Fragglepuss Anime Review 285: Fire Force / Enen no Shouboutai

Fire Force / Enen no Shouboutai

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Supernatural, Smoking Hot!

First Aired: Summer 2019, 24 episodes

Summary: The “Fire Force” are special fire brigades that deal with instances of spontaneous human combustion, where humans turn into insatiable Infernals. The Fire Forces are comprised of second and third generation humans with fire producing abilities. Each special person possesses a different form of pyrokinesis, and the later the generation, the more powerful they typically become. It is year 198 in the Solar Era in Tokyo, and Shinra Kusakabe is a third generation pyrotechnic that is able to produce feet flames at will. He joins Fire Force Company 8 and is going to have to learn to check his attitude at the door if he wants to be a part of the team.

Fire Force starts off with a lot of similarities to other action anime, especially the sub-genre of action with multiple characters all possessing different and unique abilities. The world building is unique in the world being mainly fire. It’s fun to see the abilities each character possesses and how they utilize them. It is also interesting to see learn about the different Fire Force companies and what they are all about. All they all good or have some of them been corrupted? Maybe some of them use unconventional methods to solve their fire problems.

You might enjoy this if: You are all about that smoking hot action!

You might not like it if: You despise the sharp teeth. Shinra, the protagonist, is 100% sharp teeth and you see his pearly whites all the time.

Similar Anime: D.Grayman, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, My Hero Academia, Tokyo Ghoul

Note to the Viewer: No worries about source material here. There are currently 21 volumes of Fire Force manga, and the creator has stated the series will likely end up with anywhere from 30-50 volumes when all is said and done.

Fire Force Opening – Inferno by Mrs. GREEN APPLE

 

AMV – I’m Dangerous by Onii Chaaa

(Warning, the AMV contains some minor spoilers)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 284: Weathering With You / Tenki no Ko

Weathering With You / Tenki no Ko

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Slice of Life, Rain Showers

First Released: July 2019, 114-minute film

Summary: Hodaka Morishima runs away from home at age 16 to go to Tokyo. He quickly discovers how difficult it is to start a new life in the big city as a high school dropout. Luckily for him he meets Keisuke and Natsumi, two unusual small-time publishers that take him in like a stray animal. One day Hodaka encounters Hina Amano and their lives become intertwined in a way they will never forget. It turns out Hina is a “Sunshine Girl”, a fabled individual that can control the weather. Maybe Hina can do something about the record-breaking amount of rain that has been falling for the past several months.

There is a lot to appreciate in Weathering With You. It is directed by Makoto Shinkai, who also created Your Name (the highest grossing anime film of all time). The first thing I noticed was the beautiful animation, especially during the fantasy-heavy portions of the film. The fish rain was stunning and everything down to the raindrops splashing on the ground was perfect. I appreciate when the little details of anime are covered, such as in the Ghibli films, and Weathering is a perfect example of not being lazy with animation. The next thing I noticed was the soundtrack, which added so much to the film. Shinkai films always seem to have a wonderful soundtrack that builds the mood at the right time, and Weathering does exactly that. The climactic finale is all-the-more significant and emotional because of the song being played at just the right time.

The film itself is amazing. Great protagonists and supporting staff that develop as time passes. The minor characters add so much to the film, even down to the alley cat “Rain”. The story moves at a nice pace and keeps you guessing. The start of the movie feels like it is biting off more than it can chew in terms of the message it wants to get across, but it delivers at the end and leaves no doubt what it is trying to say.

You might enjoy this if: You want to watch a slice of life show mixed with some fantastical elements and a dash of romance.

You might not like it if: You are a fair-weather person who only enjoys the sunshine.

Similar Anime: Any of the other Shinkai-directed films (Your Name, The Garden of Words, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, 5 Centimeters per Second, The Place Promised in our Early Days), When Marnie Was There, Spirited Away, Fireworks, Mirai, Whisper of the Heart

Note to the Viewer: You are not crazy if it sounds like the Weathering With You soundtrack is eerily similar to Your Name. Both films soundtracks are headlined by music from Radwimps.

Weathering With You Trailer

 

Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do by Radwimps

(I love this ending song)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 283: King of Thorn / Ibara no Ou

King of Thorn / Ibara no Ou

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Epidemic, Post-Apocalyptic

First Released: October 2009, 110-minute film

Summary: Medusa is a deadly virus that becomes a worldwide epidemic. The world’s population is quickly shrinking, and one solution is to place 160 individuals in a cold sleep, waking them up when a cure has been found. Kasumi is one of the lucky participants, but her twin sister Shizuku is not so lucky. The two share a heartfelt goodbye as Kasumi enters the sleep center, although they promise to find each other once she wakes up. Kasumi and the others wake up to a completely different world. The sleep center is covered in thorny weed and it appears to have shut down years ago. It is up to the surviving members of humanity to discover the truth behind what happened while they were asleep.

King of Thorn is not what I expected, in a great way. The story takes you through twists and turns, guessing where each bend will take you. The ending will leave your jaw dropped on the ground with someone else picking it up for you while you digest what just transpired. The concept of waking up in an unfamiliar place is a story that has been told, but King of Thorn throws a unique twist to it. The traveling companions in the sleep center complement each other well and the losses are felt in their own way. I love the worldbuilding with the world of thorn. The backgrounds are beautiful and the contrast between sleep center technology and nature reclamation is well executed. The soundtrack is another positive, capped by an appropriate ending song that perfectly portrays how you feel after watching this show.

You might enjoy this if: You can handle a post-apocalyptic survival story with several twists and heartache along the way.

You might not like it if: You are averse to blood, violence, and epidemics.

Similar Anime: Children Who Chase Lost Voices, Another, Btooom, Deadman Wonderland, Paprika, Akira, Serial Experiments Lain

Note to the Viewer: If you are a fan of the film, make sure to read the manga. It is collected in six volumes and dives much deeper into the character’s backstories. Additional characters are introduced in the manga and it even has a different ending…

King of Thorn Trailer

 

King of Thorn Ending – Edge of This World by Misia

 

AMV – Sleeping Beauty by Vermillion AMV

(Warning, the AMV contains some spoilers)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 282: Magical Sempai / Tejina-senpai

Magical Sempai / Tejina-senpai

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, School, Ecchi, Magic

First Aired: Summer 2019, 12 short-form episodes

Summary: A seemingly normal high school boy gets recruited into the Magic Club as an assistant to the magical sempai, the only additional member. The two of them practice magic after school. Sempai is overly enthusiastic about her tricks while the new assistant could not care less. Hopefully the school approves of their club, even though it is severely lacking in members…

Magical Sempai makes you fall in love with magic! Sempai is a great character with an unmatched passion for all things magic. She is as skilled as they come when no one is watching, but as soon as she has an audience, stage fright gets the best of her and she messes up every trick. Her assistant is kind enough to play along even though he has little to no interest in the dark arts. Other characters pop in from time to time to check on the club, whether it is Sempai’s sister, who happens to be a teacher at the school, or a third-year transfer student named Saki. The series moves fast. Each episode is only 15 minutes which is broken up into smaller segments.

You might enjoy this if: You want a quick laugh that involves poorly performed magic.

You might not like it if: You want to do a magic trick to make fan-service disappear. It definitely plays a part in this series.

Similar Series: D-Frag, Seitokai Yakuindomo, Plastic Neesan, How Clumsy You Are Miss Ueno, Dagashi Kashi, Are You Lost

Note to the Viewer: Magical Sempai is produced by Liden Films studio. Even though the studio was founded less than a decade ago, it has been busy producing anime like: Miss Monochrome: The Animation, Sekko Boys, Terra Formars, Hanebado, and Midnight Occult Civil Servants.

Magical Sempai Opening – Fantastic Illusion

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 281: Are You Lost? / Sounan Desu ka?

Are You Lost? / Sounan Desu ka?

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Survival Instinct

First Aired: Summer 2019, 12 episodes

Summary: The series begins with four high school classmates waking up marooned on an island. How did they get there? Unknown. Three of the classmates are basically worthless when it comes to island survival. They are lucky that the fourth student, Homare Onishima, is a wilderness survival expert. It is up to Homare to keep the four girls alive, utilizing what little help they have to offer, even though they fight her every step of the way due to their customarily easy lifestyle. They come from the city, where they have never had the need to catch their own food or distinguish between edible and lethal berries. The stranded gals include:

  • Homare Onishima – The survival professional that does not waste words. She was taught by her father as a child how to fend for herself in the wild, from setting up a shelter to capturing food.
  • Asuka Suzumori – An athletic girl who is part of the school basketball team.
  • Mutsu Amatani – A shy and intelligent writer.
  • Shion Kujo – A spoiled rich girl.

“Are You Lost” is a quick and easy watch. The episodes are about 15 minutes a piece, longer than short-form but shorter than the traditional half hour show. The only characters you meet are the four stranded students and the occasional flashback of Papa Onishima teaching Homare everything she knows when it comes to not dying in the wild. Each character stands out in traditional anime style, from the loud, athletic Asuka to the shy yet brainy Mutsu. The various forms of survival were enough to keep me intrigued throughout the series. It goes in depth of the types of traps used to capture wild beast, as well as preferred shelter based on terrain.

You might enjoy this if: You are “survival ignorant” and looking to beef up your knowledge before waking up stranded on an island. You don’t want to be the one eating poisoned berries. You want to be the one diving for fish and cooking up gourmet meals that you can use for barter with your island-mates. Watch this series and they’ll never doubt you. After all, even if you don’t know what you are doing out there, do it all with confidence and they will never question you. You will be king/queen of the island.

You might not like it if: You are looking to avoid fan-service. Between island survival tips and camaraderie between budding friendships, there is the “shake your head” anime fan-service.

Similar Series: 7 Seeds, Dr. Stone, Highschool of the Dead, Kemurikusa, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, From the New World, Chaika the Coffin Princess

Note to the Viewer: The direct translation of “Sounan Desu ka?” is “Are We Shipwrecked?”, which frankly is the best title. I don’t know why they changed it.

Are You Lost? Official Trailer

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Anime Banzai 2019

Anime Banzai 2019

Layton, Utah

October 18-20, 2019

Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans

The 15th annual Anime Banzai took place this weekend at the Davis Conference Center. 2019 guests included: Alejandro Saab, Derek Stephen Prince, Tara Sands, Trina Nishimura, Warky, Jennifer Cihi, Stefanie Deleo, Ben Dunn, Newton Ewell, Jez Roth, Pannon, Alpacaash, Bryan Young, Caryn Larrinaga, Jared Quan, Cassidy Ward, Kylee Berry, S.J. Restivo, and Alex Harrow.

 

Some of the events at this year’s Banzai included a card/tabletop gaming room, an arcade/video game room, the vendor hall, Artist’s Alley, the 6th annual scavenger hunt, Kid’s Corner, countless panels, and two viewing rooms that offered anime all day long. Some of the main events included Banzai’s Got Talent, the Opening Ceremony, Cosplay Chess, Speed Cosplay, AMV Contest, Cosplay Contest, and the Monster Ball.

 

Anime Banzai’s charity quilting auction returned this year with multiple quilts as part of the silent auction. All proceeds will be donated to charity.

 

The AMV Contest showcased 34 videos this year in the main event room.

Anime Banzai AMV Contest 2019

Anime Banzai AMV Contest 2019

Some of my favorites include:

Dance Like It’s Your life by Synaesthesia Productions

 

Konosuba Rhapsody by Opner

 

Anime World Cup by AntaresHeart07

 

Sanity Test by DopplerDo

 

Happy Little Clouds by Glitzer

 

Without Madoka by Dariru

 

Thanks to everybody that attended our What’s New in Anime 2019 panel. The usual panel crew included Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke, and myself. It was our 7th year presenting this panel and it continues to be a blast every time we do it!

The anime we covered in the panel include:

  • Babylon
  • Kemurikusa
  • Rilakkuma and Kaoru
  • Are You Lost?
  • Fire Force
  • Magical Sempai
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm
  • Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
  • Bloom Into You
  • Conception
  • Try Knights
  • To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts
  • Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
  • Cinderella Nine
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
  • Dororo
  • Bem
  • Vinland Saga
  • Lord El-Melloi ll’s Case Files
  • Fairy Gone
  • Robi Hachi
  • Violet Evergarden
  • Cop Craft
  • Dr. Stone
  • Run with the Wind
  • Granbelm
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Sarazanmai
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero

 

Anime Banzai is always well run and organized. I appreciate how the organizers of Banzai strive to make it an interactive convention with something for everyone. There’s a variety of panel topics, various main events, all sorts of games, and even a courtyard for dancing at any time of day!

                       

Photos courtesy of Breanne Evans. Feel free to use, but please give credit to Fragglepuss.com for taking the photo.

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 280: Release the Spyce

Release the Spyce

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, School, Sci-Fi, Superpowers

First Aired: Fall 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Momo is a girl with aspirations of saving those in need, a goal she has had as long as she can remember. She has an unexpected chance at realizing her dream when she crosses paths with members of the Tsukikage, a secret intelligence agency that protects society from evildoers. Momo will have the opportunity to train and prove she is worthy of becoming one of the elite. It is not fun and games though, she will be pushed to the limit by her mentor Yuki to see if she can handle the pressure, or if she cracks and returns to society as a normal high school girl.

Release the Spyce is a fun watch. Momo stars as the protagonist, but the supporting cast is just as enjoyable. The Tsukikage organization functions by having a Mentor and an Apprentice. It’s a good time to watch the interactions between various Mentors and their trainees. Some got along famously while others are constantly butting heads. I am also a fan of the worldbuilding done in the series. It’s a world fairly similar to our own, but it contains the Spyce that gives the user extra ability to act at their full potential. Whether they use it for good or evil is up to them. The animation is bright and vibrant. The opening is catchy and gives you a nice idea of what the show is all about. There is even a legit music video

You might enjoy this if: Spice is life. You add chili powder to all your dishes and dream about paprika. For real though, if you like anime with super abilities and high schools, you will have a good time with this one.

You might not like it if: Salt is too spicy for you. There is a lot going on in this series so you have to keep up.

Similar Series: Flip Flappers, Princess Principal, Madoka Magica, Double Decker: Doug & Kirill, Humanity Has Declined

Note to the Viewer: If you turn out to be a big Spycehead, you can download the free-to-play mobile game “Release the Spyce: Secret Fragrance”. It was released in February 2019.

Release the Spyce Opening

 

Release the Spyce Music Video

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 279: Rilakkuma and Kaoru / Rilakkuma to Kaoru-san

Rilakkuma and Kaoru / Rilakkuma to Kaoru-san

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Kid, Comedy, Short-Form, Lazy Bear Roommate

First Aired: Spring 2019, 13 episodes

Summary: Kaoru is a seemingly normal “salary woman”. A normal day consists of going to work in the AM and coming home immediately after to get ready for work the next day. However, it is when she gets home at night that life gets interesting. Kaoru lives with Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori, two toy-like bears and a small yellow chick. Rilakkuma is as lazy as they come, living a life of leisure. Kiiroitori is the opposite, a hard-working chick who loves cleaning. The roommates depend on Kaoru for day-to-day needs, but Kaoru depends on them for support as well.

I did not expect to enjoy this series as much as I did. The stop-motion animation is fantastically done. The premise is silly but executed well. I could not believe how funny some of the episodes are. The episode where they end up in Hawaii is particularly hilarious. The way they did callbacks and brought the jokes back around was clever. While you may start watching because it looks adorable, you will continue watching to the end because the characters grow on you and you want to see what they will be up to next!

You might enjoy this if: You are like me and love Rilakkuma. There is something about that lazy bear that cracks me up every time I see it. Also, you should watch this series if you get frustrated with the mundane nature of everyday life and wish you had a fun-loving lazy bear to go home and talk to.

You might not like it if: You hate adorable characters that bring happiness to one and all.

Similar Series: Polar Bear Café, Neko Ramen, Aggretsuko, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Bananya, Lovely Muuuuuuuco

Note to the Viewer: The character of Rilakkuma was introduced by Sanrio all the way back in 2003. The character has grown in popularity over the years, starring in several video games along the way!

Rilakkuma and Kaoru Official Trailer

 

The Making of Rilakkuma and Kaoru

(It’s incredible to see how much work is put into stop-motion)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 278: A Silent Voice / Koe no Katachi

A Silent Voice / Koe no Katachi

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, School, Bullying, Regret

First Released: September 2016, 130-minute film

Summary: Shouya Ishida is an elementary-age schoolboy with a boredom that he cures by bullying others. He has friends that join in, but he is the ringleader of rude in his circle. Shouya cannot help himself when Shoko Nishimiya, a new girl that happens to be deaf, transfers to his class. Shoko integrates with the class but annoys Shouya, simply because she is different than what he is used to. He bullies her endlessly until her mother complains to the school. She ends up transferring out of the school, Shouya is shunned by his class because of how poorly he treated her, and life is never the same. Shouya begins a journey of redemption for his past mistakes and Shoko must live in a world that seems to be constantly against her, even though she is doing as best she can to make the world a better place.

A Silent Voice is a solid film from start to finish. It does not pull any punches with its storytelling, from the portrayal of bullying to the hopelessness felt when someone has suicidal thoughts. Shouya is an imperfect person that makes mistakes as a kid and must work hard to erase those mistakes. His path to redemption feels real in how it does not come easy. The people he wronged are not quick to forgive and he feels regret the whole way for what he’s done. Shoko is an amazing character dealt a difficult hand in life. She always does her best to maintain a positive attitude in a world that seems against her, but even she breaks down from time to time. It is a great portrayal of the character. Besides that, the animation is top notch, from the characters to the backgrounds. The soundtrack is amazing and adds so much to the film. The song that accompanies the ending is perfection in that scene.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to be emotionally drained by a powerful story of loneliness, regret, and forgiveness.

You might not like it if: You are emotionally drained as it is and need something lighter, maybe a comedy for a quick pick-me-up.

Similar Anime: Your Name, Fireworks, The Cat Returns, In This Corner of the World, Whisper of the Heart, 5 Centimeters per Second, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Mirai, Flavors of Youth

Note to the Viewer: A Silent Voice won Best Animation of the Year in the 26th Japan Movie Critics Awards in 2016, among many others.

A Silent Voice – LIT by Kensuke Ushio

(This is one of the powerful songs that I cannot get enough of)

 

A Silent Voice – Koi wo Shita no wa by Aiko

(Warning, the AMV contains some minor spoilers. If you want to go into the movie blind, don’t watch the video. If you want to see a glimpse of the film’s beautiful animation and lovely soundtrack, check it out)

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The Latest and Greatest in Anime Panel. Presented at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention Fall 2019

The Latest and Greatest in Anime Panel. Presented at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention Fall 2019

Panelists: John Fragglepuss Evans, Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke

Here is the list of anime covered during our panel at the Fall FanX convention as well as a short description. Thanks to Salt Lake Comic Convention for inviting us to another con. Thanks to everyone that attended the panel. If you were unable to attend, here’s the full list of every anime we mentioned. I must say, there has been some great anime in the past year. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to trim down the list because there are so many fun anime coming out.

 

Double Decker! Doug & Kirill

Doug and Kirill are partners trying to make the world right

 

Kemurikusa

Sisters live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with the simple goal of finding fresh water

 

Rilakkuma and Kaoru

Salary woman and lazy bear live together in the most adorable circumstances

 

Are You Lost?

Four high school classmates wake up marooned on an island and must learn to survive

 

Fire Force

Fire brigades deal with instances of spontaneous human combustion, where humans turn into insatiable Infernals

 

Magical Sempai

A seemingly normal high school boy gets recruited into the Magic Club as an assistant to the magical sempai, the only additional member

 

Release the Spyce

Momo crosses paths with an agency that will help her realize her dream, saving people in need

 

The Promised Neverland

Set in the year 2045, The happy orphanage surrounded by giant walls and mysterious adoptions

 

Bloom Into You

Confessions of love bring two young girls together as they learn to be true to their feelings

 

Conception

Two high school are transported to a world where they must help to fight impurities of the land by creating “star children” with the “star maidens”

 

Try Knights

A rugby player with the perfect build and a rugby player with all the knowledge of the game band together to save their team

 

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

During war, one side made super soldiers. Now that it’s over what will happen to the beasts that lost their humanity for the war?

 

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?

Masoto is carried away to a game world but is confused why his mother is on the adventure with him

 

Cinderella Nine

A story about a new high school girls baseball team

 

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

Although they like each other, they are too proud to confess their love as they believe whoever does so first would lose. The story follows many schemes to make the other confess

 

 Dororo

An ambitious man makes a deal with demons for power and his son is born deformed. The child is discarded but survives to fight the demons with a plucky sidekick

 

Bem

Three humanoid monsters protect humanity and hope to one day become humans themselves. When a Mysterious Lady arrives, everything is turned upside down

 

Vinland Saga

Set in 1013 AD a boy living in Iceland longs for adventure and is eager to know more about the world. His family must prepare for the impending battle

 

Lord El-Melloi ll’s Case Files

Waver Velvet is temporary head of the El-Melloi household. He teams up apprentice Gray to solve mysteries and cases involving magecraft

 

Fairy Gone

Special soldiers are implanted with Fairy organs, allowing them to summon Fairies to fight under their command. A government agency is formed, whose sole purpose is to combat illegal Fairy users.

 

Robi Hachi

A pair of complete opposites have fate bring them together. The two decide to travel across the galaxy together in search of Isekandar

 

Violet Evergarden

Violet is no longer a soldier. Now she must adjust to her new life and her new mechanical arms

 

Cop Craft

15 years ago, a gate opened in the middle of the Ocean. Beyond that gate lay a realm of faeries and monsters. Sergeant Matoba does his best to enforce order in this new city

 

Dr. Stone

A high schooler awakens to find himself lost in a world of statues. His science-loving friend has been there for a few months and he’s got a plan to kickstart civilization with science!

 

Run with the Wind

An enthusiastic fourth year student has been stealthly gathering men for the track and field team. He dreams of participating at a famous relay university marathon race

 

Granbelm

1,000 years ago all magic in the world disappeared, and most people have forgotten it. A cheerful high school student is transported to a new world of mechanical dolls

 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

A charcoal merchant now demon slayer, sets out seeking revenge to for his family’s murder and find a cure for his sister who has been turned into a half-demon

 

Sarazanmai

Three students are transformed into mythical creatures To regain their human forms, they must acquire magical organs belonging to zombies

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero

Iwatani Naofumi is expected to be a great warrior, but he turns out to be too weak to prosper and becomes the target of shunning. Consumed with rage he sets about getting revenge

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