Anime Explorations Episode 4: Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 1 + The Blade of Life & Death

This month, David, Tora and I are taking a look at the first season & film of Thunderbolt Fantasy for Lunar New Year.

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Anime Review: Lupin Zero

On the one hand, Lupin Zero is a show that doesn’t “need” to exist. We’ve had several TV specials and the series A Woman Called Fujiko Mine has covered some of this in the past. Lupin Zero tries to put their own spin on it by making Jigen & Lupin either late-Middle Schoolers or early High Schoolers, in a series set contemporaneously with when the manga started running.

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Anime Review: Mobile Suit Gundam: Witch from Mercury (S1)

Mobile Suit Gundam: Witch from Mercury is an excellent example of how to handle shifting the tone of a series incredibly well. The show opens with a prologue episode set several years before the main body of the series, establishing what the Gundams are, and what the Gundam (or GUND-ARM) technology that powers them is based on – before setting up why the Gundams are rare and restricted, and how the main character’s Gundam, in particular, is going to be special in the series to come.

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Anime Review: Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man is a manga series that I’d have to admit that I held off on reading because I’d read some of the early art and thought it was edgelord crap. However, I kept hearing that no, it’s actually that good. So, when the anime adaptation aired, I decided that this was what I needed to take the plunge and give it a shot. It turns out it’s actually that good. There will be some spoilers for the first season.

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Anime Review: Uzaki Chan Wants To Hang Out Season 2

The first season of Uzaki-Chan wants to hang out was a fun, if kind of standard, sitcom RomCom anime which played into the whole concept of “male character being lightly bullied by a younger female character” which also showed up in “Teasing Master Takagi-San” and in “Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro!” – only this time moving the concept up to college. Unsurprisingly, the anime adaptation got a second season – officially titled “Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out W” (but using the lower-case Greek omega, because it looks like an anime character’s mouth getting mischievous). There will be some spoilers.

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Anime Review: Do It Yourself

When I put Do It Yourself on my watchlist for this month, I was expecting a more generally explanatory anime series – something along the lines of Diary of our Days at the Breakwater something comedic, and explanatory about the subject matter in question (handicrafts in this case) – and chill but not necessarily a “healing” or “Iyashikei” anime. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was also one of the warmest and most life-affirming anime of the season.

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Anime Review: Godzilla Singular Point

2022 is the first year that I have finally decided to knuckle down and get involved with a thing I’d been meaning to do for quite some time. Well, two things – one being doing a convention panel, the other being taking part in Anime Secret Santa. I’ve been a long-time listener of the Reverse Thieves Podcast, so I’d heard about it through them – and more recently it has shifted to being organized by the All Geeks Considered podcast, with Kate & Alan of the Reverse Thieves still taking part. So, when the call came out for participants (and which was repeated on the Reverse Thieves Discord), I tossed my hat into the ring as a participant. So, I was tremendously pleased to see a series that I’d been meaning to watch for quite some time was among the three series put before me – specifically, Godzilla Singular Point.

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Fuuto PI: Anime Review

We’ve been getting a fair amount of anime and manga spinoffs of Tokusatsu series lately. The main ones I’ve covered have been the Ultraman manga series and its anime spinoff on Netflix, and Studio Trigger’s Gridman universe series – Gridman and Dynazenon – in addition to ones I haven’t gotten to yet, like the Garo spinoff anime series. This fall’s Fuuto PI (or Fuuto Tantei) is another of those – this time tying in with Kamen Rider W.

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Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Anime Review

There are not a lot of anime series explicitly based off of tabletop RPGs – Record of Grancrest War, Record of Lodoss War, Rune Soldier Louie, and Night Wizard are some of the few that come directly to mind. None of those – I should mention, are particularly based heavily on Western tabletop RPGs (aside from Lodoss starting as a D&D campaign, before moving through Tunnels & Trolls and eventually becoming a Sword World campaign). So, it is impressive to see Cyberpunk: Edgerunners to be perhaps one of the first anime series to wear the western TRPG connection right on its sleeve. Yes, the show is tied in to CD Projekt Red’s video game – but right from the jump the series credits leads off with “Based on a world created by Mike Pondsmith” – showing how much of its influences it wears on its neon sleeve tattoo. Thankfully, Studio Trigger, who animated this, also does right by its source material far more Cyberpunk 2077 did from the jump.

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Anime Review: Lycoris Recoil

Lycoris Recoil is something of a modern retooling of a genre that we haven’t seen in a while – the Girls With Guns anime series. In particular, Lycoris Recoil in this case has a mix of “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things” as a recurring B-plot, with the conspiracy thriller elements covering the series A-plots, with action informed now not by the John Woo films of years past, but the modern John Wick films. All of this works tremendously well.

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Anime Review: Engage Kiss

Engage Kiss is one of the lighter fanservice series from the Summer 2022 season – there were much (*ahem*) harder shows (like Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World – which was borderline smut – and also leaned into some of the grosser elements of the isekai genre) – but Engage Kiss was more palatable about it. Even more, A-1 Pictures paired some of that fan-service with some gorgeously animated fight scenes, making for a series that, while flawed, was really enjoyable to watch. Some spoilers below the cut

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