Anime, Shows

A Rom-Com About the Trials of a Manga Writer

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun Season 1 and Bonus Footage

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Intro

I was first introduced to this show when I accidentally came downstairs in the middle of an episode my sisters were watching. I was intrigued by what I saw. When they later asked if I wanted to give it a try, I was all for it. I enjoyed the anime so much that I ended up re-watching it with a college friend too.

Background

Also known as Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun, this anime series is based on a manga series written and illustrated by Izumi Tsubaki.

Season 1 was released in 2014. There is no complete Season 2, but there is bonus content that amounts to about the length of one episode.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki Kun is available to watch on Netflix and CrunchyRoll.

Summary

A high school student named Chiyo Sakura confesses her love to her schoolmate Umetaro Nozaki, but he mistakes her for one of his fans and she ends up with his autograph. Chiyo finds out Nozaki writes girls’ romance manga and becomes one of his assistants.

Pros

  • Well-developed thematic intro
  • Great music
  • Creative characters
  • Range of characters’ expressions entertaining
  • Changing backgrounds to convey mood
  • Beautiful animation with great attention to detail
  • Humorous dialogue
  • Pokes fun at rom-coms in general and shoujo manga in particular
  • Hilariously awkward relationships
  • Fitting ending

Cons

  • Uncomfortably violent relationship between two characters
  • Repetitive themes that can get a little annoying

Review

Intro

The intro is one of my favorites. Like in the picture shown above, it shows the characters transposed against comic-style panels. This is perfect because it is an anime about writing manga, to some extent.

The part where all the characters are beating up on the Tanuki doll is funny too considering how their dislike of Tanuki comes up in the story.

Music

I love all the music of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki Kun. It’s quirky, just like the show. Music adds to the humor throughout the show. My favorite song definitely is the one in the intro though.

Characters

Umetaro Nozaki is a teenager who is oblivious to love in his everyday life but is able to write characters who are in love with precision and skill. He thinks Chiyo just wants to help him with his manga, and even though that’s true to an extent, he is incapable of recognizing Chiyo’s love for him.

Chiyo Sakura has a major crush on Nozaki, and I mean major. She is sweet, helpful, and persistent. The flirt Mikoshiba doesn’t bother being flirtatious with her, probably because they become good friends and she sees right through him.

Mikoshiba Mikoto is basically the handsome flirt of the show, but he is quirky too. After saying something flirtatious, he becomes extremely embarrassed. He frequently tries to get his friends to help him out of unfortunate situations his flirting gets him into, and is surprisingly socially inept.

Yu Kashima is nicknamed “The Prince” because of her princely behavior around guys. She is more popular than Mikoshiba even. I think that her crush on Hori is unfortunate because of the brutal way he treats her though.

There are plenty of other colorful characters, but you’ll have to watch the show to get to know them!

Mood

Backgrounds show how characters are feeling and exaggerate that emotion.

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Character expressions are an added element, and they have a wide range of them.

Animation

The animation is beautiful and well-executed. No complaints here.

The level of detail is astonishing. The fact that they went to the trouble of making a bin of pens look like an actual artist used them is phenomenal. The different types of pens with the sizes and everything is so amazing. It looks kind of like the box of pens I use with my Copic markers.

Humor

Dialogue is one way that humor comes across in Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun. Here are two lines, both from Nozaki himself, that show what you can expect from the show.

Critics have called me the spokesman for girls everywhere.”

You couldn’t have a character more oblivious to the feelings of girls around him, and yet critics laud his ability to understand girls.

In another instance, when Nozaki is questioned about what he and his friends do, he tries to hide the fact they are working on girls’ manga by saying:

We like to meet at my apartment for unspecified activities.”

All the people you can ship in this anime have the most awkward relationships possible. I mean, look at this:

I don’t even have to explain who these characters are–you can tell that they are shippable in the most awkward way possible.

Nozaki holding the umbrella for Chiyo is the worst. I mean, poor girl. But reverse their roles and it’s not much better:

This is also a way that the anime pokes fun at romances. Walking home together under one umbrella is such a cheesy, cliché thing. By making it not work at all, they maximize the humor in a satirical way.

The also makes fun of how in shoujo manga alcohol has to be replaced by juice and cigarettes have to be replaced with lollipops.

Ending

The ending may not be satisfying to many, but I would say it fits the theme of the show well.

Problematic Relationship

I don’t like the relationship between Kashima and Hori because he beats her up and it is meant to be comedic but it’s really just…uncomfortable.

Repetitiveness

Chiyo’s continued hopes that Nozaki understands her love for her are continually squashed by Nozaki’s oblivious. Does it get old? Well, kind of…but there is so much more to the show and it’s really humorous anyway.

Bonus Footage

The Bonus Footage is not as good as the episodes of Season 1, but they were still worth watching. There are hilarious parts to them as well.

Conclusion

If you like lighthearted rom-coms, I would recommend this anime.

It is rated PG and I think that’s a fair rating. There is nothing in this anime I would be worried about children seeing.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Anime, Shows

Fun-Sized RWBY

Image result for rwby chibi

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

RWBY Chibi Season 1

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Intro

After watching six volumes of RWBY, my sisters and I discovered the series RWBY Chibi. The comedic aspects of this show were refreshing after the darker scenes of the later volumes of RWBY, but Season 1 of RWBY Chibi, while humorous, was not altogether satisfying.

Background

RWBY Chibi Season 1 was released in 2016 and is a RWBY spin-off show. It contains serious spoilers for Volumes 1-3 of RWBY.

It can be watched in its entirety on Amazon Prime, or as individual episodes on Youtube or the Rooster Teeth Website.

Summary

RWBY Chibi consists of comedy segments featuring characters from RWBY. The show is not considered canon.

Pros

  • Clever use of character traits and personalities for humor
  • Poking fun at character relationships
  • The studio’s self-deprecating sense of humor
  • Clever breaking of the fourth wall
  • Junior Detectives segment
  • Frequent references to western culture make it a unique anime

Cons

  • Extremely limited audience that it is unlikely to satisfy
  • Segment of Faunus racial profiling played for laughs
  • Distractingly strong exaggeration of Pyrrha’s accent

Review

Humor

The show used traits of the characters in exaggerated ways to increase the humor. For instance, it cleverly utilized Neptune’s fear of water, Pyrrha’s polarity, and Blake’s semblance to create hilarious scenarios.

The comedy also poked fun at Jaune’s obsession with Weiss, Weiss’s attempts to team up with Pyrrha, Pyrrha’s efforts to spend time with Jaune, and Nora and Ren’s awkward relationship.

My favorite part was when the studio created humor at their own expense by making fun of the poor animation of Volume 1 of RWBY, in particular the dark silhouettes that took the place of actual background characters.

Breaking the fourth wall was another tactic used, but not overused like it often is in other shows and movies. Nora used it to great effect to emphasize the fact that RWBY Chibi was a comedy and would not permit themes like death.

The Junior Detectives segment was amusing, and followed the antics of Sun and Neptune. I definitely got the feeling that Neptune was much more of a star in RWBY Chibi than he was in RWBY.

References

Frequent references to Western culture made this a unique anime. For example, there were references to Little Red Riding Hood and Jaune be nimble (instead of Jack be nimble).

Audience

This show would make no sense and would not be amusing to anyone who hasn’t watched RWBY.

Even if you watched RWBY, the show is clever but not as funny as one might hope.

Racial Profiling

Blake is part cat. We get it. But making racial profiling part of a joke, especially when the situation of the Faunus was so terrible in RWBY, is not funny.

Over-exaggeration

Over-exaggeration was only really a problem when it came to Pyrrha’s accent. It was exaggerated so that it didn’t really sound like her.

Conclusion

If you watched RWBY, this may be worth your time, but otherwise, don’t bother. It’s good for a few laughs, but don’t expect anything phenomenal.

The content is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Anime, Shows

Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Bathroom Ghost

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun Season 1

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Intro

My friend recommended this anime to me. I was skeptical at first, especially since she is not usually a fan of anime, but I am happy to say that Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun far exceeded my expectations.

Background

Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun, also know as Jibaku Shounen Hanako-Kun is an anime based on a manga series by Iro Aida. It falls into the genres of Comedy and Fantasy.

Season 1 was released in 2020, and it is likely there will be a Season 2 due to the show’s popularity.

You can watch Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun on Hulu or Funimation.

Summary

Yashiro Nene, a high-schooler at Kamome Academy, investigates a rumor about a wish-granting ghost named Hanako who resides in the girl’s bathroom. Nene seeks romance, and is in for a surprise when her wish gets her into deep trouble.

Pros

  • Intriguing story
  • Compelling characters
  • Unique art style
  • Superb animation
  • Balance of humor, tension, and sorrow
  • Quirky intro and outro
  • Contrasting yet fitting music

Cons

  • A couple episodes are incredibly bizarre and creepy
  • Inappropriate choice of language

Review

Story

The storyline is unique and follows the attempts of Hanako and Nene to maintain the delicate relationship between the natural and supernatural at Kamome Academy. Each episode deepens the conflict between the forces of evil seeking to corrupt the spirits at the school and the forces of good, led by Hanako.

Occasionally episodes veer toward the creepy, especially with the Misaki Stairs segment.

Characters

Yashiro Nene is a romance-obsessed high schooler who is willing to do whatever it takes to find love. This gets her into stupid situations sometimes. She annoys me occasionally with her poor decision-making, but overall she is a kindhearted and appealing character.

Hanako is a ghost with a dark past. He has a great sense of humor and a playful personality. Even though he can be a bit thoughtless at times, he genuinely cares for other people.

Kou Minamoto comes from a long line of exorcists. He has a brash personality and frequently acts on impulse. His personality is also selfless, and he truly wants to do what’s right, even if that means exorcising Hanako.

Sousuke Mitsuba is a spirit who appears midway through the anime. He is quick to jump to conclusions, confident, and foul-mouthed. He calls Kou “Lame-Ass Traffic Earring,” for instance. He has a surprisingly complex personality that I definitely appreciate.

Style and Animation

The art style is beautiful, taking advantage of pale pastels as well as brighter colors. Their treatment of light, seen above, is especially stunning. The characters’ eyes are made up of rich hues that make them seem even more expressive.

Humor

There is a balance in this show when it comes to humor, tension, and sorrow that makes it impactful.

Much of the humor in this anime comes from Hanako’s playful personality, Nene’s fruitless attempts at romance, and Kou’s exorcist antics.

There is a running joke about Nene’s legs being like daikons (a type of radish), and she is extremely self-conscious about her appearance.

I can’t say much about the tension and sorrow without giving away details of the plot, but I will say that this anime did make me tear up at one point.

Intro and Outro

The intro is beautiful and impressive, with kaleidoscopic and at times almost retro colors. It foreshadows future episodes without giving anything away.

The outro is not as good when it comes to art, but the theme is attractive.

Music

The music is quirky, with unique little tunes for transitions between scenes and different music to create different moods.

I like the music of the intro best because of its catchiness, but the calmer song of the outro is also very appealing.

Language

Occasionally the language verges on the inappropriate, such as when Hanako demands Nene’s “body” in return for a wish. What he really wants is for her to work as his assistant, but the way he said it was very suggestive and uncomfortable

Title

The title of the anime, since it uses the word toilet, kind of put me off. I wouldn’t have chosen to watch it if it hadn’t been suggested to me. I usually associate the word toilet with potty humor, which tends to just annoy me. Luckily, that’s not the sort of humor this anime employs. But I feel like the title would intrigue some people, so I didn’t list it as a con.

Conclusion

Even if the title doesn’t sound appealing to you, I would recommend you give this anime a try. It would be best for an audience of ages 13 and up. If you’ve watched it or decide to give a try, let me know in the comments!

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Life

5 Reasons to Love Masks

I hear people complaining about masks all of the time. I know people who blatantly refuse to wear them correctly, and others who will wear them the right way but can’t help but point out how much of a nuisance they are.

Unpopular opinion: I don’t mind them. In fact, I even like them sometimes.

Here are five reasons why people shouldn’t be hating on masks:

1. They keep your face warm

Okay, I don’t know if you live in a place where winter is nasty, but where I live, the cold weather was prolonged and not very fun.

I don’t like winter. The snow is pretty to look at, but trekking to classes every day through it was less than desirable.

I have to say, having a mask to cover my face this year was a blessing. And since it is basically normal now, I don’t stand out at all for using mine as a face warmer.

2. They give an excuse for not recognizing people

I actually am terrible at recognizing faces. I notice things like hair length and hair color, but I forget what people’s faces look like. With the current Covid situation, I can now just blame it on the mask. That makes it a little less awkward.

But even if you are good at recognizing faces, you can use the mask as an excuse for not talking to people you want to avoid. If they confront you for ignoring them, blame it on the mask.

“Oh sorry–didn’t see you there. You know how masks are…”

3. They hide your expression

People do dumb things sometimes. And when they do, your trusty mask can hide your silent laughter. It can conceal those involuntary frowns, the mounting frustration, an evil grin. I can’t tell you how much my mask has saved me from offending people by hiding my expressions.

The only problem is, once wearing masks is no longer a necessity, it’ll be hard to break the habit of being too expressive. By now, I’m used to the mask and no longer try to hold back the occasional smile, grimace, or smirk. Oh well–I’ll worry about that when this whole Covid crisis is over.

4. They conceal acne

Sure, they cause it too (heard of maskne?), but they do hide the entire lower half of one’s face. That’s 50% acne coverage there.

5. They are another way to express your personality

People have always used clothes to flaunt their personalities. But now, fashionable masks are the new craze. Whether broadcasting one’s love of My Hero Academia or one’s obsession with kittens, the masks one wears say a lot about a person. They can show whether one is artsy, minimalistic, creative, or playful.

There are loads of masks that are just plain funny.

Conclusion

Next time you wear a mask, look on the bright side. There are reasons, even besides the obvious health benefits, for wearing a mask. We’re all in the same boat here, and I’m sure this will all blow over eventually. Stay healthy!