KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!

anime konosubaEnglish:  KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Japanese: 
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
Genres:
  Comedy, Fantasy
Episodes:  10
Aired:  January, 2016 to March, 2016
Hummingbird | MyAnimeList | Crunchyroll GogoAnime

“Kazuma Satou is a shut-in die-hard fan of games, anime, and manga. A traffic accident brings his disappointingly brief life to an end, or it should have, but he wakes up and sees a beautiful girl who introduces herself as a goddess. She asks him if he’d like to go to another world but he can only bring one thing with him. Kazumi chooses to bring the goddess. With that, he is transported to another world and his great adventure subjugating the demon king begins, but first the hard work of finding food, clothing, and shelter begins. Kazuma wants to live in peace, but the goddess raises one problem after another, and then the demon king’s army has its eyes set on him.”


KATELYNN’S REVIEW

Rating:  Solid 5 / 7 [ * ]
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Started:  January 13th, 2016
Finished:  March 16th, 2016
Drink Pairing:  Peach Cider and raspberries for the Goddesses!

The weeks ahead are looking bleak without Konosuba.

aqua konosuba

If you haven’t yet dreamt of living in an alternate world and becoming the Hero of said world, then let this serve as a warning to you.  KonoSuba is a hilarious anime that follows Kazuma Satou through his afterlife where instead of going to Heaven to live happily ever after, he is reborn into a world terrorized and run by the Devil King and his monstrous army.  Aqua, the goddess who leads humans who die too young into ever-after, offers one special buff for being reborn into the world to give new Adventurers an advantage (to “avoid instant death”, but really it’s just bribery).

Kazuma was a professional shut-in NEET (as Aqua so affectionately refers to him) who only left his house on a bright, sunny day to buy a new game when he sacrifices himself to save a classmate from getting run over by a tractor.  Of course, given the opportunity to be reborn into a world he had spent years gaming and living in, avoiding reality, he jumped on it and began analyzing the buffs he could bring with him to his new life.  When Aqua rushes Kazuma into making a choice, he throws caution to the wind and chooses to bring Aqua simply out of spite.

And thus, Kazuma and Aqua begin their journey to become expert Adventurers.  Their stark personality differences and lack of cashflow (into their pockets) keeps them in the beginner starting town throughout the first season.  We see their misfit group grow with two other members – Megumin, a young crimson demon ArchWizard who can call forth the ridiculously overpowered magic “Explosion” that can beat almost all opponents, and Darkness, a Crusader with amazing endurance and a strong urge to protect and defend.  Unfortunately, the Goddess-turned-ArchPriest drains any cash with celebratory meals and her never-ending debt, the ArchWizard is rendered immobile after one burst of Explosion and tends to destroy most of the town (and any quest rewards) with it, and Darkness has a masochistic and perverted obsession with torture and pain.  The four of them make the perfect comedy group as they try to stay on top of their impending debt and lack of any useful skills, whatsoever.

“Pound me harder!”
 – Darkness

aqua konosubaLooking at KonoSuba, you could say that it takes a hard look at life and it’s unfairness and hides behind it’s wit.  No matter how hard you wish for something, and no matter how many people before you have gotten that same wish, it doesn’t mean that you will walk the same path or have the same experiences.  One choice does not end the same for any two people, and starting over doesn’t necessarily change things unless you work harder and harder to make it happen…

… I mean, I could go on with the bullshit but why bother?

“Hey, Darkness. I know how stubborn you are, but set aside your hopeless fetishes for now and join me at the edge of the road – ”
“Given my usual behaviour, it can’t be helped that you would think that way, but do you really think I’m a woman of such rigid adherence to my own desires?”
“Sure. It’s obvious you are.”
 – Darkness & Kazuma

KonoSuba is a fantastic self-aware anime that mocks the mainstream fantasy animes that play into the dreams of virtual realities, alternate dimensions, or being re-born and given a second chance (I’m looking at you, No Game No Life, Sword Art Online, and Log Horizon).  The characters are either overpowered and useless or useful and can-barely-hold-a-sword weak, but their flaws make them the perfect match for each other.  Unlike all other adventure shows, they start and end in the same town with almost exactly the same abilities (wait, my apologies – Aqua learns wicked awesome party tricks).  I’m falling short on words for this anime because it transcends words for me at this point – it’s so unbelievably fantastic and loveable and beautifully animated…

I’m not sure how you’ve gone through the first three months of this year without seeing KonoSuba, but you’re probably lucky because you can no-life the entire show without waiting for the next week.  Seriously, go watch this now.

“Explosion!”
 – Megumin

Blood Blockade Battlefront

anime kekkai sensenEnglish:  Blood Blockade Battlefront
Japanese: 
 Kekkai Sensen
Genres:
  Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Super Power
Episodes:  12
Aired:  April, 2015 to October, 2015
Hummingbird | My Anime List | GogoAnime

“A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They’ve lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.”


KATELYNN’S REVIEW

Rating:  3.5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Started:  March 13th, 2016
Finished:  March 13th, 2016
Wine Pairing:  Kokanee Beer and Ginerale – aka. Shanty (aah, so yummy)

Blood Blockade Battlefront is set in the fog enshrouded modern-day city of New York, where both humans and creatures of the Netherworld live in mostly peaceful coexistence.

At least, that’s what the posters tell you.

In all actuality, since the arrival of a portal between New York and the Netherworld three years prior, the city has been a war-zone for politics, economics, gangs, and cultures.  The portal opened a rift in the middle of the city, where it descends down like a whirlpool into the Netherworld.  Special humans in the world capable of using psi, called Castors, created a border to contain the rift from getting larger that left most of New York unblemished by anything more than the fog.  The two worlds merged, and New York becomes the hot-spot for interesting combinations of human-creature inventions of food, fashion, and technology.

Leonardo Watch, aka. Leo, introduces us to this strange city, how he came there with his sister, and has yet to leave.  After a chance encounter with a demon (?) and his sister, Leo is left with the guilt as his sister is blinded and he is gifted with the “All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods”.  With more questions than he knows, he searches for Libra – an underground vigilante organization that helps keep the balance between humas (aka. humans) and creatures – whom he believes has the answers.  Despite only having his “normality” working in his favour, he chances across Libra and joins them in their daily routine of saving New York City – just in time to stop the Kings of the Netherworld as they plot to ruin New York City yet again.

“Dammit! He’s normal!”
– Femt the King of Depravity

The Story

If you couldn’t tell by that description, I am exceptionally confused.  There was too many open questions, things left un-explained, and an overwhelming disappointment at the sudden wrench in the plot’s direction.  Where we are introduced to Leo and Michella in the beginning, we don’t learn much more about them after that.  Half way through we meet White, a secondary character, and then Black who, while a main antagonist, becomes the main protagonist in the last few episodes.  We switch character focus and were given a history lesson on different characters instead of details into the story that could have brought it into another Season.  But throughout watching Blood Blockade Battlefront, I felt like a spectator behind a wall of glass – only perceiving half of the information and missing the preceding necessary information.

What is the purpose to the “All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods” other than to see through other creature’s bullshit and illusions?  Does there always need to be one set of eyes in action?  If Leo dies, does someone else earn them?  And the demon/creature who gave Leo the eyes – what was that about?  It approached Leo and Michella as though this “Taking” is a common occurrence, but none of this is explained to the viewers.   The only other time we see something even close to that is with Black and White when the portal opened at the beginning, but Black didn’t have to give anything but his time and body usage temporarily – he got it all back (after a discussion or two, I’ve been told this may have been a translation error…  Which would make a lot more sense, but it was still irritating).

I really did love the idea of this anime.  I loved the characters, the world – I even love the notion of the story despite it’s many flaws.  I’m holding on to the hope that the anime was a let down and hope to try my luck better with the manga because I’m not satisfied with how the anime ended.  The first eight episodes were perfect even though there wasn’t much of a plot, and they could stand alone as a great anime with episode-to-episode stories.  After that, it falls apart  So watch 1-8 and you won’t regret it.

The Characters & Animation

The intro and outro for Blood Blockade Battlefront were sublime.  Seriously, I could watch these on repeat all day.  See for yourselves:

The animation style suited the characters beautifully.  Their personalities were able to shine through with how they moved, how they appeared in the anime, and their own powers.  I’m a sucker for a good fight scene and watching Klaus fight was obviously the best part of a given episode.

… Along with the outro:

Overall / TL;DR

In the end, I feel like Blood Blockade Battlefront is an anime adaptation that tried to fit too much in too little.  The animation style was on point, and the story is interesting and could be the base for many more awesome episodes and developments.  However with the ending as convoluted and unprecedented as it was, I’m just exceptionally confused about.. everything.  Watch episodes 1-8 for a great anime, and ignore the ending to avoid unnecessary confusion and pain.

Huh? Oh, well, you know… I got tortured.
 – Leonardo Watch

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers

Rokka: Braves of the Six FlowersEnglish:  Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
Japanese: 
Rokka no Yuusha
Genres:
 Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery
Episodes:  12
Aired:  July, 2015 to December, 2015
Hummingbird | My Anime List

“Legend says, when the Evil God awakens from the deepest of darkness, the god of fate will summon Six Braves and grant them with the power to save the world.

“Adlet, who claims to be the strongest on the face of this earth, is chosen as one of the “Brave Six Flowers,” and sets out on a battle to prevent the resurrection of the Evil God. However, it turns out that there are Seven Braves who gathered at the promised land…

“The Seven Braves notice there must be one enemy among themselves, and feelings of suspicion toward each other spreads throughout the group, with Adlet being the one who gets suspected first and foremost.

“Thus begins an overwhelming fantasy adventure that brings upon mystery after mystery!”

 


KATELYNN’S REVIEW

Rating:  5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Started:  January 16th, 2016
Finished:  January 16th, 2016
Wine Pairing:  Peach Cider – that shit’s delicious.

“I’m sure you’re confused, but I’m the strongest man in the world, so I want you to do as I say.”
– Adlet Mayer

This was my favourite line in the anime.  Simple, to the point, and alas, mostly the only thing Adlet knows other than the answer to the only question in this series.

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers is an anime based off the light novel series.  I think that it’s best described as a Fantasy Thriller/Suspense – a classic “who-dunnit” plot with twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire show.  As you can see from the cover, despite history and lore of the God of Fate, seven Braves gather to defeat the Evil God instead of six.  As it’s impossible to have seven Braves, one of the Braves that showed up must be lying – queue Season one.

I went into Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers completely blind – no excuses from me, other than I’m an idiot (and a bit hungover).  My brother said to watch it, I added it to Hummingbird, and then started it.  I never read the synopsis, never clued in that there was only supposed to be six Braves (while there was seven on the covers), and thought the story was progressing exceptionally fast when they’ve already reached the meeting point for the Braves in Episode two or three.  Eventually I came to my senses and realized the plot isn’t beating the Evil God, but to figure out who the Seventh Brave is.  I devoured this series in one day and have set my sights on the Light Novels, which I’ve heard have great translations online.

For any good mystery/thriller/suspense, you need great characters.  Not good characters that you enjoy and laugh at, but characters that you relate to.  Characters that rip your heart out as your grieve for them, and then make you doubt that you’re holding your heart and not a cupcake in your hands.  Of course, our protagonist is Adlet Mayer – the strongest man in the world.  His strength comes from his personality and charisma and love, and his dedication to stay strong for the friends he fights for.  His strength is giving strength to others to keep fighting what’s in front of them, as well as what’s behind them (physically and figuratively).  If you can’t relate to Adlet, don’t worry.  There’s also the boss-lady, powerful in raw magical abilities as well as political power, an assassin with eyes we only see twice (and swishy hair to match his tail) with wit and senses as sharp as his blades, a Princess bound and determined to have an adventure and see more of the world beyond her castle, the Princess’ body guard who would do anything for his lady, a mysterious gun-wielding introvert who doesn’t trust anyone, and the kawaii swampy young-un who just wants to beat the Evil God already!

As the show progresses, you pick your favourite characters and root for them the whole time.  We’re given more in-depth history for several of the characters, but you learn the personalities of all Seven Braves.  By the end, I was rooting for a mistake or third-party because I had a soft spot for almost all of the Braves (yes, almost all of them..  I was still holding onto the hope that maybe I was wrong!).

“Everyone in this group of Braves is strange.”
 – Mora Chester

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers really has a bit of everything.  Fight scenes, romance, character development, ridiculously awesome plot twists, suspense, and personality.  An awesome suspense, with a feel-good ending that was beyond satisfying and exciting.  My only grievance with this anime (as with many) is that it’s not long enough.

“When I’m with you, I want to live.”
– Fremy Speeddraw

Log Horizon

log horizonEnglish:  Log Horizon
Japanese: 
Log Horizon
Genres:
  Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Aired:  October, 2013 to March, 2014
Hummingbird | My Anime ListCrunchyrollAmazon

“One day, while playing the online game Elder Tales, 30,000 players suddenly find themselves trapped in another world. There, eight-year veteran gamer Shiroe also gets left behind. The trapped players are still alive, but they remain in combat with the monsters. The players don’t understand what has happened to them, and they flee to Akiba, the largest city in Tokyo, where they are thrown into chaos. Once proud of his loner lifestyle, Shiroe forms a guild called Log Horizon with his old friend Naotsugu, female assassin Akatsuki and others.”


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Sub
Started:  February, 2014
Finished:  March, 2014
Wine Pairing:  Port. Shiroe is just pure class.

Shiroe, is it all right if I knee this strange man in the face?
Akatsuki

If you liked Sword Art Online, then you’ll also enjoy Log Horizon.  I found that it was more about the politics and semantics about living inside the game, instead of continuing the quests (granted, the characters in Log Horizon are practically above the quests).  There was more humour, less romance, and a lot more scheming by Shiroe.

I loved it and am also loving the second season!

I was just so taken by Akatsuki’s cuteness, I forgot to breathe!
– Henrietta

 

The Seven Deadly Sins

the seven deadly sinsEnglish:  The Seven Deadly Sins
Japanese: 
Nanatsu no Taizai
Genres:
  Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural
Aired:  October, 2014 to March, 2015
Hummingbird | Amazon

“The “Seven Deadly Sins,” a group of evil knights who conspired to overthrow the kingdom of Britannia, were said to have been eradicated by the Holy Knights, although some claim that they still live. Ten years later, the Holy Knights have staged a Coup d’état and assassinated the king, becoming the new, tyrannical rulers of the kingdom. Elizabeth, the king’s only daughter, sets out on a journey to find the “Seven Deadly Sins,” and to enlist their help in taking back the kingdom.”


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  4.5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subbed
Started:  December 27th, 2015
Finished:  January 1st, 2016
Wine Pairing:  Milk.  I don’t know why, but I feel like milk was perfect for this show.  IT’S NOT PERVERTED I SWEAR!

I’m a sucker for ridiculously overpowered characters.  There’s nothing more frustrating than a character that’s limp and useless (*ahem* Liz, I’m looking at you).  Meliodas is my favourite character, with King and Ban tying for second (especially when they bicker).  Hawk was hilarious at first, but became increasingly more annoying as the show progresses.  At the end she just made me feel guilty.  STOP THE FEELS, HAWK!

And I have a few things to say about Liz.

First, unless you turn out to be the re-incarnation of someone-we-won’t-mention, or you have raging desire for Meliodas, PUSH HIM AWAY.  Seriously.  If it wasn’t for Hawk.. well..
Second, I’m still mad at you for the ending.  Because you lied to everyone.  How rude.
Third, I’m jealous of your white hair.  And thank you for becoming friends with

*ahem*  This show is still great and I loved it.  Apparently, we’ll be getting season two sometime this year and I’m stoked!

Wolf Children

wolf childrenEnglish:  Wolf Children
Japanese:  
Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
Genres:
  Drama, Fantasy
Aired:  June, 2012
Hummingbird | Amazon

“Experience the latest masterpiece from the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning director of Summer Wars.

“Hana was a student before she was a mother. She was bright and pretty, and her future held endless possibilities. Then she met a man, who turned out to be a wolf, and together they built a family.Hana loved her mate fiercely, but fate took him from her, leaving her alone with two unusual kids she didn’t know how to raise. Frightened of being discovered, Hana and her wolf children fled to the countryside to build a new life. Raising her little wild things was an adventure. It left Hana bruised, scratched, exhausted, and joyously overwhelmed as her pups grew stronger and wandered further every day. This is a mother’s journey. Teach your children to chase their dreams – and smile through the tears as they disappear into the world in search of who they will become. Hana wasn’t always a mother, but it was always what she was meant to be.”


Katelynn’s Review

Rating:  5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subbed
Wine Pairing:  Tissues because alcohol does not help the situation.

I bawl every time I watch this movie no matter how hard I try.  And yet, I love it.  So much so that I’ve seen it four times (most likely more by the time you read this).

I love the animation style, the characters, the character development, and the dialogue.  There is so much character development that by the time you reach the end of the hour-and-a-half movie, you feel as though you raised Yuki and Ame yourself.  By the end, you start to get the gist of why your parents are so tight to hold on, or so quick to let go.

But still – the feels are strong with this one.

Note:  My brother and I started Wolf Children dubbed in English and got through approximately 10 seconds before deciding there way no way we could watch that with our mother (whom despises subtitles).  She suffered through the subtitles and enjoyed it (we think).