From Alien Triggers to Pots and Pans

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Anime definitely got me through some of my more difficult times and/or sometimes made life more stressful because I could not stop watching it, haha. This post contains reviews of recent notable anime:

1. World Trigger

2. Is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon? (DanMachi – Familia Myth)

3. Amagi Brilliant Park

4. Hibike! Euphonium

5. Food Wars (Shokugeki no Soma).

Once again, I aim to be elaborate and concise, and without any spoilers. Do leave a comment and let me know how you like or dislike the anime, I would love to know what a fellow anime-lover thinks.

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1. World Trigger: Odd pacing, action-packed, interesting. WT has a habit of zooming in on everyone’s facial expressions (yes, every character in the room) and then awkwardly stopping the frame for 2 seconds more. Perhaps the studio had a very low budget for the series – perhaps some sort of anime law dictates each episode has to be precisely 23-24 minutes so the producers prolonged certain shots – who knows? The series is ongoing and I am currently on episode 32. Once I got past the particularly weird pauses, slow pacing, and unnecessary scenes of the anime, I find myself demanding the next episode and enjoying the scope of this show.

Set in a different world with various new rules and weapons, WT’s concept of Trion and triggers is what grips me. Don’t google what Trion is! This anime’s world and characters are often revealed in half-concealment, which will leave you wanting more. However, the show overflows with characters waiting to be fleshed out and get their stories heard. World Trigger is, evidently, an anime that is flawed. But in those flaws you shall find a hidden gem. I recommend watching this with food or some nail polishing so you won’t get impatient with the weird pauses like me. 7.8/10

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2. Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? (DanMachi – Familia Myth): Hilarious, adventurous, believable. Boob string.BOOB STRING (See, I’m so nice I even saved you the trouble of finding a beautiful wallpaper of Hestia). Okay, that is all you need to know about this show. Next!

Just kidding. The show certainly popularized the usage of a blue ribbon as one’s bra. Countless fan service scenes and harem action really defined Dungeon as a shonen anime; but as a girl, these particular parts did not bother me as much as I expected, perhaps because the protagonist does not come across as a pervert.

The world of Dungeon is entirely based on…dungeons. The story revolves around actively fighting monsters, leveling up, and completing quests, like how you play MMO games. The realistic setting reminds me of Log Horizon a little bit, where the scope of the game is solid and credible, built on existing gaming rules. If I were to nitpick, the whole idea of a predestined and/or special hero does not really appeal to me. At the same time, the anime does a good job of developing the main character through hard work and will power, despite the audience knowing that he is “different.” Before you know it, leveling up becomes so exciting! 8.5/10

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3. Amagi Brilliant Park: Humorous, imaginative, heartwarming. Although the series has ended, it has left a little pink fuzzy mush in my heart. From the image above, the anime looks all cutesy-nonsensical, but this review is a gentle reassurance of the goodness you are about to stumble upon. Each of ABP’s episodes is slightly formulaic with running gags and inside jokes; nevertheless, the anime’s strength lies in the unfolding of events and the build-up to its ending. I undoubtedly love every episode (except the special; that was weird), for each episode made me experience tears from laughing and crying, and a genuine appreciation of creativity.

I suggest not reading anything else on this anime and to just go in blind; having no particular expectation of where the anime is going really helped me enjoy the show more thoroughly. My expectation of some characters completely backfired and made me laugh so hard – you’ll know what I mean when you see them. ABP could definitely work on fully developing the background story and being more elaborate, but it is overall a solid anime I recommend. 8.9/10

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4. Hibike! Euphonium: Uplifting, dulcet, realistic. Just from the art style and characters’ hair details, you can tell it’s shojo. Hibike! excels in its down-to-earth depiction of high school’s every day struggles and triumphs, and the music club’s relationship with instruments. What I really enjoy about the show is that, unlike many shojo anime, it does not focus on romantic relationships with guys, but spends the majority of each episode carefully forming female camaraderie. Hibike! also takes into account the ugly side of high school life: alienation, hierarchies, and competitions. Truly, high school wasn’t all filled with rose-tinted memories, so the realistic approach made this anime more relatable.

Ahem, now a few flaws I would like to point out. Sometimes physical distance between characters becomes blurred and certain shots are prolonged, so it seems like shoujo-ai might be implied. I prefer shoujo-ai (if any) to be conspicuous from the start. A more prominent weakness of Hibike! is that the anime spends a long time building up to the last episode, but does not entirely wrap everything up nicely in the finale. Despite its unsatisfying ending, the series puts a warm smile on my face. Watching Hibike! made me regret never actively participating in band. Oh, wonderful youthful years… (I’m talking like an old lady). This summer, don’t miss out the anime that will make you want to work harder and feel younger! 8.5/10

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5. Food Wars (Shokugeki no Souma): exhilarating, sensational, DELICIOUS. Umai~~ Honestly, I was unnerved by the first episode (food orgasm!) of FW because it was so ecchi and ridiculous. Fortunately, later episodes completely toned down their ecchi-ness and concentrated on food more than naked bodies. First rule of watching Food Wars: always watch it with food. Second rule of watching Food Wars: always watch it with food. Third rule of watching Food Wars: you get the point. Originally a manga, FW was meant to be animated! All the innovative dishes, brilliant colours…ah, it’s as if I can smell each dish through my screen! The vibrant and bold art style not only brings out the focus of the show (the food, obviously), but they are also fitting for the plot and characters. Like the title entails, each episode is a challenge accepted, a war waged. Beware, reader, you are about to embark on one delightful journey! (opens new tab to watch FW again.)

All right, all right, I got too excited. Will have some cold water now.

The protagonist is so OP, there should be more backstory to explain the toilsome process of him learning how to cook from his dad. Due to limited episodes, I find anime often suffers from underdeveloped backstories. Despite the show being incredibly addicting, the characters are a bit archetypal: you have the resilient but air-headed main, the tsundere rivals, mysterious but strong competitors, cute and shy friends, etc. Even though I’m nitpicking, if you can only watch one anime from this entire post, my top choice is, without a doubt, FOOD WARS. I’m already thinking of buying the manga, that is how much I enjoy the anime! 9.2/10

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A cup of green tea latte, a favourite anime, and a heart full of excitement – isn’t this the way to enjoy summer? Though the heat is unbearable outside, us anime fans (otaku) can always sit back, relax, and watch anime in air-conditioned rooms. Hehehe, anime is best served cooled.

Did any of these reviews tempt you to watch something? Which anime are you most excited for? Tell me, do we differ a lot in our taste in anime? What would you recommend? 😀

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*All images belong to their rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended.

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