Cynical Asshole Who Loves Anime Reviews One Punch Man

One Punch Man Review

 

One Punch Man is one of the most overhyped and overrated anime that I’ve ever seen. And if you don’t believe that then just take a look at this:

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 6.00.48 PM

Now don’t get me wrong. I love One Punch Man. It’s a fun show with a very likable main protagonist and great (sort-of) animation, but it’s really not THAT good. It’s great, maybe awesome, but it’s not perfect (definitely not better than The Wire or Firefly perfect).

 

But wait, if it’s not that good, then why did so many fans vote it all the way to the top of IMDB’s highest rated series list? Well, a better question would probably be “Why do you care about IMDB or MAL rankings? Do you not have a life?”

I don’t particularly care about IMDB or MAL listings, well, maybe I do care a bit about IMDB listings but I’ll explain that in a bit. What I care about here is the psychology of the typical anime fan. What do I mean by that? Am I about to say that anime fans are stupid and possibly create a shit-storm? Am I shilling for clicks?

No and no.

 

I don’t think all fans of anime are stupid. A staggering majority sure, but not all. But even then, I think that it’s really just the fans who refuse to expose themselves to anything but anime that give the anime fandom a bad name and causes stupidity like this. The reason as to why I care about One Punch Man’s place in IMDB is because I care about the image of anime.

Again, what the fuck am I talking about?

What I’m talking about is this: Anime is a niche. It’s a medium of storytelling that not a whole lot of people are actually familiar with. Most people know about Pokemon, Sailor Moon and Dragonball, and even in that majority, most people acknowledge that the show’s I’ve previously mentioned are categorized as anime… Or as “Chinese Cartoons” as one of the girls I was trying to hook up with once referred to them as.

And because it’s a niche, a niche that I have a lot of love for and want to share to others that I want people to take it seriously. When people who are new to anime decide to go ahead and watch anime, I want them to enjoy it and appreciate just as I do. They don’t need to be in the same level as me, but I’d love for them to still at least get an idea as to why I love these “Chinese Cartoons” so much.

The reason why I care about One Punch Man being in IMDB’s top-ten list is because if Joe Schmoe looks through that list, sees OPM at the top, says something like, “What is this Cartoon that I’ve never heard of? It’s better than that show everyone loves so much. Maybe I should go watch it,” and then proceeds to watch it only to be disappointed, he’d be pretty disappointed or even ticked off. He might then go and say something like, “What the hell was that? That wasn’t better than that show everyone loves so much. It was okay but why is it number one? If this is the best Chinese Cartoons have to offer then forget it!”

I understand that that’s a hypothetical scenario, and truth be told, an idealistic one. Because let’s face it, what would have really happened was that Joe Schmoe would have seen that list and gone like, “The fuck is this Chinese Cartoon doing here? I’m going to get my buddies who all love this one show and we’re all going to give One Punch Man 1 STAR without even watching it! HAHAHAHAHA!”

And you must be thinking. “Wait, that’s really stupid.”

And my response would be, “Yeah. Yeah I know. Almost as stupid as making multiple fake accounts and bombarding a show with 10/10 scores.” Because as I’ve mentioned earlier, One Punch Man is just a great show and not a perfect one. And here’s why I think that.

 

God Saitama

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.22.53 PM

OPM’s story is simple. Saitama, our bald-headed protagonist, was once an employed young man seeking to live a life of heroism and greatness. And so, one day, he started working out a lot and a couple of years later, he’s become the ultra-powerful One Punch Man. Each episode typically has Saitama doing amazing things and destroying monsters with ease. There’s some story that ties everything together, but really, the first season didn’t really feature any kind of substantial plot. It felt more like a “slice-of-life” of a superhero story than anything.

I didn’t particularly mind this because I like Saitama. He’s a lovable protagonist who can come off as a crouching doofus whilst being a hidden badass. And by Zeus, what a badass he can be. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Godzilla sized monster, asteroid or alien armada, Saitama can pretty much obliterate all of his opponents in one blow, and not only does he do it all in one blow, but he also does it in a very impressive fashion.

… However.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.27.06 PM

The best part about Saitama isn’t his strength. It’s his personality and silent questions about life. Yes he’s funny and adorkable, but I think that what really sold him to me as a protagonist was his line from the first episode, “Overwhelming strength is boring”.

Saitama originally wanted to become a hero to experience excitement in his life and find meaning in it, but upon achieving the great power that he has now, he’s slowly come to the realization that being able to easily defeat his opponents without even trying has made being a hero uninteresting to him. He’s since shrugged off this thought and decided that he’d continue to live this life regardless of how fun it is because in the end, to him being a hero isn’t about fighting or being powerful, it’s about doing the right thing. Yes he’s kind of a generic good guy protagonist, but it’s nice to actually get into the head of someone like that.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.33.49 PM.png

The fights and animation are flashy and cool, but really, it’s in One Punch Man’s quiet moments where I actually stop and hone in on our protagonists’ face and try to figure out just what it is that he’s thinking.

 

One Note Joke (Mostly)

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.35.46 PM.png

Saitama’s frustration with being too strong wasn’t just an internal dilemma. It’s actually the show’s main joke. And while I found it amusing the first time, it’s not hard to ignore the fact that the show has a formula that gets stale after a while. For instance, an enemy will show up, wreck havoc and scare some folk. Saitama runs into them. They either tell him their backstory or ramble on about how Saitama doesn’t stand a chance. Then Saitama either tells them to shut up or just straight up destroy them in one hit.

It was funny the first time, and though I still found it to be mildly amusing towards the final episode, it does lose it’s steam after a while. There are other jokes in the show, but I don’t really care for them the same way I’d care for and remember jokes from either Gintama or Osumatsu-san. Though in OPM’s defense, those shows are more comedic in nature…

And OPM does have other jokes, it just relies too heavily on the aforementioned one.

 

 

Trapped In Its Own Genius

Sort of like how other stand-alone Marvel movies can’t just call on The Avengers to solve everyone’s problems, One Punch Man can’t just have Saitama showing up and destroying his enemies in an instant. If that was the case, then there will be no show. Sometimes the anime does a decent enough job of making sure that there is drama and tension, and other times it just feels like they’re wasting my time.

This again goes back to One Punch Man’s core hook and possible deadweight, Saitama’s strength. The show goes out on it’s way to try and show off just how powerful enemies are by letting them face off against side characters and kicking their asses. Genos, Saitama’s self-proclaimed disciple, in particular has yet to prove himself in any substantial kind of way. He’s cool and cool looking, but almost every time he gets into a fight he just keeps getting his ass kicked only to be saved by Saitama in the end.

And it’s this repetitive nature that makes me wonder sometimes just how long can One Punch Man really keep up in quality and stay fresh without ever being too repetitive and boring.

But.

Most people don’t see this is a problem. And that’s what disappoints and bothers me the most. Not that I have a problem with people having fun and I’m not the type to hate on something for being “popular”. I’m just the type that likes to give credit where credit is due.

 

Cool Animation

Okay, first off, the animation isn’t as cool as it is in the manga. The manga chapters feature sequential panels that looks as if they’re ripped right from the production of an actual anime. But translated to an actual anime… That gimmick quickly loses steam and just comes off as, “normal”. That’s not to say that the show lacks slick animation, because it does have it’s moments, but for the most part it’s just standard fare for an anime really.

However. Fans love it. They eat it up and they enjoy the cool fight scenes, and I can see why. It’s pretty well done and it looks really cool. And as cherry on top of it all, Saitama always ends it with a spectacular bang.

Again. However, that’s pretty much it.

 

Verdict

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.42.32 PM.png

To most fans of the show, seeing Saitama do cool things is all they need to be satisfied and similar to how I’m not going to take away how much fans enjoy pairing characters up and dreaming up of harems for protagonists in shows like Oregairu, I’m not going to try and take away how much people enjoy the animation and cool fight scenes the show has to offer. Because there is a WHOLE-LOT of fun to be had with OPM. Sure the story’s a little weak, but watching One Punch Man and just enjoying it for what it is makes one feel like they’ve grown an extra ball of manliness! So if that’s your cup of tea, go ahead, but if you’re looking for something with a deeper story and more substance, go check out Rokka no Yuusha or something.

 

However. Before you go do that. I want to say something.

 

I get that One Punch Man has a lot of passionate fans. Really I do. And I’m aware that they might see this, read the first sentence and give me shit for it. But I care more about anime than I do care about One Punch Man. Because I love anime.

 

I see anime as just another form of storytelling. It’s specialized genres and quirks are more culturally ingrained in it’s creators and domestic audience than something that that’s inherently tied to medium. But I think that anime as an aesthetic style that can be utilized by outsiders (ala Avatar and Boondocks) without being bogged down by its narrative style.

 

Which means that it needs to have standards just as any medium of storytelling. Saying that someone should just shut up and not criticize anime period because anime is just anime is like saying that anime is dumb and is for kids. It’s not. And I’m sure that the very same people that have told me to stop criticizing anime too much are also the same people who would argue that anime is the best and that it’s not just for kids.

 

As a community, anime fans shouldn’t be easily offended like that. There are people with different tastes. And the world isn’t binary. We don’t either just love or hate something. There are numbers between one and ten. Scores between A and an F. A one and a five. Zero to a hundred. We don’t either just like things or dislike them. We have favorites. Things that we like, but don’t think are good enough to be our favorites.

 

I used to do scores, but the more I look at IMDB and MAL, I just see the pointlessness to them. They become a measure of judgement, not solely for the show itself but for whether or not someone will attack someone else. If a reviewer were to score something too high or too low, people will get mad. If a show or game or movie were to get a middling score and not a 9 or 10, then that automatically means that the show is not worth people’s time period.

 

I think that that’s unfortunate. Which is why I’m not doing scores anymore.

That said, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop being critical and stop loving anime.

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One Punch Man Episode 4 Review

“What an innocent smile!”

The Humor In Saitama

As a joke, Saitama’s overwhelming strength is kind of wearing down on me already. At first I snickered out loud when I saw him destroy the giant dude from the first episode with ease, but by episode four the joke’s starting to feel tiresome. There was that one bit where Saitama punched Sonic’s crotch, which I thought was funny. And I’m not going to lie, I like that a lot primarily because someone got punched in the balls and I often have the mind of a 12-year-old boy.

LMAO.

LMAO.

However, and I can’t believe that I’m just noticing this now, the show’s humor really comes more from Saitama’s aloofness. Whether it’s him forgetting that there’s a sale in the supermarket or whether it’s him lamenting his lack of fame, Saitama and his general goofiness is definitely my main reason for watching the show.


The Speed O’ Sound Sonic Or Whatever

Speaking of humor, I thought the villain of the week—Sonic, not the Paradisers was hilarious. Though I do think that the Paradisers had their moments of hilarity as well. Sonic just really took the cake, primarily because of his innocent smile. It’s Saitama being aloof, but I can’t wait to see more of this guy and witness as his rivalry with Saitama escalates… if it even does.

Sonic's innocent smile.

Sonic’s innocent smile.


Plot Progression

Two more things about this episode.

One, we saw some scenes with Genos and the scientist that gave him his robotic body, as well as get some foreshadowing of Genos’ upgrades.

Mushroom Hakase

Mushroom Hakase

Number two, but not really number two, we saw some scenes with some goons that killed the Paradiser leader, talking about stolen equipment. I don’t actually consider this as plot progression since I have a feeling that whoever the next group of villain’s going to be they’re just going to be throw away. Or not, not sure yet.

I wonder if Saitama's also going to one punch these two goons.

I wonder if Saitama’s also going to one punch these two goons.

But real number two in terms of plot progression—Saitama signing up for the hero’s guild. It’s a small tidbit of the episode, but it does set up something more interesting than another group of useless villains.

#Saitamaproblems

#Saitamaproblems


Stray Observation

One more thing. At the very end of the episode we see Saitama lamenting the fact that if he hadn’t trained as much as he did, he would have become one of the Paradisers—a lazy NEET. It was a short bit, but an interesting character moment.

Thank God he got better.

Thank God he got better.


Verdict

Overall it was a great episode filled with many laughs. The humor did wane on me, but at least now I have something more interesting to look forward to. THE HERO’S GUILD!

Saitama fan girls... Imaginary fan girls.

Saitama fan girls… Imaginary fan girls.

One Punch Man Episode 1-2 Review

2015’s Attack on Titan? Probably.


The Former Half of Episode One Was Meh

Relax... I didn't hate it.

Relax… I didn’t hate it.

Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t really enjoy the first half of episode one. It had some nice chuckle-worthy moments but it was a little lackluster in terms of anything engaging. I don’t know, I just didn’t like the whole lobster guy bit.

However, after the first commercial break the show got awesome.


Issues With Strength

I hate overpowered characters. I find them boring and pointless. There’s nothing thrilling, nothing exciting or engaging about them since there’s no tension with powerful characters. Don’t get me wrong; it can be fun to watch a character kick ass and demolish his/her opponents a few times, but at some point it’ll get boring since you know that they’re just going to win anyway.

Pay it or else.

Pay it or else.

The best kinds of characters are the ones who have the odds stacked against them. I just find it more interesting when a character has to figure out how to win rather than just brute force their way to victory. But One Punch Man’s Saitama is just pure glory—he’s an overpowered character, but the fact that it’s played for laughs more than it’s played for the Rule of Cool makes him that much more enjoyable.

Plenty of Saitama’s enemies and the other characters have convoluted backstories, but One Punch Man’s backstory is simple—he wanted to be a hero because he was bored with life and so he trained for three years straight, lost all his hair and became super powerful.

ONE PUNCH... man... that's all he needs.

ONE PUNCH… man… that’s all he needs.

That’s it.

And really that’s all you need, because it’s enough to make his internal struggles interesting. Due to Saitama’s relentless training, he became a boring and overpowered hero—all his enemies are weaker in comparison and can be destroyed in one hit, making being a hero boring for him. It feels like a bit of meta-anime commentary and I like that. Because really… It is kind of boring even for viewers to watch a character that doesn’t struggle.

Hilarious

He's fast!

He’s fast!

As mentioned earlier Saitama’s overwhelming strength is played for laughs, but the show doesn’t just rely on that one joke (at least right now it doesn’t). There are plenty of other jokes and I found it all to be rather amusing—from the kid with the weird chin, Saitama not caring about other people’s backstory and him trying to kill a mosquito (and failing), there’s plenty of laughs to be had with this.

I love this guy.

I love this guy.

Sweet Animation

Other than the good laughs and interesting concept, One Punch Man’s animation is pretty sweet. Like seriously, the action and fight scenes are pretty awesome and badass. If you don’t care about laughs or meta-commentary, check this show out even just for the kickassery.


Verdict

Definitely going to be in my “To-Watch-List”. If you can only watch one anime this season, I recommend that you go watch this one.

9.5/10 – Excellent

  • Pros
    • Hilarious
    • Badass Animation
    • Meta-Commentary
  • Cons
    • Lackluster first half of episode one.
Our hero.

Our hero.

Fall 2015 Anime Impression

We’re in the third (or second?) week of fall, at least according to the anime industry, and so I decided to watch eight new shows that I can maybe talk about and waste my time with. And since I’m the “I need to watch 3 episodes before dropping a show” type of person expect me to keep tabs on shows that I might not even like all too much for the next few weeks. For the most part though, this season’s looking pretty good so far.


Attack on Titan: Junior High

Chibi Attack on Titan because I don't know.

Chibi Attack on Titan because I don’t know.

  • What is it?
    • Attack on Titan: Junior High is an anime that’s existence perplexes me. It’s like Attack on Titan, but cuter.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • Somehow this works.
    • It’s adorable and funny. Though it might not work for non-AoT fans.
      • There’s just too many in-jokes.
    • Fans should definitely give it a watch though.

Cliche: The Animation (I mean… AntiMagic Academy 35th Test Platoon)

I betcha ten clams that this broad's going to be all over the main guy by the end of this one.

I betcha ten clams that this broad’s going to be all over the main guy by the end of this one.

  • What is it?
    • A waste of time.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • I got up to make lunch and when I got back the show was doing exactly what I predicted it would be doing.
      • Nothing new.
    • There’s like this squad of underdog witch-hunters and they get the super elite cool girl to join their team who’s like the youngest person to become “Cliche Cool Title” in history. The super elite cool girl is super elite and cool, so elite and cool that she doesn’t think that she needs to be friends with the underdog team or something stupid like that.
      • Also, witches killed her family or something. Shocker.
    • The end of the episode showed them all kind of working together or something stupid like that.
    • The show just wasted my time.
    • Watch it if you need fap material or whatever. I don’t care.

Comet Lucifer

At least the cliche anime had decent pacing in it that kept me entertained...

At least the cliche anime had decent pacing in it that kept me entertained… “entertained.”

  • What is it?
    • A fantasy adventure with mecha elements.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • Not much really happened in the first episode. The main character’s an adventurous but innocent kid (think Gon from Hunter X Hunter rather than Luffy from One Piece). His mom’s dead and he kind of wants to continue his mother’s research or something.
    • There were some other characters that were fine I guess, but I worry that they might just be the generic useless side characters that annoy me.
    • The main plot itself seems to involve an evil corporation that’s involved with the main kid’s mom’s research.
    • Comet Lucifer’s first episode reminded me of Zoids: Chaotic Centuries first episode. Both main characters have some sort of hover-board thing, they scour ruins/mines and their adventure began when a mysterious girl gives them the ability to pilot a mech/Zoid.
    • I said a lot about this, but it’s kind of boring. I’ll keep an eye on it though just in case it actually develops a plot.
      • Right now the cliche anime did a better job than this at making things “fun”.

One Punch Man

Tell that to the fanboys of Bleach and SAO. They love OP characters who are

Tell that to the fanboys of Bleach and SAO. They love OP characters who are “BEAST” or something stupid like that.

  • What is it?
    • An anime about a super hero that’s too powerful. And the struggles of being that awesome.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • The first half of the episode had some laughs, but it was kind of boring.
    • BUT. This is probably one of the most unique shows I’ve ever encountered in a while. It’s main character’s design is unique, his backstory is unique-ish and his inner struggle is interesting from a stroy perspective and a meta-anime commentary perspective.
    • Plenty of anime fans love super-powerful characters (think favorites like Ichigo from Bleach and Kirito from Sword Art Online) because they’re so BEAST! Or something stupid like that. And One-Punch Man looks at how boring overpowered characters can be… and the show’s thoughts on overpowered characters are similar to mine.
      • When a character can just defeat the bad guys with minimal effort then there’s no tension, no thrills, it’ll be no fun.
    • And though I didn’t like the first half of the episode too much, I still can’t wait for the next episode since the animation in the latter half of the episode was pretty sweet.

Osumatsu-san

I find the word

I find the word “sextuplets” hilarious.

  • What is it?
    • An old show that’s new.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • Osumatsu-san’s first episode is one of the best and funniest episodes I’ve ever seen in an anime. Being a very dated show, the cast rightfully worried that their humor and style may no longer work with today’s audiences… so they decided to turn themselves into BL style hunks.
      • It’s amazing.
    • But as the show itself mentioned… This is not how the regular show’ll be like. Again, another one to keep my eye on but not gonna recommend it just yet as a series.
    • Anime fans however should definitely go check out the first episode just for the lulz though. Even if they won’t touch the rest of the series.

Sakurako-San (Or… A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako’s Feet.)

Already one of my favorites. I hope they don't fuck it up.

Already one of my favorites. I hope they don’t fuck it up.

  • What is it?
    • Probably a mystery anime.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • The first episode introduced us to Sakurako-san and her assistant, Boy A.
      • Sakurako-san is awesome and cool. Due to her obsession with death and skeletons, she possesses a great mind, eye and knowledge on possible causes of deaths, thus making her a pretty good homicide detective.
      • Her assistant is annoying though.

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

It's slow, but I found it engaging and interesting. Can't wait for more.

It’s slow, but I found it engaging and interesting. Can’t wait for more.

  • What is it?
    • I looked it up and apparently it’s a murder mystery.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • I found the show to be intriguing.
      • I had no idea what was going to happen but I liked it.
      • It felt like I was reading a novel (it’s based on a novel).
    • It’s a slow show that requires the audience’s full attention.
    • The characters are interesting, but nothing has “WOWed” me just yet.
    • Again, gonna keep my eye on it. Too hard to judge this one right now.
      • It does, however, feel like a show with mature sensibilities and respects it’s source material and itself. Which I like.
        • When I say “mature sensibilities” I mean that it seems like a show that isn’t just made to sell body-pillows. It has a story that it wants to tell and that’s pretty much the main reason it was made.

Utawarerumono: The False Faces

Fine. I'm a big fan of cat girls.

Fine. I’m a big fan of cat girls.

  • What is it?
    • An anime about a young human man trapped in a mountain village filled with neko people.
  • I wrote stuff down.
    • I’m still kind of interested, but the first episode was just kind of boring.
    • I learn about the characters, sort of, but not much happens.
    • The main dude looked like he was dressed in hospital patient clothes at the beginning of the episode, so I’m hoping that this whole thing isn’t a “guy in a coma” anime… I mean it could be and it could still be good, but I’m still hoping that it’s not “a guy in a coma” anime.

Attack on Titan: Junior High Impressions

You know what but why though?

So Attack on Titan: Junior High is a thing and I liked it. Is it weird seeing Eren, Mikasa and that one kid no one really likes in chibi form? You bet. Does any of it make sense? No, not at all. Should people watch it? Eh, why the hell not?

They're younger now in this screenshot, but that's as big as they'll get.

They’re younger now in this screenshot, but that’s as big as they’ll get.

Like I said, I enjoyed the first episode. It’s adorable, funny and a third positive adjective. It was pretty much like Attack on Titan, but fucked up—I mean cuter.

All your favorite characters are still there and the titans are just as weird looking, only difference is—everyone’s chibi, are middle schoolers and no one is being eaten by the titans because rather than eat people alive as they do in the original story, the titans kind of just steal people’s lunch.

This screenie speaks for itself.

This screenie speaks for itself.

Yeah… That’s… That’s what they do.

Oh and also, for some reason the titans go to school with the chibis. Different buildings though.

Other than that, there’s not really much to say about Attack on Titan: Junior High. It’s your favorite Attack on Titan characters in chibi form with kind of fan-servicey humor. (Not the ecchi kind of fan-service btw). And though I liked it and thought that it was amusing, I don’t think I’m going to recommend this to people who weren’t into Attack on Titan—there’s just too many in-jokes to fully appreciate.

I love Sasha.

I love Sasha.

But if you’re already a fan, go check it out. It wouldn’t hurt.

Eren's still Eren. Stubborn and kind of a twit.

Eren’s still Eren. Stubborn and kind of a twit.

My Top Ten Favorite Anime (Sort Of).

Everyone’s got a a list of their favorite shows and what’s on the list is always different for everyone because we’re all different people with differing opinions. But since I’m awesome, my opinion is fact and everything in this list is pure gold and if you disagree with that then… Okay. I hope you liked the list anyway!

Not everything in this list is an anime that I’d describe as a masterpiece per say. They’re all just shows that I really like for multitudes of reasons, but with that, let’s just get to it already starting with!

10) Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (2015)

Food Wars is a cooking manga/anime (that I’ve reviewed.)

NSFW foodgasms inbound.

NSFW foodgasms inbound.

Here’s a tip for all you Food Wars fans out there—go read the manga. The anime’s just as good, but go read the manga because woof… the anime ended too soon and left out one of my favorite tournament arcs ever and one of my favorite scenes/speeches from a manga (Ch.102). For those who aren’t familiar with the show: Food Wars is a hilarious and strangely epic cooking anime that revolves around Yukihira Soma as he battles (cooking battles) his way to the top of Totsuki Culinary Academy, the best damned cooking academy in all of Japan. Seriously, if you want a good laugh and great thrills, go watch Food Wars… Just make sure that you have food in the house because you’ll get hungry.

9) One Piece

A grand adventure in an even grander world seen through the eyes of a small, but larger than life pirate crew.

800 chapters in and we're still probably only half way there.

800 chapters in and we’re still probably only half way there.

Okay so everyone knows what One Piece is about and some people might have groaned seeing a member of the Holy Shounen Trinity in a Top Ten anime list. But while my taste in anime have developed and I’ve fallen out of love with the rest of the trinity, One Piece remains to this day as one of my favorite shows to watch—okay maybe not favorite show to watch because as big a fan as I am, I’m not ignorant to the fact that it drags on way too long with it’s flashbacks. But I do love it all the same because at its core, One Piece is a really fun show featuring a cast of fun and awesome characters.

8) Kimi Ni Todoke/Ore Monogatari!!

One features a girl that looks like the creepy chick from The Ring while the other features a gorilla, I mean a boy… who looks like a gorilla—both shows are about two misunderstood teenagers who simply want to be accepted.

Kimi Ni Todoke has some annoying bits regarding misunderstandings, but I still find it to be very endearing.

Kimi Ni Todoke has some annoying bits regarding misunderstandings, but I still find it to be very endearing.

When I think of romance anime, I laugh. I laugh because when I think of romance anime I think of harems and ecchi anime—two things about anime that I despise. I’m not a prude by any means, but I like subtlety. I’m the type of guy who cringes at most girls that twerk and I prefer seeing women in fall fashion to no clothes or summer clothes. I’m also the type of guy who believes in the idea of love, or at least likes to, because even I’m not dumb enough to know that it’s all just a lie…

Screw moe anime, Ore Monogatari is the epitome of cuteness!

Screw moe anime, Ore Monogatari is the epitome of cuteness!

But lie or not, two anime that never fails to put a smile on my face are Kimi Ni Todoke and Ore Monogatari!! Yes, these two shows are only here because of how cute they can be… and because of how much joy they both give me. I’m a fairly pessimistic person, but even I feel fuzzy inside watching these shows. Are they the best ever? No, but I love them regardless. They both feature outcast teens that just want to be accepted and find true love, and though the idea of love in both is highly idealized and innocent, I love it all the same.

If you want to know more about Ore Monogatari then you’re in luck! I already reviewed it here!

7) Mekakucity Actors

A show about something

Someone please explain this to me!

I really don’t get why this is here either.

Look I’m not going to lie, Mekakucity Actors is in this list because I’m looking for someone to try and explain to me why I love it so much because even I don’t know why I love it. Like seriously… Mekakucity Actors is a fine show, but it’s not even an 8/10 in my book. And yet for some reason… I really love it. All I know is that it features an ensemble cast of teens with special powers and a plot… I guess. I also know that it’s an anime based on a series of Vocaloid songs and somehow, it made me not want to punch my computer screen in the face.

6) Death Parade

A show about life. (And another show that I’ve reviewed!)

Boom boom boom! Dancing through the skies!

Boom boom boom! Dancing through the skies!

Death Parade is an original anime by Studio Madhouse and it’s probably my favorite anime of 2015. The basic concept of Death Parade is simple, two people enter a bar, they’re forced to play a game, an Arbiter watches the proceedings of the game and based on how the players reacted while playing said game, the Arbiter will then decide which of the pair would be sent to the void and which one would be sent for reincarnation. Again, simple concept, but like any good show, there’s so much more to Death Parade. Because despite being a show featuring dead people, it is a show about life itself as well as the experiences people have living it, may they be good or bad.

5) Hajime no Ippo

An anime featuring a bullied youth that learns the true meaning of strength through boxing.

Packs a PUNCH... Get it? No? Okay then... v ~ v

Packs a PUNCH… Get it? No? Okay then… v ~ v

I don’t enjoy boxing, or sports—actually I watch a little soccer here and there, but for the most part I don’t care for any of it. And yet… One of my favorite animes of all time is a boxing anime. But saying that Hajime No Ippo is JUST a boxing anime is like saying that Moby Dick is just a story about trying to kill a white whale. There’s more to both these stories than just their surface plot, and though Hajime No Ippo doesn’t go as deep as Moby Dick does in a thematic way, Hajime No Ippo does do a pretty impressive job of telling a riveting, pulse pounding and inspiring drama about an underdog who makes it big as a boxer. And yes, I consider Hajime No Ippo as a drama more than I consider it a fighting or sport anime, because though there is fighting and sportsmanship involved but at it’s core, Hajime no Ippo’s really all about the main character Ippo Makunochi and his rise to glory and greatness.

4) Gatchaman: Crowds/Insight

An anime about clashing ideals regarding the evolution of humanity as a society.

IN THE NAME OF LOVE! GATCHAMEN! ASSEMBLE!

IN THE NAME OF LOVE! GATCHAMEN! ASSEMBLE!

I’ve never seen the Gatchaman of old, but from what I’ve gathered, (and please correct me if I’m wrong) the original Gatchaman was a fairly simplistic hero anime where a group of Power Rangers esque individuals get together to fight aliens who threaten to destroy the Earth. The Gatchamen of Crowds and Insight however are vastly different. Rather than have a black and white narrative, the newest reincarnation of Gatchaman focuses more on opposing ideologies. In both Crowds and Insight, there was never a clear villain (maybe more so Insight than Crowds), for the most part, the enemies that the Gatchamen are going up against are well meaning, but dangerous individuals or groups who just want to see the world be a better place. And it’s exactly because of this that I’m putting Gatchaman in my list—it’s an anime that not only has fun and interesting characters, but it also takes time to look at society and even criticize it in a non-pretentious manner.

3) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

A show about sacrifice, brotherhood and a bunch of other really awesome shit.

Remember October 3rd.

Remember October 3rd.

Action, comedy and drama—FMA: Brotherhood has it all. I never really liked the original anime, I thought it was fine, but was severely flawed. Brotherhood on the other hand is hands down just a masterpiece of awesome. It has a well-written narrative, great characters and some of the best fight scenes in anime. Go check it out if you haven’t seen it yet what the hell are you doing with your life?!

2) OreGairu (My TEEN RomCom SNAFU!)

An anime about a loner who sees himself above his peers as he treks through the icy road to true maturity.

Chin up kid, you'll get there one day.

Chin up kid, you’ll get there one day.

My Teenage Rom-Com SNAFU! is a show with a fanbase that irritates the heck out of me… Sort of. I just don’t like how every time I go into comments sections of episodes or discussion boards I seem to always find people who are constantly obsessing about the protagonist Hachiman’s harem. I don’t like that because it’s not what the show is about and it goes against everything that Hachiman stands for. It’s just not genuine. But I get it, talking about pairings and harems is fun—sure, I’m not going to take that away from anyone.

But it’s not why I love SNAFU and it’s not why I watch the show. To me, SNAFU is more than just about romances or harems. It’s not about how cool it is to be a loner, because even the show itself depicts Hachiman as being in the wrong even though his methods work. SNAFU is Hikigaya Hachiman’s coming of age story. I know that the synopsis says otherwise, but ignore that because trust me, this show really is something special.

Similar to how I have Kimi Ni Todoke and Ore Monogatari in this list for mostly emotional reasons, part of why SNAFU’s on this list is because of how much I can relate to Hachiman’s struggles with life. It’s rare for any work of fiction (and non-fiction) to ever affect me this show has, which is why I have so much respect and adoration for it—because not only does it make me feel all weird inside, it’s also a very well-written show filled with great characters and both hilarious and dramatic scenes and conversations.

1) Gintama

An anime that made me cry way too much, especially since it’s primarily a comedy show about a feudal Japan that has been taken over and modernized by aliens.

Nobody with naturally wavy hair can be that bad.

Nobody with naturally wavy hair can be that bad.

When I first started watching Gintama I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I liked the protagonist Sakata Gintoki, but I couldn’t figure out what the show was going to be all about. There were hints of Gintoki’s past and how it might come back to form an overall and overarching plot, but fifteen episodes in and still there was nothing. For the most part, Gintama seemed to be just a comedy anime (a really funny and heartfelt comedy anime) but story or not, I was still in for the ride because like I said, I enjoyed the comedy bits a lot!

There were more hints of a plot thrown in there and I was satisfied just having a good time laughing at the almost self-contained comedy episodes. I loved the smaller dramatic episodes too and grew to really love the whole cast. But what really got me were episodes 58 to 61—that’s when everything changed. Not permanently. But it cemented Gintama as a series that would forever be in my list of favorite anime.

Episodes 58 to 61 were when the Benizakura Arc happened, Gintama’s first serious arc. Every Gintama fan knows what it was like to first to fill the thrills and chill of seeing our goofball favorite characters be put in a high stakes and life or death situation where they need to go up against a villain that better suited a more serious anime. The Benizakura arc still had plenty of comedy to it, but for the most part, it was the story arc that laid the foundation for what’s to come—it established the villain, the main story and a better look at Gintoki’s past. I mean we’ve always known that Gintoki was a badass, but it was his fight scenes in the Benizakura arc that showed just how awesome he could be.

I can’t really explain why I love Gintama so much, but I know that despite having hundreds of episodes I’d still recommend it to people. I know that that’s a commitment and I know that the payoff may not come until fifty episodes in, but my God, does it PAY OFF. And even after the Benizakura arc the show does return to form and remains a comedy for a dozen episodes before tackling another serious arc—but I’m okay with that. Others might not be, but I swear, you must give this show a chance. You owe it to yourself as an anime fan to watch Gintama because not only is it a hilarious parody comedy anime, but it’s also an exciting and touching story about a man who refuses to be broken by the world and how desperately he needs to pay his rent.

Thoughts on the 8th Episode of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru ZOKU! (My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!)

Hikigaya Hachiman grows up in this episode.

Hikigaya Hachiman grows up in this episode.

I don’t ever post on message boards or episode discussion threads. I lurk a lot, but I don’t post? Why? I’m not really sure myself. I’ve seen some of the comments on message boards regarding this episode though—plenty of which are people fixating on the scene with Hiratsuka-sensei or the tears that came during Hachiman’s speech. And the goal that I have here isn’t to take away anything from people.

All I intend to do is share some of my thoughts and opinions on the most recent episode and the series. I want to talk about what I get out of watching SNAFU and what this show means to me. However I do warn anyone reading that I might come off as a preachy little asshole towards the end of this.

But if you don’t mind that, then I hope you found this read worth your while.


EPISODE REACTION

Now, the first thing I want to talk about is my general thoughts and reaction to this episode and the best way I can summarize it is with a, “WHOA.”

Unfortunately I didn’t cry while watching this episode—maybe it’s because I’m a robot disguised as a human, but just because I didn’t cry it doesn’t mean that Hachiman’s scene and speech didn’t hit me. I felt a certain weight in my heart as I watched Hachiman deliver his speech to the girls, and seeing Yukino struggling to figure out what it meant pained me even further.

Yukinoshita Yukino doesn't get it.

Yukinoshita Yukino doesn’t get it.

This season overall has been really hard to watch. The first season of Oregairu, SNAFU, Yahari or however you want to call this show was fairly standard in terms of it being your typical high school anime rom-com. The characters were always interesting yes, but the seeming lack of plot kind of bothered me. And it didn’t help that yet another romance anime ended with a non-ending and no progress in the romance department.

Now back then, I didn’t know that SNAFU was going to get a second season. I heard that there was a Light Novel that the anime was based on, but I never got around to reading it. Still, this season though. This season started with a callback to episode twelve of the first season when Hayama got really pissed of Hachiman. That opening really helped set up the mood for the entire season and really with this season, they dropped the more romantic aspect of the show and just went full-on SLICE OF LIFE. I mean, I’m sure we all noticed how this season really took the “Slice of Life” ball and just ran with it all the way pass the fucking ENDZONE.

But it’s more than just that really.

Yuigahama Yui tries to wake Hachiman up.

Yuigahama Yui tries to wake Hachiman up.

It’s more than just a genre shift that’s making this season amazing. To me, the writing of the series simply escalated in quality. It now has a better-focused story arc. I even feel as if season one was nothing but a mere setup to this current season.

Yeah. Season One felt like the first Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We get all these little stories about other characters, while seeing bits and pieces of development in the heroes (Hachiman) and when it’s time for the actual Avengers movie (or in SNAFU’s case, the second season) you buy what’s happening on the screen because the characters and the tensions have been built up enough in previous movies (or episodes and season for SNAFU).

It doesn’t feel rushed nor does it feel forced. Everything makes sense based on what we’ve seen so far. I just wish that the first and second seasons were just one full series. The two-year wait aside, I feel as if there would have been a better story and conclusion for the first season if they had just made the series 24 episodes rather than the original 13. But that’s just me rambling.

But speaking of rambling.


IT’S NOT A HAREM

Often when I would go onto forums and discussion boards about SNAFU I would always see fans obsessing over which girl should Hachiman end up with or who’s now a member of his harem. And personally, I don’t like any of that—which is why I don’t go to those conversations and discussions. People want to talk about SNAFU in that kind of way? Fine, have at it.

But I do feel as if doing so is a bit of a disservice to what the show is.

The girls of the Volunteer Service Club are more than just harem girls.

The girls of the Volunteer Service Club are more than just harem girls.

To me, SNAFU, is more than just the harems and the shallow little shippings that fans gush over. To me, SNAFU is more Slice of Life than anything. Because SNAFU goes onto depths that even other anime of the genre often don’t.

I actually saw all of Nisekoi’s first season and I’m not going to lie—I haven’t seen a single episode past the first episode of the second season, because I’ve lost hope for that show. And it’s kind of sad because I actually enjoyed most of the first season. But when I say that I’ve lost hope for it, I mean that I feel as if it’s just not going to go anywhere. And even if it does, I’m just no longer invested in it.

Nisekoi is a harem.

Nisekoi is a harem.

And, I mention Nisekoi because THAT is a harem anime. Infinite Stratos? Harem. Love Hina? Harem. Baki the Grappler? Gay Harem.

SNAFU? No… I just don’t see it.

There are multiple girls in SNAFU. There’s a protagonist. But, it doesn’t follow the harem formula so I really don’t understand why people think that this show is a harem—because first off, if this were a harem, Hachiman would be way more non-descript to help viewers see themselves in his shoes. Also, the girls would be way more exaggerated and if this were a harem, the girls would all be all over Hachiman. Looking back to the first season though, I can see why people might think that this is a harem, but this season? Not anymore.

Because again, SNAFU is more slice of life than anything.

It’s more slice of life than comedy.

It’s more slice of life than romance.

And it is definitely more slice of life than a fucking harem.

Now I think this, primarily because of two things:

ONE. Though SNAFU is a bit melodramatic at times and offbeat and unrealistic, it’s still grounded in it’s own reality. Nisekoi, obviously, has assassins and Yakuza wars and that’s—that’s a thing in real life I suppose, but it’s still unrealistic, at least for it to have the tone the quirky tone that it has. And, really harems are unrealistic to me. They belong in the quirky and stylized world of Nisekoi.

That harem shit doesn’t happen in real life as much as the typical otaku would like.

Maybe it’s because I don’t like the idea of harems that I don’t want to look at SNAFU in this light. I don’t care for harems in real nor do I care for them in fiction. They’re unrealistic to me and devoid of that genuine connection that Hachiman and SNAFU are after. And again, I’m not trying to take these little shippings and harems from other fans, all I’m saying is that, never forget that SNAFU is more than just that.

But uh... let's also not forget that Isshiki is best girl... because fuck you if you disagree.

But uh… let’s also not forget that Isshiki is best girl… because fuck you if you disagree.

SNAFU is a bildungsroman—it’s the coming of age story of Hikigaya Hachiman. It’s not just about which girl he’s going to end up with or not.

I put this show on a pedestal, more so than I did last season, because I actually respect this show. I respect its writing because of how raw and real it can be at times. And I respect its characters because of how real they feel at times. Of course, it’s not a perfect depiction of real life, but what is?

I put this show on a pedestal, more so than I did last season, because I actually respect this show. I respect its writing because of how raw and real it can be at times. And I respect its characters because of how real they feel at times. Of course, it’s not a perfect depiction of real life, but what is?

SNAFU is about the struggles of a young man who’s been hurt too much to let anyone in. It’s the story of him trying to find his place in the world. And it’s the story of Hachiman trying to figure out what he wants out of life.


HACHIMAN’S PHILOSOPHY

A common complaint about SNAFU from none-fans is the pseudo-intellectual philosophies of the show. I’ve seen ill-favored reviews of the anime that scoff at Hachiman’s inner-monologue as something that reeks of teenage angst. They think that Hachiman’s your typical edgy little shit who preaches about how great it is to be alone simply because no one would love him back.

An image showing how  emo cunts worships Hachiman's bad side.

An image showing how emo tweens worship Hachiman’s bad side. It’s so edgy that I actually cut myself by accident posting it.

I agree. Hachiman is a loser. And a smug little punk.

But that’s the point of his character though. Even in the first season, Hachiman’s loner-lifestyle was criticized, mocked and challenged by various characters of the series. He was never put on a pedestal by the show itself for thinking this way, maybe fans who identified with Hachiman did put him on a pedestal for preaching to the choir about how great it is to be alone.

But remember that the show never did. It was only Hachiman that ever thought that he was cool. Totsuka thinks that he’s cool, but not because he’s edgy and thinks that the world sucks. Totsuka thinks that Hachiman is cool because of how kind and strong he is.

When they were in summer camp dealing with Tsurumi Rumi and others, Hachiman takes the lead and suggests to everyone that they should execute a plan fueled by Hachiman’s own cynicism and mistrust of people. And although Hayama went along with it, he didn’t agree with the philosophy behind it. No one did.

Hayama detested Hachiman. And we see more of this disgust for Hachiman and his way of thinking during the Sagami chapter. Hayama got physical with Hachiman after he had enough of Hachiman running his mouth and asked him, “Why is that the only way you can handle things?”

If this were a different show, Hachiman would have been depicted as being the coolest motherfucker for thinking all these UNIQUE life philosophies and for having this alternative way of thinking, rather than depict him as an edgy little shit. And yeah, while Hachiman is the protagonist of SNAFU and while he does solve plenty of the problems that the group encounters—he’s still depicted as that flawed edgy little shit. He’s not put on a pedestal for thinking the way he does and he’s constantly criticized for his way of thinking. And there are always consequences to his actions, choices and philosophies even if they don’t manifest until now.

I like Hachiman more because of this. I don’t like him because he’s proof that being a loner is okay and that cynicism and mistrust for people is okay. I like Hachiman’s character because he’s a terrifying reflection of who I was, can be and is. I feel for him because I know his pain and I feel for him even more, because I am familiar with that veneer of pessimistic wisdom that he holds onto so dearly.

Hachiman decides to be honest.

Hachiman decides to be honest.

He is a character that many people could resonate with, but I hope that they’re still resonating with him till now. Because often I’ve noticed that when faced with the truth and great consequences, as Hachiman has been this past few weeks, we often ignore these realities because it would be much easier for all of us to just live in a shell, devoid of pain and misery. To some, Hachiman can be an excuse for this loner lifestyle, but let’s not ignore the fact that even the story that he’s the star of paints him as a tragedy of youthful cynicism.

Let’s not ignore the fact that some of us are like Hikigaya Hachiman. Some of us did or do mistake this clouded and cynical view of the world makes us better, makes us smarter than the rest of the world because we consider everything fake and unreal. I like to pretend that I don’t see the world as cynically as I used to as I did when I was younger, but truth is, even now after seeing this recent episode I feel that sting of self-realization that aches and pokes at the heart, because I’m still, in a way, that cynic that I was and Hachiman is.

But that’s okay.

Hiratsuka-sensei is awesome.

Hiratsuka-sensei is awesome.

Because, admitting and realizing our faults and flaws is part of the process. It’s an impossible battle that’s part of growing up whichI live by on a day to day basis—and I don’t mind that, because just as the SNAFU shows us, being closed off from the world and putting on walls will only hurt us in the end. It will rob us of a chance to feel genuine happiness.

Because closing off life doesn’t just close off the bad. It also closes off all that is good and worthwhile.

There’s nothing wrong with pain, there’s nothing wrong with being lost and confused and there’s nothing with struggling, because it’s all a part of life. The reason why people commit suicide is to end all of that—but the thing is, life is suffering, life is misery and life is despair, but adulthood, in actuality demands that we don’t give a shit either way. Growing up doesn’t mean what it meant when we were angsty teenagers who saw ourselves as geniuses who figured everything out and have decided to close off the world because it’s fake and that we’re all above it.

No.

Adulthood and growing up is realizing that the world is the way it is and that we can’t just whine and cry about it nor can we just let it beat us. Adulthood is about standing on your own two feet and taking on the world for all that it is without putting on walls of cynicism and pessimism. There’s more to be an adult than that of course, and I really I have no right to say any of this because even I don’t live up to my own ideal image of an adult. But I’ll try, because really, sometimes that’s all the world asks of us.

And, this episode ended with Yui and Yukino being extremely confused by what Hachiman said in his speech to them. He said that he wanted something genuine—whatever that means. Yukino, as smart as she is, couldn’t handle not knowing what that meant, but Yui’s more simplistic view of the world that others might find superficial and fake allowed her to not care and is what ultimately brought them together. Yui’s optimism and how much she stands out in between the cold-calculating Yukino and the cynical Hachiman is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about this show. She may come off as ditzy, but at least she knows enough to humble herself.

Yuigahama Yui doesn't give up.

Yuigahama Yui doesn’t give up.

Yuigahama Yui’s overwhelming optimism allows her to keep going and to keep holding onto the bonds and people that she loves. It’s her optimism that allow her to say, “I don’t know what it means either—but who cares? We’ll figure it out together.” To me, that’s the life philosophy that the SNAFU’s author Wataru Watari is trying to pass onto the readers. It’s not the loner lifestyle of Hachiman that he’s celebrating; it’s the ability to not be afraid of the world and to admit that we don’t know anything that he wants to pass on.

In the earlier episodes of the series, Hachiman would write these philosophical essays for Hiratsuka-sensei. And in them, he declares and defends his loner way of life. Hachiman looked at the world as if it was wrong—as if it was his choice to be alone rather than just him lacking the ability to connect.

Hachiman’s thoughts, they’re walls. They’re a teenager’s self-crafted philosophies and rationale. It’s like when you or another loner would make excuses as to why they’re all by themselves and not with other people. His philosophies are just excuses that he convinces himself of as being facts and a reality. But in truth, all Hachiman wants is to have friends and not be hurt.

And yeah, I know Hachiman said in his speech that it’s not friends or companionships that he wants—he wants something genuine. I think what he means by this is the ability to stop lying to himself. Because cynicism to me is nothing more than a defense mechanism and excuse disguised as a legitimate philosophy. And ultimately, SNAFU shows that letting our guards down is what will ultimately let us experience and enjoy life.

What Hachiman did wasn’t just bear himself to the girls. What Hachiman did was an act of humility. For so long he’s pretended like he knew how to deal with the world when in reality he was just as terrified as any of us. And that’s really what I get from this episode: There’s nothing wrong with being humble, it let’s us look at our flaws critically so that we may better ourselves and it let’s us not see ourselves better than others and let’s us better connect with them.

[Obvious Caption About What's on the Image]

[Obvious Caption About What’s on the Image]


CLOSING

In conclusion, I just want to say how much I enjoyed this recent episode and how much I’m looking forward for the rest of the season. I’m aware that the chances of the Japanese writer and production studio that brings us this amazing story may never read this, but that’s fine. I guess this is just my way of saying to the world, “Hi. I love this show? Isn’t it great?” I’m a big fan of the subtleties of SNAFU and it’s very novel-esque style of writing. Of course, STUDIO FEEL gets mad props for animating emotions as well they do, because it is on point.

SNAFU-CLUB10

AND ALSO: I still can’t believe that Hikigaya Hachiman’s voice actor (Takuya Eguchi) is also the voice for Ore Monogatarii!!’s, Gouda Takeo. That’s fucking amazing. And that guy did an amazing job during this episode.

Gouda Takeo from Ore Monogatari!

Gouda Takeo from Ore Monogatari!

Oh and before I forget, fuck you COMMIE SUBS! You and your hype machine.

Keep fucking that chicken fellas.

Keep fucking that chicken fellas.