I have long been an observer of the pop culture landscape. While I never directly engage with it to protect both sanity (and because I don’t have the time to waste on that bullshit) I have always enjoyed watching the “discourse” evolve around entertainment and the people involved in it. Is that weird? Kinda, but we all got our interests I suppose.
One thing that I’ve noticed in the last few years, is that in the west, there seems to be a real battle over the depiction of women in cartoons and media, and while I am absolutely not an expert in that field, I’ve been coming to the conclusion that, in terms of the west, female characters often seem hampered by the need to be about “something.” Too often I find that female characters are often held to impossible standards, and that they must spend more time constantly justifying their existence or fighting for a “cause” than just being actual characters. Female characters have to adhere to silly shallow ideas of “strong” and “independent” and aren’t allowed the vast creative freedoms offered to male characters. They can’t just be normal, they can’t be people full of flaws or virtues. They are always judged by how they contribute to “the cause,” whatever that cause may be.
Anime I’ve seen, doesn’t suffer from that problem. As the medium is almost neatly split down the middle, with a large, respected and well entrenched female fan-base. I’ve noticed that female characters are often given far more creative liberty and freedom to encompass a wide range of archetypes. Most of all though, they are allowed to be just be people, and the best example I’ve seen lately came from the most unexpected place. After the cut let’s take a character dive into the titular lead of Magical Sempai: Magical Sempai.
((For the sake of avoiding confusion, I will now refer to the lead character as just ‘Sempai’))
I’ve always believed it is good to always keep your expectations fluid, and be ready to adjust them when something ends up being different. I was almost about to drop Kaguya Sama: Love is War, but when I decided to re-adjust my expectations of the show, I did a complete 180 degree shift on it. Now it’s my front runner for anime of the year.
Now some time later, I find myself in the exact same situation with another anime. I came in with a set of expectations and after re-adjusting them, I’ve found a new love for the show that, at first, I didn’t have. After the cut let’s take a dive into the second half of the 2019 remake of Fruits Basket.
The Demon Lordlight novel series ends up going in the direction where Latina starts aging up rather quickly, ends up marrying Dale and having a family with him. It’s there, it happens, it’s part of the story. But since the 12 episode season has next to NO foreshadowing or hinting of what is to come, I’m going to be judging the story based on the anime, not on its light novel series. You might think other wise, that’s your choice and I get if where the series goes turned you away from it. That’s not a wrong view to have. But lets also be honest here. This isn’t going to get a second season, so none of that is ever going to be adapted.
Right then, after the cut let’s talk about the absolute sleeper anime hit of the season: If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Defeat Even a Demon Lord.
Normally I tend to give shows the full ‘shallow dive” treatment on this blog, but since most of what I want to talk about with this series is the main character herself, I have decided to give the titular Magical Sempai the full character dive later this week. Regardless I want to also talk about the show itself, so here are my thoughts on Magical Sempai
I’ve mentioned in other reviews that sometimes anime can feel like a series of Sunday morning comic strips, and that analogy is no more perfect than with Magical Sempai.Instead of opting for a 24, or even 12 minute single story, Magical Sempaiinstead has its run-time devoted to a series of one or two minute skits, with multiple in a course of a single episode. I thought I would soon get bored of this format, but I was surprised that it worked quite well, and allowed the story to focus on what makes it work: Magical Sempai sucking and magic, and ecchi hijinks.
Much of this show’s success and frankly meme potential is placed on the titular lead herself, who is yet another stellar example of the freedom that anime and manga give their female characters. With no over-arching plot, or dramatic stakes, Magical Sempai is free to just be a story about a bunch of kids having fun with their little magic club, with plenty of well done ecchi hijinks to boot.
I wish I could say more, but that is going to be saved for later this week when I talk about our female lead. All I’ll say this is: Magical Sempai is a solid, fun and entertaining ecchi comedy and its shorter run time never means it outstays its welcome. I’ve said it has been an absolute shit year for ecchi and harems in 2019, but Magical Sempaialong with Hensuki and Do you Love your Mom have really helped turn it around. Don’t miss this show if you love ecchi and harem, or just a cute anime girl doing memeable things.
Miss Caretaker of Sunohara-sou is another series of “tune in, tune out” slice of life hijinks involve a cast of character just doing random boring things. I’ll be getting into the show in a few weeks, but for now, the opening theme is a catchy beat. The tune of the week is the opening theme of the show: Bitter Sweet Harmony by Megumi Nakajima
Don’t @ Me returns! Once again I have risen from the depths of whatever anime induced coma I have found myself in to drop down some hard facts, opinions and thoughts on the anime scene. This week, well everyone else is talking about it, so I’m gonna do it as well. Let’s pull up a chair and discuss fanservice. Leave your hate in the comments below.
Two years ago, a free visual novel was released on Steam that took the video game and visual novel communities by storm. A story that blew people’s mind and sent them on a trip that had people talking for weeks. It was a visual novel made by a small handful of people, the brainchild of a single man who wanted to address his relationship with anime.
That visual novel is what we are going to talk about today. Join me after the cut as we take a dive into the surprise hit of 2017: Doki Doki Literature Club
((Doki Doki Literature Club is something I cannot talk about fully without getting into the story itself. So full spoilers right up ahead.))