February is in it’s last week and most new season shows are over episode 6 so its starting to become clear which are worth continuing to watch and which should be ditched. Surprisingly enough I have not dropped any half way as yet but there are disappointments and a lot of enjoyment.
I have just started watching Dr Stone: Stone Wars, having left it for awhile as I wanted to try binge watch the series. This is the 2nd season of the show, the first having aired from Jul 2019 to Dec 2019. Mankind has turned to stone! and there is one person that manages to break free and restart humanity. Dr Stone was an enjoyable watch, and full of science too, although at times it does tend to be somewhat of a facepalm. I have caught up with episode 6 already and like the first season it is still an enjoyable watch although it does seem to be rushed in parts. There are only 11 episodes in this season so they had better hurry up and resurrect everybody! MAL rates the season at 8.29 so it is a very popular series.
Rewatches from Previous Seasons.
ef, a Tale of Memories. Originally aired from Oct 2007 to Dec 2007 and revolved around Chihiro_Shindou who suffers from anterograde amnesia where she cannot remember anything past thirteen hours. One of a twin, she lived apart from her sister Shindou, Kei due to the accident that she suffered. There are a few main characters in the series and I recall watching this way back in 2010 and struggling to remember who was who. The character design is “old style” but visually the anime is beautiful, especially seascapes. Memories is actually the first half of a pair of anime and while it does work as a standalone you really get the most out of it by watching Melodies. I rated it a 10 and it rates 7.95 at MAL.
ef, a Tale of Melodies. (aired from Oct – Dec 2008), uses the secondary characters from Memories as the main characters and it revolves around the tragic Amamiya, Yuuko who would periodically pop up in Memories. The story tends to jump back and forth between her early life and present day but it wraps up reasonably well at the end although the ending may surprise one. Personally I don’t think you could watch Melodies as a standalone because the two anime are so closely intertwined. At the time I rated it a 10 although it rates 8.05 at MAL. Looking at it now with hindsight I would probably drop that rating of mine to an 8.
Welcome to the NHK! (NHK ni Youkoso!). Originally aired from July 2006 till December 2006 and I watched it a few years later but did not record the date. It was however amongst my earliest anime watches and at the time I found it fascinating. Now, over 10 years later I finally rewatched it and was quite amazed at how complex it really was. The story follows Satou, Tatsuhiro, a self confessed hikikomori that ends up living next to an old schoolmate Yamazaki, Kaoru. He also encounters Nakahara, Misaki who offers to cure him of his “condition”. The two young men are trying to produce an “ero-game” and their struggles with this production and their own lack of experience with girls. Misaki is a fascinating character and I remember even back then admiring her tenacity and level headedness while trying to deal with the erratic Satou. Unfortunately Misaki has somewhat of a tragic past that raises its ugly head as the series draws to a conclusion. Overall its an excellent watch, although I am not too keen on the OP. It also introduced me to what could be conceived as one of the most inane, and irritating anime song ever (Cue Pururin)
Fushigi Purupuru Pururin Rin! by Shishido Rumi does tend to get stuck in your head but it is quite a cheerful sort of meaningless tune. (Click on the image to go to the song). NHK also delves into “Otaku culture” and the what it means to become a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). I rated NHK a 10 and it scores 8.33 on MAL.
Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners. There are 7 separate episodes in the Garden of Sinners series, some are almost full length movies but all revolve around Ryougi, Shiki, a young woman who possesses the “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception,” a supernatural ability that allows her to view the death of any given object and destroy its origin. She had two personalities: a male personality known as SHIKI, and a female personality known as Shiki, hut having recovered from an extended coma she has seemingly lost the male personality. Shiki “works” for the chain smoking Aozaki, Touko who is an extremely powerful sorceress.
Actually Shiki really goes around attacking targets that are causing mysterious deaths in the city. It is an extremely complex series and there are really two ways to watch it (sequentially or in a specific order), my personal favourite episode is Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen, and I have seen it at least 5 times. The series falls into the Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Drama, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural, Drama, Romance, Thriller genres and if you do not like bloodfests I do not recommend that you watch it. In my opinion Kara no Kyoukai just shows what can be achieved from anime without the need for endless fan service.
Shikabane Hime: Aka and Shikabane Hime: Kuro (aka Corpse Princess). What lies behind the mysterious machine gun wielding Hoshimura, Makina? She is actually dead but goes around eliminating “Corpses” at the behest of a quasi religious group. The theory is that after eliminating 108 corpses she will go to “Heaven” although something is really rotten in the whole organisation.
Originally aired in 2008 and 2009, it is an excellent series with so many twists and turns and shenanigans that it will keep you riveted to the seat. Makina is seriously dangerous but deep down very flawed and tragic, but you cannot help but feel empathy for her and the other Hime as they attempt to counter the attack of the Shichisei (Seven Stars), a group of elite Shikabane who act on more than just regrets. MAL rates Aka at 7.24, but I rated it an 8. This is probably my 4th viewing of the series over the past few years and it is always entertaining and recommended.
Mushishi. The Mushishi franchise is a very successful one, consistently rating very high in enjoyment and viewership, it is however nothing like what a popular show should be. The stories revolve around Ginko, who is a “Mushi-shi”, a person who can see and understand “Mushi” and the effect that they have on people and the environment. Mushi are invisible organisms that exist all around us, often causing a variety of conditions/ailments/diseases/ and/or disasters to those affected by them. Each story is a standalone and Ginko travels on foot through an earlier Japanese countryside. The stories are beautifully created and reasonably easy to follow, although there are a few common threads throughout the series. There are 2 series in the show with a mini movie and some specials and I was busy watching the 2nd half of the 2nd series this past week. (Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season as well as the movie Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku, as I had not finished them the first time around).
Mushishi has very slow pacing, and at times you could be frustrated by the speed with which things happen (and the laidback OP too), but the series is consistently good and often leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling (for which Ginko would probably have an explanation and medicine). Generally speaking I would rate most of it an 8 or 9 although the slow pacing does make it loose a few points. You either enjoy Mushishi or you hate it. Personally I am of the former school.
That wraps up my watches for February, I will be back with my march wrap-up of the season and my verdict on a number of favourites that were back. Keep watchin’
DRW 2021. Created 21/02/2021.