Kakushigoto: My Dad's Secret Ambition (2020, Ajia-do Animation Works)
Kakushi Goto is a struggling Manga artist best known for his "Balls of Fury" dirty jokes series. He decides to keep his job a secret from the day his daughter Hime is born, fearing his job as a Manga artist would cause Hime too much embarassment but it wasn't going to be easy. All the precautions he takes ends up leading to some silly misunderstandings as he lives alone together with now 10 year old Hime.
The teaser got me watching this and when I heard someone drawing dirty Manga I thought it'd be something hardcore but it's just your Crayon Shin-chan kind of dirty. Crayon Shin-chan's jokes are probably worse as you actually see some flashing in that show whereas here you don't actually see anything. No nudity, no fan service, just suggestive jokes. It's mostly gag jokes like those other shows where an episode is made up of around four short Manga strips.
The show is based on the first "10 year old Hime" arc of the original Manga with the more serious glimpses of older Hime, revealing more about their family. You could call it your slice-of-life comedy show as you watch little considerate Hime interact with her friends and then get silly innocent ideas of how to help out her dad in life while her dad, does his best to be a good dad. You'll probably find a lot of things you can relate to even though it's based in Japan and also have fun spotting references to other works.
Every episode has a brief scene shedding some light to Kakushi's family although the serious scenes are short. Rest is all fun, light-hearted comedy with the odd wholesome scene. Oh, and Starbucks is a "Fancy Peeps" place.
It's funny Kakushi's voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya who also voices Levi from Attack on Titan although I guess he voiced Yato too in the action comedy, Noragami. In fact, some scenes will even remind you of Noragami. He also voices Natsume from Book of Friends so this is probably the latter personality.
Art's quite nice with backgrounds done by Kusanagi and the simplicity works well as it portrays a fragile sense of innocence considering the lengths Kakushi goes to to protect his daughter's innocent mind. Some of the locations are in Kamakura which is also where the classic Slam Dunk takes place.
A recommended show.
There's also a recap movie which is done pretty well. I enjoyed it more than the Code Geass recap movies and it also has some new scenes shedding light on the past 1 hour in. There isn't a lot, less than 5 minutes but still good additions.
Worth A Watch
Darwin's Game (2020, Nexus)
Strange outlines of bodies have been appearing all around Shinjuku etched as blocks into various surfaces, some claim they were "street art" someone was creating over night. Kaname Sudo soon finds the real reason behind the "art" as he accidentally takes part in "Darwin's Game", an app that grants its participants unique "Sigil" powers while taking part in timed battles to kill the challenged opponent or survive. Now he must find a way out desperately trying not to kill.
This was one of those shows I knew nothing about. There wasn't any hype either but I saw some of it on TV so I thought I'd watch it. Interestingly enough the first episode was almost an hour long but the rest are your usual length.
At first, it seems like another surival game show full of gore and an excuse for fan service. We even see a girl who jumps straight into bed with the male protagonist as soon as they've met. Literally.
So not so great for first impressions.
However, if you give it a chance and watch on, you'll find it's deeper than that. Despite having powers Kaname actually tries to outsmart his opponents and, his compassion and determination not to kill earns him the respect with a number of other players he meets. Kaname teams up with them and pretty much grows, becoming the strategist on winning along with a fair bit of puzzle solving. Direction's quite good as it flows between fight scenes and puzzle solving. Usually it transitions into the ending theme song too which is a nice touch.
I quite enjoyed watching Kaname team up how he manages to make it through against all the ruthless opponents. As his team grows it's quite enjoyable watching them support each other. It's also quite good to see a survival show that has a normal heroine instead of a yandere type like in Future Diary where hurting is caring.
Too bad the art is quite rough as backgrounds are ok-ish, sometimes abstractly plain, sometimes a bit more detailed. Characters themselves look off in ratio here and there. Their attire look simple and faces lack outline to show much depth or detail. As it basically filled with psychos you can expect plenty of gore although my version was partly censored.
That said, the show just gets better with each episode. Season 1 covers roughly up to volume 8 of the Manga and after watching this you might be more familiar with gem stones.
Worth A Watch
Seven Days War (2019, Ajia-do Animation Works)
Bokura no Nanokakan Sensou
Aya Chiyono's father is given an opportunity to reach the next level of his political career and because of that, she was going to have to move from the rural Hokkaido to Tokyo. Her next door neighbour and also history maniac, Mamoru Suzuhara grew up with her and had always taken a liking to her. After learning of the news soon, they come up with the idea of making her 17th birthday a memorable one by running away to the local abandoned coal factory and hiding for the seven days leading up to it. However, things don't go quite as expected when they discover a young illegal immigrant has also been using the place as a hideout. And so begins the seven day war as the group of classmates work together to protect the immigrant from the authorities.
Saw a trailer of this movie and was interested in seeing it. Based on a novel of the same name there's also an older 1980s live action movie adaptation too. Was surprised it was also by Ajia-do, the studio that produced Kakushigoto. A fun opening even though it's your usual highschoolers messing around then your boy meets childhood sweetheart. And of course, your cliche moving away drama, threatening to tear the couple apart.
Or so it seems.
It then develops into more of a Home Alone meets AnoHana where it's a whole bunch of youths vs adults kind of comedy with friends opening up to each other. Only thing is those scenes are very brief. Even though the title says seven days, it's actually a lot shorter than that as some days are skipped or extremely brief.
Background art by Kusanagi itself is quite nice filled with your usual summery blue skies and other vivid colours associated with similar youth, growing up themes. Characters are lively, fun to watch even though one or two are your cliche Anime personality.
As it's an every day setting you'll be to sure to find the odd moment to relate to. Fairly enjoyable.
Worth A Watch
Vinland Saga (2019, Wit Studio)
After losing the battle against Harald's invading army, the people of Norway were forced either to serve or leave the land. Some of them left and ended up on the cold lands of Iceland. As the harsh cold climate makes it hard for livestock to survive never mind humans, they seek a new warmer and greener fertile land to the West known as, "Vinland". Unfortunately, 15 years later battle soon breaks out again as England invades their lands. Thors Snorresson "The Troll" who had once lead a life of killing as the strongest warrior amongst the mercenary Jomsviking in the Nothern Sea, soon finds his past catching up with him.
His son Thorfinn is left behind on a path of vengeance as he follows the pirates but he barely manages to survive as he is thrown into the rough alone. Thorinn does his best to keep the values his father taught him and seeks vegeance via a fair duel. As he finds himself lacking the power, he soon finds himself used by the pirates as the daring and manipulative Askeladd, leader of the pirates will only grant him further duels after he has impressed him on the battlefield.
Didn't know anything about Vinland Saga other than the hype. Didn't know it was by Wit Studios either who produced Attack on Titan and Kabaneri so guessing people watched it because of that... So it's a show about Vikings.
Based on the history of Vikings with a few familiar names from history such as Harald, Humber River. It even goes into the history of Vikings invading England in the 9th century when King Edgar still ruled before Ethelred took over and started attacking the Vikings. It's probably enough to pique your interest in Norse history. You might even learn a bit of history as it was before the days Britain was united by England conquering the rest of the land.
From watching the OP you can pretty much tell it's the old vengeance path but the show doesn't rush and leads up to it well, despite the overpowered characters. Perhaps the overpowered characters is also the reason why you empathise as you consider how powerless the victims are. You could almost call it One Punch Man the way the main characters are one man armies. Despite that the choreography during the "boss fights" are done really well so you can actually admire the movements rather than your usual hack and slash action. The slowdown at the right moments makes up for the overpowered characters and it's good to see a few of them pitted against each other to keep the balance and in turn keep the show exciting.
You watch as Thorfinn does his best to follow the pirates who just couldn't care less about him as they do not offer him any aid at all most of the time. He does his best to improve himself so that he can get his vengeance in a fair warrior honoured fight. The rest of the show is more about watching the intense battle of the Vikings trying to invade England really while Askeladd uses his wits to manipulate all sides.
The artists have paid attention well on the stylish Viking longboats and patterns on their weaponry which stand out well but, I think the team also went a bit too daring with the 3D CGI which just stands out the odd times. The brutality and level of gore is probably the same as AoT with flying limbs everywhere. Both the music, sounds effects work great with the direction.
In some ways the direction's kind of like AoT when you watch the way Thorsfinn fights, his expressions and reactions. Probably kind of like Kabaneri too even with the amount of gore flying around as if they're fighting zombies sometimes. Thorkell kind of reminds me of Goku. Same laid back nature and always wanting a challenge but in a bad way with a huge bloodlust. Even Saiyan's turning into crazed monkeys.
If you're looking for an intense medieval show full of brutal battles and dramatic one-on-one fights, you'll probably like this. There are no nice characters, just times where only the bold survive. If you're expecting a harem then well, there's none here. Ladies might get offended as women are treated as commodities amongst the barbaric Vikings. There's plenty of ridiculing Christianity too.
It just aaalmost got itself in the recommended with its intense and jaw dropping moments but then always fall back to where it started. For over half the show you're just watching Thorfinn getting stuck in his vengeance obssession but even after that when it does get better, it just returns to ruin it. While I admire Thorfinn's initial determination and perserverance, it's quite pitiful that he's putting himself through so much just to get an honourable revenge. It gets to the point where you think, "Oh no, this again..." and his fights are there just to say, "Hey, I'm still here."
The other point is the world setting since it's based on history, it's not really original and creative. A original world with plenty of attention to its detail can help a show like this full of great art, characters and direction shine a lot more in my opinion.
Fairy Gone (2019, PA Works)
It's been 9 years since the War of Unification ended and so meant "Fairy Soldiers", people who had fairies artificially transplanted into them that could be summoned to aid them in battle. Now they were no longer in demand and seek out other uses for their fairies. "Little Disaster" Marlya Noel and "Blessed" Veronica Thorn were separated when their village of Suna was burned down and its residents who could see fairies were massacred.
While working as a guard for the prominent mafia group, Gui Carlin one day, Marlya meets Veronica again but she was now an assassin living only for revenge. Along the way she also meets Free Underbar, a surviving Fairy Soldier from the war who had been secretly spying on the mafia illegally trading fairies or dealing in other fairy related technology. After naturally gaining the ability to summon a fairy too, Marlya joins The Illegal Fairy Regulatory Agency Dorothea, that Free was part of, hoping to meet Ver again while trying to come to terms with her past.
Meanwhile, multiple organisations are trying to re-assemble the "Black Fairy Tome" to unlock secrets to fairies that could grant them unparalleled power.
An original show written by light novel author Ao Jumonji, produced by PA Works and also one I knew nothing about but looked interesting from the short glimpse I had from TV. It kind of has a tint of Attack on Titan to it given the European-esque setting and characters operating in squads, supporting each other in the face of life and death. Yet, the squad's so big but you only see a few of them.
I'm not so sure about the lore in this show because it seems like a tired setup of two nations at war using special powers. The same goes for people summoning beings to fight for them. It spends a number of episodes building up a fantasy world but doesn't go anywhere with it but then suddenly the fantasy's gone and becomes more of a modern day world filled with spying and conspiracy. You'd expect something big to have happened or at least intrigued you with its world setting at least.
They might as well have just got rid of the fantasy and focused on the conspiracy element because they spend so little time fleshing out the former. It tries to come up with a intricate setting with a lot of fancy sounding names but it all feels very stale. You can tell they're trying very hard to look like an exotic European tale complete wth English music but they don't manage to pull it off.
Every episode it does a flashback so it feels as if Marlyna's past is the main story and the present hardly matters which is probably why she's the only character that'll grow on you with the whole everyone close to her dies curse. Even then it took about 10 episodes to get to which is about half the show.
One particular line, "We fought and fought... and fought... and fought..." pretty much sums up most of this show. You don't really feel much for the rest of the characters or their cause which is to prevent another breakout of war. The tension just isn't there despite all the scheming.
That said the first arc of 12 episodes wrapped up with a good fight.
The way this show goes about establishing its lore and world setting is all over the place. Not even the smooth battle scenes and art PA Studio is known for is enough to save it. It takes too long to pick up and the journey to that point isn't worth the time so I'll have to give this a miss.
If you do watch it anway there's an extra scene after the credits each episode during the first arc.