Enen no Shouboutai Episode 2: Recap and Review

Arthur and Excalibur

Episode 2, The Heart of a Fire Soldier

This episode introduces us to the “Rookie Fire Soldier Games,” and a new character, Arthur Boyle. The rival of Shinra, Arthur is instantly antagonistic towards him. The self appointed “Knight King,” Arthur uses his third generation fire abilities to create a plasma sword. He leans heavily on the “King Arthur”mythology calling his sword, Excalibur. Arthur doesn’t seem terrible bright and largely typical for a rival to the main character. Maki shows off some of her powers. She’s a former soldier with dangerous hand to hand combat skills. She’s single handily defeats Shinra and Arthur. Maki also can create “living” flame or at least that’s how the look.

Maki fighting Arthur

Lieutenant Hinawa continues to be a hard ass, but I found it to be more reasonable for him to be that way than in the first episode. If everyone took this job too lightly they probably wouldn’t succeed. I think Hinawa will be the voice of reason in this series. He will be useful in keeping everyone in line. The team receives an emergency call. Captain Obi tells them that they shouldn’t show their weapons in public. Both, Shinra and Arthur disregard this rule. Obi sternly criticizes them for doing so. He informs them that it’s inappropriate for to do that in front of family members.

The Infernal

We are shown a new villain that seems to be responsible for the fires. Team 8 head into the building to find the Infernal sitting at a table. Arthur quietly “ends” his suffering. It’s a somber moment and shows the saddest involved with becoming an Infernal. The first episode would have given many the impression that all Infernals become violent and need to be “killed” in an epic show down. This episode reminded us that the Infernal are victims that deserve sympathy.

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 15: Recap & Review

Episode 15, Mount Natagumo

Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke are told that their fully healed. Zenitsu has now been informed that Nezuko is Tanjiro’s sister. A Kungai crow arrives and informs them that they’re to report to Mt. Natagumo. While on the path to Mt. Natagumo they encounter a fellow Demon Slayer that appears to be under control of a demon. Inosuke and Tanjiro head into the forest to find out. We see four demons in the shadows. Tanjiro and Inosuke run into a demon slayer and he informs them that there were ten initially.

Suddenly the slayers started attacking each other. We get a glimpse of the Demon Slayer commander, that takes note that his “children” have been slaughtered. He decides to send two Hashiras, Tomioka Giyu and Shinobu, as he believes that they maybe dealing with the Twelve Kizuki. Zenitsu finally heads towards the mountain when he realizes that Tanjiro took Nezuko with him. Meanwhile, Tanjiro and Inosuke are attacked by the remaining Demon Slayers under the control of the demons. However, they learn that the small spiders are attaching the threads to the Demon Slayers.

Without Tanjiro’s ability to smell the demon, it’s up to Inosuke to find her. A white haired and skinned demon appears telling them not to interfere with his family or his “mother” will kill them. He walks away on one of the spider webs. Inosuke attempts to attack the demon but can’t reach. He uses the seventh form of the Beast breathing technique and is able to locate her using his “spiritual awareness.” We know that each demon has a backstory, I wonder if the spider demons are actually related biologically. Regardless, it seems that Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke, Nezuko and Murata may be over their heads. I’m excited to see how strong Hashiras really are.

Dr. Stone Episode 2, Recap and Review

Taiju and Senku running from the lions

Episode 2, King of the Stone World

In the last episodes review I predicted that Taiju would release Shishio Tsukasa and that it was a bad idea. Turns out I was right. While Shishio is clearly helpful, his world view is dangerous. At the start of this episode, Senku finally frees on of the stone sparrows. He leaves the decision on who will be freed to Taiju, who of course chooses Yuzuriha. Before they can free her, they’re chased by a pride of hungry lions. Desperate, they decided to free Shishio. In a spectacular show of force, Shishio kills the male lion forcing the other to flee. I was wrong about the dynamic between the brains and the brawn.

Shishio Tsukasa

When running from the lions, Taiju offers to sacrifice himself for Senku. Assuming that humanity can survive with “just” a smart human like Senku. Senku explains that they need each other and that Taiju’s is valued for his “fitness” not his fighting ability. This is were Shishio comes in. They dynamic between brain and brawn is complicated by as Taiju puts it “brains, brawn and brute force.” Senku notes that in a “world without guns” Shishio would be unstoppable. His strength comes with upsides of course, He’s able to hunt boar, birds and fish for them.

Shishio fights boars

Senku suggest that the first step towards rebuilding civilization lies in “calcium carbonate.” It’s the stuff they use for chalk in sports. However they have several uses. Once you create the powder they can be used for agriculture, construction and soap. Senku initially states that their are “four” uses for calcium carbonate but after talking to Shishio he lies and says that he only stated that their was three. The trust between Senku and Shishio isn’t there. I think they both see the other as a threat. Shishio kills a man by decapitating his stone body because the man abused him.

Senku and Shishio in conflict

He presents a question to Senku. Should we try to return to the “old world.” He sees the young as “pure,” and thinks that the older people are “tainted” and would only ruin the “paradise.” Senku disagrees, suggesting that he intends to free everyone. I disagree with Senku here. If you bring back the adults they won’t want to listen to a “child,” no matter how smart they are. They need to be more selective. The problem is how do any of them know what someone’s like? Shishio seems to assume that all young people are pure is that really true? He’s young, yet he had no trouble killing a man. How’s that pure? Regardless, the conflict has been set up. Brain verses brute force.

Cop Craft Episode 1: Recap and Review

Cop Craft is an anime adapted from the Light Novel, Cop Craft: Dragnet Mirage Reloaded. Written by Shoji Gatoh and illustrated by Range Murata, the series takes place fifteen years after a hyperspace gate opened in the middle of the ocean. Within the gate is the “realm of faeries and monsters.” The story takes place in the city of San-Teresa that has a population of 2 million from the realm. In episode 1, Sergeant Kei Matoba and his partner Rick engage in a undercover sting. The sting goes badly when on of the criminals turns out to be an “alien.” He snaps the neck of Rick and escapes with the fairy.

After, Matoba informs Rick’s wife he returns home and is told that he will be meeting with a “VIP from the Farbani Kingdom.” The next morning he retrieves this noble from the gate. Her name is Tilarna Barsh Mirvor Imsedalya Lyeh Tebreina Devol Nelano Seiya Nel Exedilica or Tilarna Exedilica. She was sent to recover the fairy and is partnered with Matoba. Being unfamiliar with the world, Tilarna is a “fish out of water,” unaware how the elevators and cars work and what a Mexican is. She also has a hard time understanding the human concept of “justice,” as Matoba was working with an informant. While in the elevator Tilarna smells “latena.”

She explains that this means that “someone controlled by an evil wizard was present.” She utters an incantation of some sort, “Shield of law, protection of the war god.” Her costume changes into a warrior’s garb and she races down the hallway. They are attacked by someone with a machine gun. I rarely into anime cop drama’s. The dynamic between Matoba and Tilarna are typical in the veteran/rookie cop genre. Cop Craft seems to balance it’s cop show elements with it’s fantasy elements. While none of these dynamics are new they’re done very well in this series. Some may suggest that this series is has to many tropes but I think this episode is a promising start.

Vinland Saga Episode 1: Recap & Review

Thors in a dream state

Episode 1: Somewhere not here

If you watched Game of Thrones then you may have felt some instant similarities in this series. Generally, I don’t watch a lot of Historical Seinen anime. Actually, Vinland Saga is my first. This episode begins with Thors (everybody seems to be named after the god Thor) daydreaming in a wheat field. Turns out he’s on the battle field. We get a glimpse of the stunning animation and brutal violence. Thors dominates, killing enemies with ease as he travels from boat to boat. In a fury of slashes and blood, Thors appears to be unfazed and unafraid. At the end of this scene he washes up on shore, leaving the burning boats behind.

Thorfinn listening to Leif

We move forward to years later on Iceland. Thorfinn is doing chores. We hear a likely false or exaggerated story from his Grandfather, Leif Erickson. Thorfinn lives with his father Thors, his mother Helga and his sister Ylfa. The next morning Ylfa and Thors begin shoveling the snow off of their room. Ylfa falls off and lands on a slave that was under the snow. The man is malnourished, badly scared and seemingly has frostbite on his limbs. Thors tries to save him from death. Meanwhile, Grandpa Leif tells Thorfinn a probably true story of being marooned on ice and having 6 of his crewmates die. He also explains why they left the warm Norway for the freezing Iceland.

The slave

They fled from a strongman named Harald. Thorfinn calls him a “lair,” and runs home. The slave begins to speak and explains that he’s from Halfdan’s. Halfdan arrives to collect his slave. When one of his men steps out of line, Halfdan wraps his chain around his face and pulls. The man is severely disfigured as a result. The slave talks about his family as he becomes delirious. When Halfdan comes to get him, Thors offers ewes for the dying slave. He ends up trading eight for the slave. He quickly dies, leaving Ylfa distraught . . . over the sheep. It was a dark moment but a funny one. Finally, we see a boat with a blond man with a scar approaching what we can assume is Iceland.

King of Norway, Harald

Like many of the series I’ve review this summer, I really liked Vinland Saga. I’ll review the other two episode released in the coming days but this episode was well done. The animation was amazing, and so far I like the characters. It’s hard to know the tone of this series just yet, but it feels like there will be a combination of dark themes (slavery) but also humor. I already know that Thors isn’t going to live very long. That’s why I referenced Game of Thrones before. The warrior with a heart of gold dies early in the series. The characterization of Thors had such an powerful effect on me I’m already dreading his death.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 14: Recap & Review

Episode 14, The House with the Wisteria Family Crest

This episode picks up right were the last one left off. Tanjiro lands a devastating blow on Inosuke breaking some of his ribs. He tells them that members of the Demon Corps should fight each other. Inosuke takes it as an argument against using swords and decides he should use his hands. Inosuke shows that he’s quite flexible. He’s relentless until Tanjiro headbutts him. His mask fall off revealing that he’s a “pretty” guy. Inosuke passes out. After they bury the victims they head down the mountain.

The siblings go their own way after the Kaugai crow gives Kiyoshi a charm to ward off demons. The three, Tanjiro, Inosuke and Zenitsu head to a manor to rest. They receive food and clothes from the old lady of the manor. We learn that Inosuke is an orphan and that he became a Demon Slayer after hearing about it and the Final selection. Zenitsu finally asks “why does Tanjiro travel with a demon.” Nezuko finally emerges from the box, of course Zenitsu freaks out. He becomes smitten with her. He accuses Tanjiro of carrying around Nezuko to “make out with.” The episode was fine. Not much happened. I was right about Inosuke being a aggressive airhead. Like Zenitsu, I expect that Inosuke will turn out to be more complicated than that.

Enen no Shouboutai Episode 1: Recap and Review

Episode 1: Shinra Kusakabe Enlists

Enen no Shouboutai (Fire Force) is an anime based on the manga series of the same name. From what I can tell the reception for the manga was lukewarm. However, I can’t imagine that this anime will be received in such a way. I’ll keep it simple. This series checks every one of my needs for an anime. Interesting story, interesting characters, great action and most importantly (for me anyway) amazing animation. The art style, the sound (I rarely notice sound) are all impeccable. Basically, I LOVE THIS SERIES.

While I’m familiar with the initial story arc, seeing it animated was great. Shinra Kusakabe joins the 8th Special Fire force. He dreams of being a hero, but is view as being a “devil.” This is due to an accident that resulted in the death of his brother and mother. Shinra has unfortunately developed a weird smiling tick. I makes him look creepy and evil. What separate Shinra from other shonen protagonists is that he’s not considered “good” by society (a least not yet) and he doesn’t appear to have to learn his power. While, I believe that he will continue to learn new abilities, but the tutorial phase was skipped.

The current team of the Fire Force consists of five members (including Shinra), Oubi Akitaru, Sister Iris, Oze Maki, and Hinawa Takehisa. So far it seems that Sister Iris “just” prays for the Infernals. It doesn’t appear to have any real effect and she seems like she’s in the way to be honest. Oze Maki is my favorite so far, but I would like to learn more about her ability. It seems like she has some nullifying power, but there’s probably more to it. I don’t like Hinawa at all, he’s just rude. Regardless, I could go on and on about this series. I’m excited for what this series has to offer in the next 23 episodes.

Dr. Stone Episode 1, Recap and Review

Yuzuriha

Episode 1, Stone World

As I’ve stated before the premier episode of series is largely about laying the groundwork. You have too establish the world and introduce the characters. They can be a little dull sometimes but are always necessary. Taiju Oki decides that he’s going to tell the girl he’s been in love with for 5 years how he feels. At this moment a bright green light appears in the sky turning everyone into stone. As a result the world is plunged into chaos. As people turn to stone the planes, cars and buses crash. The human population appears to be the only one that is turned into stone. We see dogs, wolves and monkeys that are still “alive.”

Taiju professing his love

What is terrifying is that it appears that the people are able to think while encased in stone. One woman asks for “help.” Taiju keeps talking to himself to maintain his sanity. As years go by nature takes over the world destroying what was once human civilization. Taiju eventually breaks free. Having not aged, he searches for Yuzuriha and finds her by a tree. He finally tells her that he loves her. She’s still stone of course, but we know that people are still aware while stoned. What is interesting or even romantic is that Taiju literally has loved her for over a hundred years.

Senku welcoming Taiju

He sees above her head a message to “follow the river downstream, big oaf.” He meets with his old friend Senku Ishigami. It’s October 5th, 5738 and Senku has been free for six months. Turns out that Senku used his time in stone to count the seconds. Obviously, we have to suspend disbelief with this series. It’s hard to believe that neither, Senku or Taiju wouldn’t go insane from the isolation. Regardless, Taiju was waiting for a “meathead.” Senku will handle the “brainy stuff” and Taiju the “heavy lifting.” Senku plans to “take the world back,” and “figure out the science behind the petrification.”

Shishio Tsukasa is gonna be a problem

Taiju is the typical dumb jock type with Senku appearing to be an egotistic genius. Time will tell if these archetypes hold. While foolishly eating berries, Taiju stumbles on what he calls the “strongest primate high-schooler,” Shishio Tsukasa. Afterward, Taiju sees the cave that he was freed in. Senku is collecting a liquid from bat guano, “nitric acid.” Senku has been experimenting on a way to free people from stone. He’s been using the stoned birds. Senku tells Taiju that he needs “liquor.” Despite Taiju lack of intelligence he does give Senku a good idea, make wine out of the aforementioned berries.

Senku proclaiming his mission to save humanity

I loved this episode it was a perfect introduction to this series. Senku doesn’t seem like a traditional main character for a Shonen series. The main protagonist of the shonen series is usually the air headed, dark haired brute. Although, you could make a case that they’re both the main characters. The most pressing question at the moment is who will get freed next? I think it’s clearly going to be Yuzuriha and Shishio. It makes sense that Taiju would want to free Yuzuriha but Shishio is clearly a bad idea. However, Yuzuriha did seem to like Taiju all that much to me. Would it work out the way he thinks?

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts: Episode 1, Recap and Review

The Incarnates beast forms

Episode 1, To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

You never know what to expect from a new series. This of course leads to anticipation but can leave you disappointed. The first episode of To Abandoned Sacred Beasts, entitled . . . To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts, left me desiring more. I wasn’t a bad debut episode, just not a particularly great one. Of course the first episode is tasked with setting the series up, resulting in a sometimes unsatisfying introduction. Hank and his unit of Incarnates (super soldiers) were created to turn the tide of war. The episode begins with a frontal assault by the North, they’re slaughtered. The first question I had was why get your army killed if you have the Incarnates?

Elaine and Hank

Predictably, the Incarnates lay waste to the southern forces. The designs of the beast weren’t that creative. On guy just gains horse legs becoming a boring centaur. Most of the beast forms are likely to be inspired either directly or indirectly by mythological creatures. Why one person turns into on thing over the other isn’t explained. My best guess is that it’s random. In the future I’m certain that we will see why these soldiers were chosen. The Incarnates are lead by Hank Henriette, his second in command Cain Madhouse and the creator of the Incarnates, Elaine. If you couldn’t guess from the name Cain predictable becomes a traitor.

Some fan-service

Before this moment one of the Incarnates, Ari goes berserk. He kills soldiers from both sides during his rampage. The soldiers from the north open fire and while incapacitated he commits suicide rather than lose himself. This leads Hank to swear an oath, which will become his motivation for the series. It will be the responsibility of the Incarnates to hunt down and kill each other when they lose their minds. As I mentioned Cain betrays Elaine and Hank, but after Elaine attempts to kill Hank. She has decided that killing all the beast then herself is the only answer she can think of. Cain is the typical villain, his name and his long hair were a dead give away.

Hank fighting a Incarnate

Hank hunts down one of the Incarnates during the ending credits (I guess that’s going to be a thing in anime now). While it’s short, I did enjoy it as Hank appears to turn into a werewolf. Overall, this series is mediocre. The animation is so so and the story needs to be fleshed out more. I don’t care much for anime music so I won’t pass any judgement on that aspect, but the story did have some comedic moments that didn’t quiet last. I didn’t care about the romance between Hank and Elaine. Nor did I care that she died. Lastly the fan-service in the form Liza while not gratuitous feels unnecessary (maybe that’s true of all fan-service). If she suppose to be a serious soldier, why have her spilling out of her top. It’s not the end of the world though. I give this series a few more episodes before deciding if it’s worth my time.

One Punch Man S2 – Episode 12: Recap & Review

Garou taking a beating

Episode 12, Cleaning up the Disciple’s Mess

Bang dominates an injured Garou, as Genos notes that Bang is better than Garou. It seems unlikely that he would be able to win considering Genos, Bang and Bomb are so strong. Phoenix Man is flying around, tasked by Orochi to get Garou. He of course is hesitate as he would need to get past all the heroes. Garou concludes that in order to survive he would need to kill, Bomb, Bang and Genos. What is interesting is that despite Garou being hurt, Bomb AND Bang fight him together. Garou remembers his childhood which predictably saw him being bullied by his Tatsu. While playing hero, Garou is always casts as the “monster.” He associates his childhood with the belief that heroes fighting monsters is always unfair. This is important to know as Bang and Bomb prove his point by attacking him together. However, Phoenix Man arrives and takes Garou.

Bang and Bomb double team Garou

Genos decides that he’s going to kill them both with his Spiral Incineration Cannon. Elder Centipede interferes. Bomb, Genos and Bang rescue the fallen heroes. Phoenix Man explains to Garou that he should kill the heroes instead of leaving them alive.I think so far what has kept Garou from truly being a monster is this fact. Phoenix Man goes on to say that Elder Centipede is going to destroy “everything.” According to the monster strategist, Gyoro-Gyoro, there are ONLY four heroes that can defeat the Elder Centipede. Terrible Tornado, because of her psychic powers, Metal Knight, that “hoards military might on an unknown scale.” King, the “strongest human alive,” and the top hero Blast. Of course we know that King is weak and it’s Saitama that’s the strongest human. Regardless, Elder Centipede joined the Monster Association to get revenge.

Elder Centipede

Neither Genos or Bang aren’t well suited to combat Elder Centipede. When Bang and Bomb land a devastating attack it molts, and heals as if nothing happened. Genos decides that he will fight the Elder Centipede alone. Genos ends up cut in half but is able to reconnect himself. He gets swallowed and uses his Ultra Spiral Incineration Cannon. It still does nothing. Bang, Genos and Bomb flee with the other heroes. As Bang prepares to die fighting, King arrives claiming that he brought Blast. As the Elder Centipede comes to attack King, Saitama arrives and defeats it with One Punch.

Saitama destroys Elder Centipede

This is ended rather abruptly if you asked me. Maybe they didn’t have enough time or money to animated the entire arc? Regardless, I’m hoping they find a better animator for the next season. While I could tolerate this season it wasn’t the beautiful animation form the first season. Anyway, Saitama really took a step back this season. Instead we focused on a human villain. It was a bit refreshing. I’m predicting that Garou becomes a actually monster, as he’s not strong enough as he is. Genos seems to have figured out his limits. Genos has everything but “power.” This isn’t completely true as he is a S Class hero, but he’s also not as strong as many monsters or other S Class heroes. I wonder how strong he and Garou will become.