Anime Review: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Are you a fan of performing arts? What about an anime fan? Then this might just be the anime for you; an intriguing blend of drama, comedy and outright strangeness. Join Timlah as we look through this little hidden gem.

Continue reading “Anime Review: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju”

Anime Review – Watamote

Oh anime, you don’t really leave any stone unturned, do you? One moment you’re telling us of the epic tale of an Alchemist and his brother whose soul is bound in a suit of armour, the next you’re telling us of a guy who wants the worlds energies to be lent to him so he can unleash a devastating attack upon the world. But no, this anime is all about a girl who is in secondary school. Ah, it’s slice of life comedy time.

Oh anime, you don’t really leave any stone unturned, do you? One moment you’re telling us of the epic tale of an Alchemist and his brother whose soul is bound in a suit of armour, the next you’re telling us of a guy who wants the worlds energies to be lent to him so he can unleash a devastating attack upon the world. But no, this anime is all about a girl who is in secondary school. Ah, it’s slice of life comedy time.

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Story

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Socially awkward and all around creepy, Watamote tells the tale of Tomoko Kuroki, a young girl in high school. Whilst she’s really good at dating simulators, she’s not particularly good at chatting to boys (and indeed even girls) in her school. The realisation of her unsociability dawns on her quickly and Tomoko sets out to improve herself, through many different means. As you can imagine, hijinks and hilarity ensue.

Tomoko doesn’t have many people she can chat to. She gets along with her family and her very limited friend pool (note: 1). As such, she spends most of her time engrossed on the internet, studying ways to get better – Or she plays dating simulators, in the hopes that she can be better at chatting to people in the real world. Of course this rarely proves to be the case and she’s generally happy when she’s able to talk to anyone, including her brother.

Visuals and Opening Sequence

Fans of a bit of simple metal will enjoy the opening theme tune of Watamote.

Overall

This isn’t a normal comedy, where you just see silly things happen a lot. No, this is a sweet little series, which has 12 episodes on Crunchyroll which can be viewed for free in standard definition. I’d highly recommend this series if you’re happy with silly humour, which features a girl who is just all together a strange girl.

Alternatively, were you the socially awkward boy or girl in your school? Perhaps this series, as funny and as over-the-top as a slice of life comedy usually gets is, will be a harsh reminder that you too were, or still are like this. If this is the case – Let us know what you are/were like in the comments below, over on Facebook and Twitter.

Review – You and Me 2

The slice of life genre is such a large part of anime, that it’s sometimes pretty tricky to see the good through the bad. Thankfully, Crunchyroll has delivered another anime series which I deem to be a worthy watch. Read on to find out more about Kimi to Boku 2, also known as You and Me 2!

The slice of life genre is such a large part of anime, that it’s sometimes pretty tricky to see the good through the bad. Thankfully, Crunchyroll has delivered another anime series which I deem to be a worthy watch. If you’re a veteran of the slice of life genre, or if you’re new to it, You and Me 2 is a wonderful series which is easy enough for anyone to get into. So just what is You and Me 2 all about and why is it worth your time?

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This is really more of a collection of stories than a progressive storyline. You and Me 2 features 5 teenage boys who are all pretty poor in their love lives. One is relatively perverted, one is a big softy, two are twins who have the looks but seriously lack the personality (more on that shortly)… And the other one is teased by the other boys as they believe that his mother loves him. No, no, not normal motherly love: as in loves him. It’s a little surreal, but it’s funny to watch it unfold.

The twins I alluded to having a lack of personality. Whilst this is true, it’s not a knock on them as characters. They are made to show a lack of empathy, so whenever one of them shows emotion of any kind, I couldn’t help but sit back in my chair in shock. They’re a funny pair too, one of them is hard working whereas the other shows no commitment to work what so ever. In one episode, the slacker wants to get himself a new game, so he finally buckles up and gets himself a job. Which, when you have a group of 5 friends, can only go well, right?

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The series has a definite feel good feeling to it. With its happy theme tune and its highly simplistic story lines, you go into each episode feeling relaxed. It doesn’t throw any major curve balls at you, nor does it try to shake up the feelings of its audience. It’s just an all around sweet anime that follows the lives of these 5 boys. From hanging around in one another’s homes, to going on dates and experiencing first kisses, these 5 are all together clueless about the world and they’re taking their time to learn more about their world and how they, “as adults” should act.

As with any slice of life anime that I watch, the comedy elements in You and Me 2 are superb. In fact, if there were no comedy in this show, it’d probably be too dull for my liking, albeit it’s all together sweet and happy. The characters are outlandish enough but still make it believable! It’s a fun anime to watch, if only for the comedy – But it’s not overdone. It gives us real life situations and unlike other shows, such as Nichijou which will go completely overboard, You and Me 2 will give you the story how it is. From messing up an order at a cafe, to one of them finding out about their younger brothers girlfriend and how they’ve already kissed, this features 5 young friends who spend a lot of time together.

You and Me 2 Mix JuiceIf you are a fan of Slice of Life comedy anime, then this should be on your list of “to watch”. It’s all together a sweet and happy anime, with some proper feel good elements in it. If you like anime that just makes you feel good, then I implore you to watch this one. The characters are all likeable, of which I couldn’t pin point a “star of the show” per se. All I know is, I want to hear more singing from Kaname.

Yup, I want to hear more, buddy!
Yup, I want to hear more, buddy!

All in all, go ahead and give this one a watch. It’s not one you must see in your life, but if you’re looking for a simple pick me up, this series could be just that. The Japanese name for this show is Kimi to Boku 2. I wonder if I can find the original Kimi to Boku series on Crunchyroll. It seems to not matter if you watch the second series first – It’s all well enough explained and you get a feel for who’s who in this anime very quickly. Have you seen this show? Do you like the sounds of it? As always, put your comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter.

Working!!

Working!! is a slice of life series created by Karino Takatsu in 2005, also known as Wagnaria!! to anime fans. What is Working!! and why so many exclamation points!?

I found out about this series thanks to Kevin of The Mental Attic so many thanks Kev for sharing this amazing series with the world.

Enough shouting, let’s get down to it!

 

Plot

The anime follows Sōta Takanashi, a 16-year old high school student who is recruited to work in the Wagnaria restaurant that the whole show is based around. Wagnaria is a family run restaurant which is a little bit different.

This happens. A lot.

Sōta is obsessed with anything small, often breaking down over simple things such as puppies and even a girl in Wagnaria who he finds too cute. He likes things that are smaller than him as he feels he has to protect them at all costs. Other than that though he has three sisters, two of which are older than him. It’s through them and many others that he’s sort of grown to resent older women as they have caused him torment throughout his life.

Sōta is loud and is very opinionated and believes that everyone else needs to hear his opinions, so he often gets into trouble by being too much of himself. However, deep down he means well and he starts to meet his match when he meets a girl called Mahiru Inami… Who is an Androphobe (Afraid of men).

Without giving too much away, let’s just say that hilarity ensues and some of the themes covered are: Androphobia, cross-dressing and working in an abnormal kitchen.

The cast of Working!!

 

Sound

As usual we touch upon music and sounds which is important to note. The voices are stereotypically very Japanese when watching the subbed versions of this series, however it’s good to point out that the characters are quite easy to distinguish even when they’re shouting.

The opening theme is typical of a comedy slice of life series. It’s upbeat, happy and positive. When the last noise in the theme is a literal “Yay!” you know you’re going to be enjoying something jolly.

That is until the beatings occur!

Art

Warnaria and its inhabitants are well designed and are simple on the eye. The designs are all relatively simple and they all look rather normal compared to some series, yet they all stand out in their own little ways.

Touching upon Mahiru Inami from earlier, she comes across as a shy type in her looks alone.

The characters are easy to distinguish and look like their personalities – A win all around!

Summary

Working!! is honestly just lovely and I can’t describe this series in any other way. At only 13 episodes, you’d be forgiven to think it’s not even a series. It does mean that buying the DVDs is pretty easy with just a few discs to keep.

The artwork is simple yet easy to distinguish and the voice acting in Japanese is very good. The theme tune is brilliant and catchy and yes, this series makes you feel happy all around. I’m happy with having watched Working!!

I shall give Wagnaria:

4.5 / 5

The only thing that could have given it that little .5 more is if the series was longer and fulfilled the story more. Where it finished off, I did feel a bit hallow, like it was over too soon. That is the only criticism I can give of this lovely, easy little gem.

Have you seen Working!!/Wagnaria!!? What did you think of it or do you know of a series similar? Please do not hesitate to leave us a message below!