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New Game!!

July 14, 2017

The “ニューゲーム”four-panel manga by Tokunou Shoutarou already spawned a first anime adaptation that aired last year, this workplace slice-of-life comedy is back for a second season with “New Game!!”.

A year has passed since Aoba joined game developer Eagle Jump, the company has just released their latest game, Aoba has gotten more familiar with her quirky colleagues and working society. What new silly shenanigans will the girls be up to next?

The first episode of this second season made fans feel right at home, it had all the typical elements that make “New Game!!” such an enjoyable anime and features some scenes that paralleled with the opening episode of the first season.

While overall its characters are fairly default, the comedy is classic and the series offers little besides excellent workplace comedy and a typical but refreshingly idyllic slice-of-life world of cute girls having fun doing everyday things, “New Game!!” is nonetheless a solid show that offers viewers exactly what it promises, cute and fun entertainment.

In contrast to the manga, the anime did not show male characters at Eagle Jump, not in its supporting cast nor in the background mob characters, which was pointed out by viewers when the first season aired. Was pleasantly surprised when the opening episode of the second season featured Aoba openly questioning this absence of male coworkers, leading not only to some classic humour at Rin’s expense, but it was a nice tongue-in-cheek statement.

Sure, you could lament that the shoujo-ai is little besides fanservice and suggestive bait to reel in more viewers, but for this type of anime, that approach of suggestion, superficial and innocent fun without committing to any specific direction does work.

Do appreciate how “New Game!!” is one of those series that properly realises what it’s about and what it’s trying to achieve, which is simply to show viewers cute girls doing fun things as they go about their daily lives in an idealised workplace. This makes the anime much more entertaining thanks to it being grounded in its own reality of being mindless, innocent and fluffy fun with plenty of shoujo-ai.

Can’t wait for the next episode!
You can watch “New Game!!” on Crunchyroll.

Isekai Shokudou

July 10, 2017

Yet another anime adaptation of an isekai genre light novel? In a popular, but in recent years overdone genre that not always (or often) yields good franchises, can this new anime based on the “異世界食堂” light novels by Inuzuka Junpei really bring viewers something new and fresh?

It most definitely can because “Isekai Shokudou” is not a typical isekai story, it is instead a most welcome breath of fresh air for this genre. Admittedly, even though it has another world or ‘isekai’ in its title and features plenty of fantasy elements, this show is not merely an isekai story but is actually more a cooking anime.

Most anime that feature cooking as a core theme do mix it with another genre, for instance “Shokugeki no Souma” with the shounen tournament genre, “Ben-to” with comedy in a typical school setting, and “Koufuku Graffiti” with soothing slice-of-life. “Isekai Shokudou” does the same, mixing cooking with a fantasy setting.

Don’t let these fantasy elements fool you though, because “Isekai Shokudou” feels more like a culinary anime with a slice-of-life style atmosphere. Each episode does feature plenty of fantasy due to the restaurant’s patrons coming from another world, each having a unique backstory and positive reaction to what is otherworldly cuisine to them. However, this seems little more than a gimmick to create a different spin on what are otherwise classic character templates or background stories.

Thoroughly enjoyed the first two episode of “Isekai Shokudou”, do hope it will keep its current level or even improve because it has plenty of potential to become a terrific slice-of-life cooking anime.
Although personally I would not yet label “Isekai Shokudou” as equal to or really the same as the sublime “Koufuku Grafitti”, both anime feel quite similar in their pacing and how the cuisine is a catalyst for the characters emotions, dialogue and interactions.

If you enjoyed “Koufuku Grafitti” or “Shokugeki no Souma”, then I definitely recommend you give this show a try.
You can watch “Isekai Shokudou” as “Restaurant to Another World” on Crunchyroll.

Netsuzou Trap -NTR-

July 7, 2017

Having a penchant for the yuri genre, was looking forward to the “Netsuzou Trap -NTR-” anime. Adapting the “捏造トラップ-NTR-” manga by Naoko Kodama, its story centers around childhood friends Yuma and Hotaru who develop feelings for each other during their high school years. Conflicted by these emotions, it puts a strain on their friendship and relationship with their respective boyfriends.

Seems that the story may hold plenty of drama as these teen girls struggle to figure out how they truly feel about each other. Am uncertain how the anime adaptation will turn out though, will it be a serious yuri story with dramatic moments and mature emotions, or will the show instead focus on cheap fanservice thrills to reel in viewers?

Based on the first episode alone, I cannot say how good the anime will be. Even though some key scenes contained obvious hints about the characters’ state of mind and likely things to come, this first episode featured plenty of yuri fanservice bait as well.
Still, when done right and in good taste, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the occassional anime centered on yuri fanservice.

Remains to be seen if the short episode running time will be of benefit to the show, enabling it to focus on key events, creating a more potent story that does not feel watered down or lingers on filler material. However, its short running time could be detrimental if this character driven story wastes too much time on yuri fanservice or other gimmicks.

Look forward to watching the rest of this series and hope it will bring fans a solid, good yuri story.
You can watch “Netsuzou Trap -NTR-” on Crunchyroll.

Fate/Apocrypha

July 3, 2017

Although the very first “Fate/stay night” anime adaptation left much to be desired, the recent “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” television series and the “Fate/Zero” adaptation were both excellent anime, so was looking forward to the “Fate/Apocrypha” anime.

Adapting the original “フェイト/アポクリファ” light novel series into anime, its story is set in an alternate timeline where the events of “Fate/Zero” and “Fate/stay night” never occurred. Instead of a Grail war between seven servants and their masters held in Japan, “Fate/Apocrypha” takes place in Romania where two factions fight an all out Grail war, each faction pitting seven servants and their masters against the other.

As was to be expected for an adaptation of a Type Moon story, the first episode introduced a slew of characters and had quite a bit of plot exposition. Luckily the episode opened with an eye-catching, action packed battle sequence that fired you up, making viewers curious to see more and discover what is to come.

While the anime is slated for a twenty-five episode run, am somewhat apprehensive that its large cast could lead to a portion of them being generic characters that have little screen time and are never truly fleshed out. The fact that some servants have far more outlandish designs than the iconic characters from earlier Fate stories reinforces my impression that most will serve little purpose besides being window dressing.

Nonetheless, do hope the show will be an entertaining fantasy action anime like “Fate/Zero” and “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” are. Am anxious to see the rest of the story unfold and the epic battles between servants and masters alike because I am confident “Fate/Apocrypha” could be another addition to the great fantasy action anime based on Type Moon’s ‘Fate’ franchise.

Anime summer season 2017

June 26, 2017

A new anime season is about to begin, so I had a look at the new series lined up for summer and here’s my picks for the new season, which includes shows that I will definitely watch as well as shows that I will simply try out to determine if they are good and entertaining.

Am looking forward the most to “New Game!!”, the second season of the anime based on the four-panel manga featuring the daily life of a high school graduate starting her career at a game development company. Absolutely love the first “New Game!” anime, it provided excellent comedy, was full of cute girls and had plenty of suggestive shoujo-ai fanservice, hence I can’t wait for the sequel to show us more of Aoba and the Eagle Jump staff’s silly shenanigans.

While “New Game!” features superficial shoujo-ai fanservice, am hoping the “Netsuzou Trap -NTR-” anime will give us an actual, serious yuri story with compelling characters and plot development, without devolving into a nonsensical comedy, superficial ecchi fanservice or being overly dramatic.

There’s no doubt I will add “Aho Girl” to my weekly watch list. This new comedy short series is based on a four-panel manga by Hiroyuki, creator of the hilarious “Doujin Work” and “Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to” manga that were already adapted into anime. If its promotional video is any indication, it will be unquestionably a hilarious slapstick comedy filled with quirky characters.
Read more…

“Yama no Susume” OVA and third season announced

June 5, 2017

Spotted news online that the official website for the “Yama no Susume” anime adaptation of the “ヤマノススメ” slice-of-life manga by Shiro, announced that not only will a new OVA titled “Yama no Susume: Omoide Present” be released during the fall of 2017, but that a third season of the anime is set to air in 2018!

Am absolutely thrilled, not only will we get an OVA, but a full new season of this superb slice-of-life anime. Adored the earlier two anime adaptations of which the first season was made up of thirteen short four minute episodes, while the second season was a two cour show of fifteen minute long episodes.

Am also glad they confirmed that the staff and voice cast who worked on the previous two seasons will return to work on the OVA and the third anime season.

Those of you who like leisurely slice-of-life anime all about cute girls doing cute things or building lasting friendships, like “Non Non Biyori”, “Yuyushiki”, “One Off” or “Amanchu!”, I wholeheartedly recommend you try “Yama no Susume”, am certain you will love it!

You can watch the first and second seasons of “Yama no Susume” as “Encouragement of Climb” on Crunchryoll.

New Corsair K55 and Logitech G403

June 3, 2017

Having been intensively used for many years, the Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse set connected to my computer was showing increasing signs of wear, and began to exhibit issues where the keyboard or mouse randomly disconnect from the receiver.

Decided to pick up a new keyboard and mouse, after some research opted for the Corsair K55 keyboard and the Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse. Purchased both from Alternate, where they were in stock and offered at the lowest price compared to other shops I usually purchase computer equipment from.

Chose the Corsair K55 because it is a sensibly priced keyboard offering decent performance, it is available in the specific Azerty Belgian layout I prefer and it features a palmrest. Admittedly it does not have mechanical keys, but I do not require that level of performance from my keyboard, plus membrane keys are quieter. Unfortunately it does seem rather prone to fingerprint smudges.

After comparing several gaming mice and testing them out in a retail store, the Logitech G403 felt like the best fit for my hand, rivalling the more expensive Razer Deathadder had previously also used.

Neither the Corsair K55 keyboard or the Logitech G403 mouse require installation of additional drivers, a definite plus as it makes them hassle-free.