Fragglepuss Anime Review 298: Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Horror, Comedy, Magic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Lizard People

First Aired: Winter 2020, 12 episodes

Summary: The Hole is a chaotic place free of law and order, dominated by magic users that visit to lord over the regular beings that inhabit the place. Residents of the Hole are taken advantage of by the magic users that use them for experimental magic. Most residents are powerless against the stronger magic users, but a few are utilizing their power to fight back. One fighter is Kaiman, a reptile-man with a mysterious past and an immunity to magic. His appearance is a curse and he is searching for a cure. His companions travel with him and share the same goal, returning life to normal.

Dorohedoro hits hard and fast with the violence. The opening scene gives a shocking realization of what kind of show you are getting into. The world is dark, scary, and full of horrors. The battles pull no punches when it comes to death and destruction. The world-building is superb with the mystery that comes with the magic and what it is capable of. The intrigue is top-notch with Kaiman and the curiosity of his reptilian form. The characters are well executed and the animation is reminiscent of some of the gritty anime of the past.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready for an action-packed mystery full of violence and terror.

You might not like it if: You are tired of the crushing grip of reality and want to escape with something simple and fun.

Similar Anime: Gangsta, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Konosuba, Deadman Wonderland, Devilman Crybaby, Assassination Classroom

Note to the Viewer: The Dorohedoro manga series is written and illustrated by Q Hayashida and ran from 2000-2018. It is compiled in 23 volumes.

Dorohedoro Opening – Welcome to Chaos by (K)Now_Name

(This opening song reminds me of the soundtrack from the Berserk series of the 90s, maybe that’s why I love it so much)

AMV – Castle by CRAIG

(Warning, the AMV is full of violence)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 297: Okko’s Inn / Wakaokami wa Shougakusei! Movie

Fragglepuss Anime Review 297: Okko’s Inn / Wakaokami wa Shougakusei! Movie

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural, Junior Innkeeper

First Released: September 2018, 94-minute film

Summary: A car crash takes Okko’s parents from her at a young age. She has no choice but to move in with her grandmother at her traditional Japanese inn, which is built on top of an ancient spring with healing waters. Okko begins to train as a junior innkeeper to potentially take over the inn after her grandmother is unable to. Along the way she discovers ghosts that inhabit the inn, ones that only she can see. The ghosts help Okko with the painful loss of her parents and the difficult transition from child to innkeeper.

Studio Ghibli alumnus Kitaro Kosaka, the supervising animation director for many Ghibli films, directs Okko’s Inn. The film begins with a gut punch of emotion then wobbles back and forth between sad and sweet. It toes the line of drama and comedy well, but finally settles on a more comedic and light-hearted feel. Had the director gone a different route with the tone of the film and focused more on Okko’s loss, I would have been weeping throughout the film. Instead, the film utilizes several likable characters to produce a good time with a slice of life film with a positive message.

You might enjoy this if: You like the idea of serving others as a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult issues in your life.

You might not like it if: You are tired of the “Supernatural Spirits Living in a Japanese Countryside Inn” genre.

Similar Anime: In This Corner of the World, Mirai, Modest Heroes, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Lu Over the Wall, Flavors of Youth

Note to the Viewer: The direct translation of the Japanese title is: “The Young Innkeeper Is a Grade Schooler!”. I prefer the short and sweet English title of “Okko’s Inn”.

Okko’s Inn Official Gkids Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 296: Null & Peta

Fragglepuss Anime Review 296: Null & Peta

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Robotic Frankenstein

First Aired: Fall 2019, 12 short-form episodes

Summary: Null is an inventor that has a sister named Peta. Peta dies in an accident and Null can’t stand losing her sister, so she makes “Peta Robo”, a robot with all the characteristics of her sister. Even though Null plans out everything, the new robot displays several personality differences than whaat her calculations intended.

Null & Peta is a simple anime with a complicated premise. It sounds confusing, but it is basically a show about a girl and her sister, which happens to be a robot. See, simple right? Each episode follows the sisters through their daily adventures. One day Peta is attempting to make breakfast, while another day has the two blasting off into space! This series is not anything groundbreaking and won’t be winning awards, but it is a cute anime with two loving characters that you can finish in less than an hour. To top it off, the opening is a lot of fun and has a lot of game parodies.

You might enjoy this if: You want a quick series to bust through between two other anime.

You might not like it if: You are not captivated after the first episode. If you have five minutes to spare, watch episode one. If you are not interested after that, you can start watching something else.

Similar Anime: Nichijou, Himouto Umaru-chan, Aggretsuko, Cells at Work, Azumanga Daioh, Plastic Nee San, Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, The Master of Killing Time, Survival Game Club, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Note to the Viewer: A Null & Peta video game was released on Steam in January 2020, just in case you’re interested.

AMV – Konnichiwa by Yukashi AMV

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 295: Ao-chan Can’t Study! / Midara no Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

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Ao-chan Can’t Study! / Midara no Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Ecchi, Slice of Life, School, Misunderstandings

First Aired: Spring 2019, 12 episodes

Summary: Ao Horie used to proudly proclaim her name in grade school, but upon learning the sensual nature of her name from her depraved father, she has worked tirelessly to change her image and cover up the first impressions that come with her unusual name. She only goes by Horie, tells no one her Ao name, studies endlessly, and works to ensure top grades in her class. Her end goal is to get into a good school, far away from her perverted father. By the way, her father is an esteemed erotic manga author, hence his dirty nature. The problem for Horie begins when her crush, Kijima, confesses that he likes her. From that point on, Horie is a mess of clumsiness and misunderstandings. She falls all over Kijima and shares way too much information. What a crazy situation!

Ao-chan Can’t Study is a lot to handle. There are constant cringe-worthy sexual mishaps between Horie and Kijima. One episode will have Kijima doing ridiculous things while another will have Horie blurting out the most inappropriate comments because of her nervousness around him. Horie’s father is completely absurd, from his tiny and comic-like appearance to his preposterous treatment of his daughter. The things he says to her are wildly inappropriate and should not be said under any circumstance.

You might enjoy this if: You are a depraved individual with some time to spare and no one else around to see what you are watching.

You might not like it if: You blush at the mere thought of inappropriate conversation.

Similar Anime: Magical Sempai, Akiba’s Trip: The Animation, How Clumsy You Are, Miss Ueno, Please Tell Me Galko-chan, Shimoneta, Seitokai Yakuindomo

Note to the Viewer: The Ao-chan Can’t Study manga is written by Ren Kawahara, their first original creation.

Ao-chan Can’t Study Dub Trailer

(Warning, the trailer is a clear indication of the inappropriate nature of the anime)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 294: K-On!

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K-On!

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Music, Slice of Life, Comedy, School, Band

First Aired: Spring 2009, 13 episodes

Summary: Yui Hirasawa is having a difficult time deciding which high school club to join. She stumbles across the Light Music Club, which three members will do anything to have her join, since they need at least four total students to keep the club from being disbanded. Yui reluctantly joins even though she does not play an instrument. She figures she can just mess around and slack off since the club only needs her there as an extra student to keep the club together. Little did Yui know she would fall in love with the club, pick up an instrument and change her life forever!

K-On is a simple and heartwarming slice of life anime about classmates bonding over their love of music. The series shines around the unique characters that keep you entertained. Yui is an airhead that must learn how to play an instrument, which requires a lot of discipline. Mio Akiyama is a shy girl that expresses herself through songwriting and being a vocalist. Ritsu Tainaka is the upbeat president of the club that is always brainstorming new ideas. Tsumugi Kotobuki is gentle and sweet. Despite being an excellent piano player, she has a near impossible time learning to play any other instrument. Azusa Nakano is a serious guitar player that has little interest in the extracurricular activities of the club. If she had her way, all they would do is practice. Overall, the music is great, the characters are fun, and the series is an easy watch.

You might enjoy this if: You hear the genres “Slice of Life” and “School” with anime and think, “That’s for me!”.

You might not like it if: You are one of the many that has grown weary of school-based anime. I don’t blame you, there has been plenty of them over the years.

Similar Anime: Amagi Brilliant Park, Lucky☆Star, Sound Euphonium, Azumanga Daioh, Free, Super Sonico the Animation, Clannad, Detroit Metal City, New Game

Note to the Viewer: The title of K-On comes from the Japanese word “keiongaku”, which means “popular music”. Bonus note: If you want more K-On, there is a spin-off manga titled K-On Shuffle that focuses on new girls at a new school.

K-On! Opening

 

AMV – 天使にふれたよ!by Sawako Yamanaka

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 293: Sarazanmai

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Sarazanmai

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural, Kappas

First Aired: Spring 2019, 11 episodes

Summary: Let’s start at the beginning:

Kappa are amphibious demons found in Japanese folklore. They look like a frog, but possess human-like characteristics and personalities. They have shrines dedicated to them since their mythology runs deep in Japan. They are a mischievous yokai, often accused of assaulting humans and removing a mythical organ called the “shirikodama” from the victim’s anus. Now that we have explained the background of the yokai, onto the anime…

Three middle school students: Kazuki, Toi, and Enta, accidentally break a kappa statue in Asakusa, which happens to be the guardian god of the entire district. This results in the three being transformed into kappas by the prince of the Kappa Kingdom. They must assist the Kappa prince, Keppi, in collecting Dishes of Hope that fulfill the wish of whomever possesses them. The Dishes of Hope are acquired by collecting the shirikodama (see above) from the intended individual. This is the description of the show, and it is exactly what it sounds like.

Even by anime standards, Sarazanmai is bizarre. I understand the cultural differences and everything that goes along with it, but Sarazanmai does not shy away from leaning into the strange yokai culture of Kappas. That being said, it is genuinely entertaining to watch an anime that leaves you astonished at the end of every episode. It is a fun watch with quality animation, great characters, and an enjoyable “monster-of-the-week” vibe.

You might enjoy this if: You have been watching anime for years and have become numb to the unusual nature of the medium. Maybe you want to feel something stir inside you like back in the old days, back when you would watch an anime and think about how different it is.

You might not like it if: You tend to watch anime while others are around and they already think it is strange enough without the crystal clear depiction of shirikodama being removed.

Similar Anime: Flip Flappers, FLCL, Cute High Earth Defense Club Love, Hoozuki no Reitetsu, Humanity has Declined, Noucome, Nichijou, Plastic Nee San

Note to the Viewer: As if the Sarazanmai anime wasn’t enough, the creators went all-in and created a “medley of strange” alongside the show. In addition to the manga, there are light novels, a dramatized Twitter account, a radio series, and even a stage play.

Sarazanmai Opening – Massara

 

Sarazanmai AMV by Michelle Matsuoka

(This AMV showcases the truly bizarre nature of this anime)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 292: Persona 5: The Animation

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Persona 5: The Animation

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Supernatural, Fantasy, Video Game

First Aired: Spring 2018, 28 episodes and some OVAs

Summary: Ren Amamiya is not the typical transfer student. He enters the Shujin Academy in Tokyo due to an incident that got him expelled from his previous school. He had to transfer schools and move in with a new guardian that will keep a watchful eye over him, ensuring he stays out of trouble. Trouble seems to follow Ren as he teams up with unlikely friends to battle corruption and distorted desire as the “Phantom Thieves”. It’s up to this group of fighters to change people’s heart and save our way of life.

As you can imagine, this Persona anime follows the story of the game of the same name. The animation is practically identical to the cut scenes in the game and the story progresses in nearly the same manner. It is a fun series to watch if you have completed the game and want a refresher of all those hours of hard work you went through. I watched it as a friend of mine was playing through the game, and it helped me remember the series of events so that I didn’t spoil anything for them.

You might enjoy this if: You played the Persona 5 video game and want to hear Ren finally say something. The anime is not like the game, in the series you actually hear his voice!

You might not like it if: You are familiar with the Persona universe and it is not your style.

Similar Anime: Durarara, Psycho-Pass, Death Note, Kill La Kill, Terror in Resonance, Baccano,

Note to the Viewer: Persona is a large franchise with many releases across several platforms. The original “Persona” was a video game titled “Revelations: Persona” for Playstation, released in 1996. Since then, Persona has been released as video games, anime, manga, novelizations, stage plays, radio dramas, and musical concerts.

Persona 5: The Animation Opening: Break In To Break Out

 

AMV – Nothing Ever Changes by [/NeverKnow\]AMV

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 291: The Place Promised in Our Early Days / Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho

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The Place Promised in Our Early Days / Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, Military, Romance, Sci-Fi, Towers

First Released: November 2004, 90-minute film

Summary: Set in an alternate history with the Soviet Union occupying half of Japan, Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa share two interests, an infatuation with a common classmate and an interest in the mysterious tower built by the Soviet Union. The two use their curiosity of the tower to focus on building an airplane that will reach the top of the tower. In the meantime their classmate, Sayuri Sawatari, goes missing. They find out years later that she has been comatose and is strangly linked to the mysterious tower.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days is the feature film debut of director Makoto Shinkai, famed director responsible for Your Name and Weathering With You. It is interesting to see the style of Shinkai shine through in his directorial feature film debut. All of the elements are there that continue to be shown for his future films, such as the use of a fantastical reality that exhibits a fusion of reality with fiction. Shinkai’s style also shows with the intense attention to background detail in the art. The scenes are beautifully animated and look like they are plucked from the real world. The soundtrack of Shinkai films always adds to the emotion and intensity of the story, and Early Days is no exception.

You might enjoy this if: You want to watch a character-driven story with a dash of fantasy.

You might not like it if: You prefer a story to be either grounded in reality or completely fiction without a trace of the real world.

Similar Anime: Other Shinkai works (5 Centimeters per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words, Your Name, Weathering With You)

Note to the Viewer: On September 12, 2001 an asteroid was named after Makoto Shinkai, the aptly named “55222 Makotoshinkai”.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days Trailer

 

Kimi no Koe (Your Voice) by Kawashima Ai from The Place Promised in Our Early Days

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 290: Kandagawa Jet Girls

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Kandagawa Jet Girls

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Sports, Ecchi, Jet Ski Race Battles

First Aired: Fall 2019, 12 episodes

Summary: Jet racing is a popular sport consisting of two girls riding a modified jet ski in a race battle royale, mono-e-mono. One of the girls is the driver, also known as the “Jetter”, while the other is the Shooter. The driver focuses on navigating the tight waterway while the shooter focuses on gunning down the opposing jet ski. Shots are limited and different parts of the watercraft are weaker than others, so each shot must be taken with the utmost concentration. Rin Namiki leaves her home in the countryside to move to Tokyo and become a Jetter like her mother before her. She teams up with the reluctant Misa Aoi to become an inexperienced an unlikely jet racing team!

Kandagawa Jet Girls wastes no time in showing its true colors. It is an anime that uses sports as an excuse to be as Ecchi as possible. The racing aspect is actually entertaining to watch, and the series provides all the usual sports anime staples, like the announcers that shamelessly explain the rules of the race to the uneducated fans and viewers. However, as intense as the races are, they are quick to bring you out of the moment with explicit moments of fan-service that are so obvious it’s laughable.  The best part of this anime has to be the characters. If you can get past the blatant fan-service, the characters are reminiscent of any other sports anime, where you sometimes end up rooting for both teams after you learn their back story.

You might enjoy this if: You watched Initial D and thought, “This would be great if there were more gratuitous panty shots”.

You might not like it if: You want a sports anime more along the lines of Haikyu, with all the heartfelt moments and none of the sexy stuff.

Similar Anime: Two Car, Initial D, Keijo!, Harakana Receive, Free, Food Wars, Ikki Tousen, Yuri! On Ice

Note to the Viewer: As you can imagine, there is a Kandagawa Jet Girls video game. It was released on January 16, 2020 for the Playstation 4. It is exactly what you think it is.

AMV – Best of Me by Rochinha.R

(Warning, there is a significant amount of scantily glad girls and fan service in the AMV. It’s pretty indicative of the series as a whole)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 289: Lu Over the Wall / Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta

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Lu Over the Wall / Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Adventure, Music, Supernatural, Fantasy, Water

First Released: May 2017, 117-minute film

Summary: Kai is a middle school kid living in Hinashi Town, a small fishing village. His father and grandfather want him to continue in the family business of umbrella making, but Kai has other intentions. Kai gets dragged to Merfolk island with two of his classmates because they are trying to force him to join their band, “SEIREN”. At the island Kai discovers Lu, a carefree mermaid girl that loves to dance! Everything changes as Kai befriends Lu and the two turn the village upside down.

Lu over the Wall is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, and his style is all over this film. If you have seen other Yuasa works, you will immediately notice the signature animation. The storytelling is also similar to other works, with the quick transitions in tone that seem dreamlike. When you watch the big dance scenes, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The overall story is all over the place at times, but comes together nicely at the climax of the film. The beautiful animation more than makes up for it and keeps the show interesting.

You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a kid-friendly Masaaki Yuasa anime. Lu Over the Wall is significantly more family-friendly than some of his other shows, like Mind Game and Devilman Crybaby.

You might not like it if: You are in the mood for a more traditional anime in terms of animation style and story.

Similar Anime: Other Yuasa works (Mind Game, Ping Pong: The Animation, Devilman Crybaby), Ponyo, Weathering With You, Mirai, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Your Name, Spirited Away

Note to the Viewer: Yuasa admitted influence from Hayao Miyazaki for Lu Over the Wall. The influence came from Miyazaki’s 2008 film, Ponyo.

Lu Over the Wall Official Trailer

 

AMV – Bad Liar by Vincze Lizett AMV

(Warning, the AMV contains some minor spoilers, but nothing too crazy)

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