hinges upon a viewer’s expectations. It’s dumb. The premise tells you that. The cover art tells you that. Going into this expecting anything more than it being dumb and flaunting its ridiculous brand of humor would be dumb. As unusual as it sounds, there’s potential here—not so much that it’ll become a masterpiece among anime, but as a top-tier dumb show. The type of anime people with guilty pleasures (like me) will be able to look forward to to appeal to their inner interests, shrouded behind a glossy persona of staunch cynicism. Renai Boukun will never be anything more than a dumb show, and for what it’s worth, it’s perfectly aware of that. From this point on, maximizing the potential of its place among dumb shows should be the aim for its twisted aloofness.

Thoughts on Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

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Initially, I wasn’t captivated with the idea of a silly slice-of-life/comedy involving humanoids with dragon features. It seemed to be a contrived way of following a recent trend of “monster girl” success cases. Also noteworthy is the studio, Kyoto Animation, who have a tendency to express moe to new heights. Look at the cover photo for this anime and tell me it doesn’t look like it’ll be nothing but moe fluff.

The Winter season moved along and I ended up dropping one of the seasonal anime I watched weekly, leaving space for it to be filled. After juggling between this and Demi-chan wa Kataritai, I ended up going with Dragon Maid. That was a great decision.

In an unprecedented turn of events, the one I never even considered became my seasonal MVP. Almost like Kurt Warner leading the Rams to the Super Bowl after going undrafted. Any normal reader of mine will not get that reference at all.

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Irony is heavily involved within the first paragraph, as despite its appearance, Dragon Maid has a lot more going for it than moe characters and situations. It reminds me somewhat of K-On!, another work from KyoAni that features a heavy dose of moe with semblances of a deeper emotional bond between characters, effectively giving them more than their base personalities. Dragon Maid is very similar in that regard, with characters being subject to tense or tender moments within the rambunctiousness for the effect of deepening bonds. By series’s end, the closeness between Kobayashi and Tohru, her dragon maid, is more than noticeable.

With that box checked, is there anything else this series does generally well aside from animation and moe?

Not really.

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The Warner comparison is a tad hyperbole, because if this anime were the equivalent to the Super Bowl, the two teams involved would be 9-7 and find difficulty in making the entire game interesting. Dragon Maid‘s dominance over the rest of the choices I made this season wasn’t so much that it was amazing, but it didn’t have a lot of competition. What this anime manages to accomplish in its time frame includes a base amount of entertainment and whimsy with each episode, supported by strong character interaction and cutesy expressions/behavior. The animation is fairly impressive for its genre and one can notice the detail with each movement. Almost like a pre-established hindrance, the genre disallows a lot of further development outside of basic love and understanding.

Oftentimes when two species with little interaction are brought together under one roof, it becomes a battleground of expectations and misconceptions. This is brought to light a number of times, with the issue of a dragon and a human interacting to be a threat to the “balance between worlds.” Obviously, the viewer, assuming they are aware of basic principles of empathy and clichés, knows that there’s no harm in Kobayashi interacting with Tohru and other dragons. Only the stigma of species hierarchy stands in the way of complete tranquility, something this series wishes to be true so frankly. Whenever the issue is brought up, it slowly foreshadows an upcoming dramatic event that could change everything. This is the one thing that prevents Dragon Maid from being Lucky Star with dragon ladies. And as is predictable with something so lopsidedly moral, when push comes to shove, happiness triumphs and everyone is comfortable. Woooo.

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The praise that should be given to Dragon Maid is that the effort is there, and on a consistent(ly small) basis. Heartfelt conversations, moments of clarity and appreciation, fond moments of genuine care. It appeals to the inner workings of the audience without preaching it. Its timing appears too blatant at times, though it makes up for it with the soft atmosphere. Better yet, many of the characters receive this attention for affection. Even minor characters that appear as time goes on both give and receive some lovely development. Uneven between the cast as it may be, again, the effort is there.

Otherwise, Dragon Maid is a fairly simple series that doesn’t try to do too much. The heart of the matter is showcasing the simple pleasures of adult life (not that way) with a fantasy tinge. Some manners of cliché sneak in, both through excerpts of comedy and drama (Girl has big boobs, let’s point it out; All good things must come to an end), as is almost typical of a slice-of-life. The amount of moe is also heavily present, but somewhat controlled. It picks its moments well, though at times it can’t help itself (any scene involving Saikawa and Kanna). While for the most part consistent in showing the entertaining sides of normal life through character charm, there are moments of weakness, particularly around the mid-point. The final episode is also not my cup of tea, as I feel it ruins the mood of the series. These segments feel a little too moe for the sake of being moe.

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Heart and character charm are enough to boost this series to the top of the slice-of-life charts, lighting a significant fire for series to follow suit. Establishing a bridge between pure slice-of-life relaxation and the goofy charm of comedies, I predict to see a number of future stories try to do what Dragon Maid does tremendously well, albeit at the cost of anything more. Whether or not these stories continue the trend of human-mythical creature hybrids depends on the times. Of course, with the huge success of Kemono Friends in Japan, it’s more likely than unlikely.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Thoughts on Mob Psycho 100 (Spoilers?)


Don’t be fooled; this is no One Punch Man. Well, maybe a little.

Unfair or otherwise, Mob Psycho 100 will always be compared to One Punch Man. It features the same author, very similar art styles and humor, and nearly identical leads.  The only thing that really separates the two are the stories and the seriousness of the content involved. While One Punch Man is more geared towards parody and lightheartedness, Mob Psycho 100 turns a more serious leaf upon the unexplored consequences of having supernatural abilities. While Saitama uses his powers aloofly and concerns himself more over grocery store sales than enemies, Shigeo is more inward, self-conscious about his differing defining trait. Despite how similar these characters are, their difference in behavior alone creates a completely different atmosphere.


Before watching Mob Psycho, I saw one of the top reviews on MAL criticize the show for being “uncreative,” due to its similarities to One Punch Man. Seeing both shows, and over three-hundred others, I feel this is an unfair comparison, especially when the sample size is only two shows. Most authors with multiple works tend to draw inspiration from themselves and highlight what they’re good at more than anything; in this case, quirky design and animation with humor breaking common expectations. I could understand this criticism holding more weight if the author, ONE, had ten works instead of two that all followed a certain trend. The criticism doesn’t even hold much merit when compared to other anime before it, as Mob Psycho is a bit of a trendsetter in terms of characterization and artistic flair. There isn’t any anime that’s quite like Mob Psycho, except One Punch Man, of course.

Criticism should be exhumed, however, by the manner in which the series deals with its handling of introducing the “main threat(s)” of the series. Also similarly to how One Punch Man introduces its giant assortment of heroes, Mob Psycho has a number of threatening characters pop up one after another, quickly given info of their ambitions, lives, and defining personality trait, only to be blown to bits shortly (or eventually) after. This is primarily within the second-half of the show, but aspects of it appear around the fifth episode or so. In the past, I’ve griped about how shounen adore trying to introduce one strong enemy after another, then quickly make them human by justifying their actions—or sometimes not even bothering with that. It makes the action boring, the constant blabbering feels like a waste of time, and the mental checklist of the series gets a pat on the back before getting on with what everyone actually wants to see. Nothing fuels my boredom/irritation more than disingenuous execution. One might find it odd that I start with this of all things, but one must understand that this is, by all accounts, one of the most common issues I have with shounen in particular, and Mob Psycho is no different.


It’s second-half feels a little inflated with the number of different themes it wants to present and carry through. Satisfying the shounen addict with cool action scenes and a central focus over a long string of episodes, all while continuously building upon the insecurity of Shigeo and his abilities. And the power of friendship, kind of. The strongest section of this anime is when it accounts for the budding insecurities of the central (or soon to be central) characters in Shigeo, his brother, and his classmates. While some feel incredibly rushed (Kamuro), others provide a lot of insight into caring for the characters and their pure-at-heart ambitions. Episode five in particular had just enough at stake to remain compelling throughout, and tests the will and the strength of a seemingly emotionless character, not to mention provides some more info upon the correlation between Shigeo, his powers, and his emotions. Episodes prior had a little of this, but also had a carefree feel to them that I enjoyed, relying a lot on character interaction and goofy humor to float by until the inevitable serious turn. With this serious turn, another inescapable issue arises.

One of the most important aspect of writing is the ability to express to the audience how or why a character is behaving the way they are. It creates a multi-dimensional relatability that the viewer can then relate to, creating a stronger emotional bond. Experts would advise writers this go by this very simple, but often difficult challenge: “Show, don’t tell.” Mob Psycho tells. It tells a lot. It tells so much that it makes me wonder if ONE is in love with being the link between the reader and the characters within the story, constantly butting in with monologues explaining exactly what’s going on both pragmatically and psychologically. This starts, ironically, in episode five, the strongest episode of the series. But they do so to end it, causing a thud of emotional release that’s timed perfectly with the “Explosion” that had taken place, while also providing a dark truth to Shigeo’s character. After this, however, it goes absolutely crazy with it. Like ONE really liked the ending to episode five so much that they decided to add it everywhere hoping for the same effect. It didn’t, in fact it got kind of irritating as most of what was said became redundant. I can see perfectly well the things that are going on and why a character is doing what they’re doing. Have more confidence in the visual effects of a character’s actions, ONE.


Speaking of visual effects, Mob Psycho is often praised for being visually stimulating. I would agree to this, as the art style is distinct and offers a great variety of differing aspects that provide more charm to the humor, specifically. It’s also nice to see the appearance of some play into their characterization and the “breaking expectations” style of humor. The fight scenes are also quite bedazzling, though the fight scenes tend to be rather quick. Short and sweet. While the animation is typically fluid and easy to follow, there are times when the design of characters feels too lazy. Shigeo looks like Saitama, except with a head of hair. Simple lines for a nose, eyes, and mouth. Other characters hardly differ, especially kids from his school (outside delinquents and his club members). They all have this sort of distinct, yet familiar style of simple sketchiness. While it works, there are times when I feel they could’ve done more to make the characters more… attractive, I suppose. More appealing to look at, to go along with the amazing stunts that they’re pulling off. It goes better along with the humor, I suppose.

It’s a little disheartening to have a series end the way Mob Psycho does. Not because it’s a cliffhanger, but because it’s been done to death so often by others. Defeating the threat introduced halfway through the series, only to foreshadow the arrival of a bigger, badder threat whose power seems out of reach. While a certain character made the final episode feel all the more chaotically whimsical, it couldn’t escape the cliché clutches of the typical shounen ending. One could argue that this type of ending was necessary by what was presented and the arrival of a second season makes the issue kaput. However, I’ve always been one to judge a series, or any other subject, with as little outside information as possible, judging the subject for the subject alone—what it represents, embodies, and delivers of its own accord. The announcement of a second season isn’t going to make me feel any less unfulfilled by the first season’s ending.


There’s a lot to like here, particularly with the emphasis on character and how the (first-half) story serves to make it more engaging. Animation is also a stimulating point, but I was (and typically am) less enamored with that than the weight underneath all of that. The second-half feels a lot more Naruto than Mob Psycho, and while that may cause a few to hiss, it does so with ONE’s signature brand of humor and wit… just with Naruto’s love of drawn-out pacing and enemy introduction/gloating. It isn’t nearly enough to derail the content into an unfathomable void of mediocrity, though it prevents it from being something truly marvelous. Mob Psycho 100 is not One Punch Man. It’s better, I think.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Thoughts on Kamichu!


Slice-of-life isn’t normally my forté. I feel the focus on everyday life and the beauty of relaxing within a realistic realm of charming monotony is an appreciative dullness at best. The type of slice-of-life I prefer are those that focus on the quirks and charisma of the characters within, who drive the plot themselves and make the most of their (admittedly one-dimensional) bombasity. While pure slice-of-life enthusiasts may spit on me for even encouraging the bastardization of their feel-good mood-pleasers, I think there’s potential in allowing forth both the pleasure in environment and everyday, and the characters within them. While I wasn’t expecting to have that sort of analysis beforehand, Kamichu! is an interesting case of combining both aspects to create a hybrid prior to the days of Lucky Star and otherwise.

There’s a heavy emphasis on normalizing the aspect of the fantastical in Kamichu!. Yurie, an innocent and clumsy middle-school girl, has been deemed a god by a source not revealed within the series. It begins with her already being aware of her new powers and most everyone within her community knowing, too. There’s no expected shock and awe, the piercing gazes of disbelief, or strange cults devoted to bowing down to her every whim. Yurie is a god, yet everyone still sees her as Yurie. There’s little indication as to how much time has passed between the debut episode and the time she attained her powers, but one would probably predict anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, as a lot of what happens to Yurie during the course of the anime is completely new to her. The subtle implication of people simply acknowledging the change around them and moving on is a nice spark that gives the series a proper slice-of-life vibe. Very little within Kamichu! is exaggerated for the sake of goofy gags or silly faces. There’s a vague, intertwining feeling of serious and light-heartedness that comes with the innocence that surrounds the plot.


Interestingly enough, the type of show Kamichu! embodies changes as the episodes go along. There’s the structure of progression, along with the feeling of experiencing new things as Yurie’s godhood allows her a number of new events to unfold, that’s consistent, but the focus tends to be shaky depending on the situation. There are some episodes that feel entirely like filler, that show Yurie in a situation that adds little to her characterization or her “godliness,” if you will. These episodes usually feature one-shot characters that never appear again, along with plots that clearly define what is right or wrong. The middle point of the series (roughly episodes four to nine) feature most of these types of episodes, and are the episodes I found most bland and forgettable. Kamichu! is directed more at children, so this type of filler-like quality is almost like revisiting Meitantei Holmes and its near-endlessly repetitive episode structure. Regardless, it didn’t do much in terms of consistent entertainment (I nearly fell asleep on more than one occasion).

Other episodes within, fortunately, are what make this show so memorably exuberant. While not all completely spectacular, the episodes that focus more on established characters and their interactions with one another are where Kamichu! shines its beacon brightest. The characters are distinct on both physical and emotional levels, and new characters are at least memorable (in these cases). Yurie is clumsy and good-hearted, Mitsue is calm and level-headed, and Matsuri is a prime and proper businesswoman, full of charm and forwardness very unlike her cohorts. While Mitsue doesn’t get many opportunities to stick out, her presence is one that is consistent and appreciated especially by Matsuri. Yurie’s infatuation with the school’s sole member of the calligraphy club, Kenji, is something of an innocent whimsy that is taken advantage of in many cases. Kenji himself is somewhat of an aloof enigma that takes being oblivious to new heights. All of these characters, and characters one may not expect to relate to, give off a giant tent of familiarity that exceeds most other shows I’ve seen within the genre. Perhaps it’s the relative lack of comedy or the way the personalities of the characters aren’t used for gags; whatever reason, the characters, by series’s end, become surprisingly welcome within the viewer’s mind.


For a series animated in 2005, Kamichu! has some old tricks that new dogs hardly seem to employ. Of course, seeing as it is 2005, these old tricks are used sparingly, between inconsistent animation and design. During key segments (and sometimes randomly), animation will spin with a consistency that genuinely awed me, with small, inconsequential movements being treated as integral to a scene’s success. The movement of hair, blinking, finger movements, and others become some of the more noticeable distinctions from the stiff movements of other series. As noted before, most characters are distinct from one another, with emphasis on hair color and style, and height difference. It looks so different that one could fault it for trying to be too different. Positives aside, the animation is rather shaky at times, with characters looking rather unlike their normal selves. There’s also a blandness to the color palette that makes the series both more realistic and more dull. Overall, I would say the animation is decent, but never quite spectacular. It’s nice sometimes, but mostly ordinary in the most mundane of ways.

Something I briefly mentioned were the romance and comedy aspects, which both fluctuate in importance throughout. There is surprisingly little of both, seeing as there are a couple pairable duos within and plenty of opportunities for amusement. Romance becomes important enough to become the theme of a few episodes, while comedy is sprinkled throughout in the form of irony and relatably awkward situations. I believe the incorporation of both in this sense both improves and hampers the quality of the writing, as it makes the series more believable from a preteen’s point of view, but also less entertaining overall to watch. While I enjoyed most of the characters and their interactions, it takes a while to truly care about their endeavors, especially when experiencing the long train of “filler” episodes. The final three episodes are spectacular in incorporating comedy and romance to their fullest potential within this setting, but by that point, how many would really find time to appreciate it? Kamichu! is a slow-paced show in general, with its speed very rarely fluctuating overall. The romance hardly comes to any satisfying fruition, but what is shown (in episode eleven particularly) gives enough “D’aww!” to satisfy most. With comedy, well, don’t go in expecting Non Non Biyori, because it isn’t. At all.


I’ve planned to watch this show since around 2013, when I found the series randomly scrolling around MyAnimeList. The premise sounded benign, though something about it strangely called out to me, which is why I never took it off all these years. This may be why I never got around to watching it until now, either. Kamichu! has a serene atmosphere that makes the show give the more fantastical elements more stability than excitability. Despite the presence of gods and supernatural abilities, people take it more as another aspect of life, something that’s been embedded within their culture forever and has become another familiar aspect of the everyday. Whether or not this sounds good for you is for you to decide, as the series sticks to what it knows. What I know is that the show had potential from the first two episodes or so, but couldn’t quite remain consistently insightful for me to give full marks of recommendation. It has charm in bursts, especially for those patient enough to look for them.

The rating for these titles and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.