Fragglepuss Anime Review 265: Junji Ito Collection

Junji Ito Collection

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Demons, Psychological, Supernatural, Drama, Thriller, School, Every Scary Thing Ever

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: The Junji Ito Collection is a horror anthology of manga artist Junji Ito. Each episode features two stories from the collected works of Ito. One episode will focus on a fashion model going on a photo shoot while another follows a family that is way into marionettes.

I realize it doesn’t sound scary from the description, but it’s precisely what makes Ito such an effective horror writer. He uses normal situations that don’t appear scary and distorts them to make an eerie and uncomfortable story. If you see a Dracula on screen, you have an idea of what it is going to do. You know to fear its behavior because you have been trained on Dracula behavior. Ito goes for the opposite by using situations and individuals that appear normal, people you are not typically afraid of. You get lulled into a sense of security and then the creepiness hits you, making it even more effective when you get scared. You think nothing is unusual about a next-door neighbor that you don’t see often, then Ito gets you again. The other thing Ito does that is different than the horror I am used to is the ending of most stories. In western horror the ending usually wraps up the story nicely with the bad guy either being killed or caught. The supernatural entity is figured out after learning pieces throughout the film. Ito’s stories almost never wrap up nicely. The supernatural entity is not figured out, so it’s still on the loose. The bad guy is not caught and is also on the loose. It makes the stories even more disturbing because there is not a solution to the problem.

The last bit of Ito I will mention is how the evil is never shown too much. If you are familiar with horror you know what I mean. When the evil is shown too much it makes it less scary. If you hardly ever see the evil, it leaves your brain to come up with what the evil is, and your brain always comes up with something scarier than the writer could come up with. Ito will show the evil just the right amount, either in little snippets or by having the evil be an everyday situation that you don’t see coming. Super scary.

You might enjoy this if: You are way into horror and want to take a dive into what freaks out Japan. If you enjoy this anime, you can check out Ito’s other work. He has countless manga collections of different stories. His story “Tomie”, about a beautiful woman that drives people insane, has been adapted into several films.

You might not like it if: You do not want to see the dark and terrifying side of anime.

Similar Anime: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, Kagewani, The World Yamizukan, Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, Another, Perfect Blue, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, From the New World, Death Parade

Note to the Viewer: Be warned the Junji Ito Collection is not for the faint of heart. It is a full-on horror anime with disturbing episodes. There is a lot of violence and overall gruesome content.

Junji Ito Collection Opening – Shichiten Battou no Blues by The Pinballs

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 264: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime / Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime / Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans and Breanne Evans

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fish out of Water, Monster

First Aired: Fall 2018, 24 episodes

Summary: Satoru Mikami is a 37-year-old human until he is killed by a robber. He wakes up and has been reincarnated as a slime named Rimaru Tempest in a mysterious fantasy world. He retains his knowledge and memories of life as a human but must learn how survive in this new world. He uses a newfound optimism to discover new abilities and make the best of his life as a slime!

This has to be the best slime anime of the year. The show gets right into it with the slime being confused about how he got there and why he’s a slime, but he rolls with it and starts learning the rules of the world and the rules of the slime. It cracks me up how he starts out so weak but with an unbridled optimism that propels him to become one of the most powerful slime there is. I don’t think I would be as ready to take on the world if I randomly woke up as slime one day. It’s fun to watch Rimaru discover his abilities and learn new ones as well. He meets countless characters on his travels, including dragons, direwolves, and goblins. It’s kind of freaky because I was watching the Goblin Slayer anime around the same time as the slime anime, and the goblins in the two series are wildly different. You would think goblins would be consistent across all mediums, but that is just not the case. I wonder what the Goblin Slayer would do if he came across the goblins in the slime anime. Surely he wouldn’t slaughter them all…Eh, who am I kidding, I’m sure he would. He is the Goblin Slayer after all.

You might enjoy this if: You feel a special bond with slime. Ever since you had a difficult time killing them in Dragon Warrior, you have felt a connection that remains unbroken to this day. Maybe you have a deep-down desire to one day be reincarnated as a slime with magical abilities, or maybe you just want to watch a fun fantasy anime.

You might not like it if: You have had enough of the Isekai genre of anime.

Similar Series: Overlord, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, Konosuba, No Game No Life, The Devil is a Part-Timer, Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-

Note to the Viewer: The light novel of Slime has been increasing in popularity ever since it was originally published in 2014.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Opening

 

AMV – Best of Me by Saknosuke AMVs

(Warning, the AMV contains minor spoilers)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 263: Baki

Baki

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Fighting, Martial Arts, Death Matches

First Aired: Summer 2018, 26 episodes

Summary: Baki Hanma is in constant training with the goal of surpassing his father in fighting skill. Obviously it is because his father is Yujiro Hanma, the strongest fighter in the world. Five fighters around the world are now traveling to find Baki. They are violent death row inmates that survived their execution and escaped prison. They have a singular goal, taste defeat. Their tremendous strength and victorious ways have caused them to become bored with life. As the inmates gather, Baki gets a group of his own to go head-to-head against them.

So much fighting! Baki the Grappler has been around since 1991 as a manga. It has been adapted a few times into anime. You can tell by the animation style and overall fighting intensity that it is a property from the 90s. It has the same feel as a lot of the other fighting anime that came out that decade. You have several intense fighters with an insane amount of muscle that want to brawl nonstop. Baki the Grappler takes it a step further, where a lot of the fighters WANT to lose because they are tired of winning, but they just can’t, they are too strong and skilled at martial arts. It must be a tough life to be so skilled. On another note, this series is so absurd at times that it’s hilarious. The characters are passionate 100% of the time about perfecting their craft, and their craft is punching other people in the face. It would be a stressful life to live like these guys. They never take a break.

You might enjoy this if: You are a fan of other 90s fighting anime.

You might not like it if: You are intimidated by insane amounts of muscle. These guys have muscles that don’t even exist on normal humans.

Similar Series: Fist of the North Star, Basilisk, Ninja Scroll, Megalo Box, Hajime no Ippo, Berserk

Note to the Viewer: If you fall in love with Baki you can find even more content through the Playstation 2 release Fighting Fury.

Baki Official Netflix Trailer

 

AMV – Legends Never Die by Kirin AMVs

(Warning, the AMV contains some spoilers and a lot of bloody action)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 262: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai / Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai / Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Psychological, Supernatural, Mystery, Romance, School, Groundhog Day?

First Aired: Fall 2018, 13 episodes

Summary: Mai Sakurajima is a teenage actress. Why is nobody noticing her as she walks through the high school library in a bunny outfit? That’s what Sakuta Azusagawa wonders as he watches the famous actress casually passing through the school, seemingly unnoticed. Mai and Sakuta learn of an unusual set of circumstances that have led to this point and caused Mai to become mostly forgotten by the general population. It is up to the two of them to figure out a solution before it is too late!

This Rascal series is difficult to explain because the title misleads and causes you to be generally confused as you start watching. The series is more than a random bunny girl walking around town. It is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a mystery. The series covers a few specific events that each pan out over a few episodes, each one more traumatic than the last. Over the course of the series several characters are introduced that play a pivotal role in Mai and Sakuta’s progression. The two protagonists start off as basic characters without much to define them, but by the end of the season they have gone through intense experiences to make them complex and hardened.

You might enjoy this if: You have time to commit to paying attention to an entire series. This isn’t one you can put on in the background while you look at your phone and do something else. If you do that, you will be lost by the end of the first episode.

You might not like it if: You see the picture of Mai in a bunny girl outfit and hope the entire series is a bunny cosplay fest.

Similar Anime: Charlotte, Your Name, The Girl who Leapt Through Time, Golden Time, Orange, Another, Re: Zero, Erased, ReLIFE, One Week Friends

Note to the Viewer: Rascal is animated by Studio CloverWorks, a new studio that has also animated: Darling in the FranXX, Persona 5: The Animation, DAKAICHI, The Promised Neverland, and Ace Attorney season 2. They are new but have been really going at it hard.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Opening

 

AMV – I’m Coming by Slayer AMV

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 261: Paranoia Agent / Mousou Dairinin

Paranoia Agent / Mousou Dairinin

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Mystery, Dementia, Drama, Police, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller, Lil’ Slugger

First Aired: Winter 2004, 13 episodes

Summary: Lil’ Slugger is terrorizing the residents of Musashino City. He strikes late at night when the victim is alone with no witnesses to verify the attack. None of the victims have an adequate description of the attacker. They all describe him as short, rollerblading, and wielding a crooked bat. Detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa are on the case. They need to find Lil’ Slugger before paranoia takes over the whole city.

Paranoia Agent is directed by Satoshi Kon, known for mind-bending films like Perfect Blue and Paprika. He also directed Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers. Kon’s wild side comes out in Paranoia Agent. The series is full of bizarre twists and turns. He always does a fantastic job of blending fantasy with reality, so you don’t know which is happening. You get in the character’s head. They are also unaware of where they reside at times, especially near the climax of the show. One of my favorite parts of a Kon work is the unease I feel as I question what’s reality and what’s fantasy. I always have the urge to rewatch a Kon-directed show after I understand what’s happening and why the characters have been acting a certain way. Paranoia Agent is no exception.

You might enjoy this if: You are a fan of Satoshi Kon’s other work.

You might not like it if: You hate mind-bending stories that blend fantasy and reality into a question of which is which.

Similar Shows: Paprika, Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Serial Experiments Lain, Tokyo Godfathers, Monster, FLCL, Death Note, Akira, ERASED, Dennou Coil, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Note to the Viewer: Kon had an abundance of ideas remaining after he completed Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers. Rather than try and make it into another movie, he made Paranoia Agent.

Paranoia Agent Opening

 

AMV – Fantasize by PepperPixel

(Warning, the AMV contains some minor spoilers)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 260: Modest Heroes / Chiisana Eiyuu: Kani to Tamago to Toumei Ningen

Modest Heroes / Chiisana Eiyuu: Kani to Tamago to Toumei Ningen

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Short Films

First Released: August 2018, three 18-minute short films

Summary: Modest Heroes consists of three short films by different Studio Ponoc directors. Kanini & Kanino is the first film, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Director of Mary and the Witch’s Flower, When Marnie Was There, The Secret World of Arrietty). The story follows two crab siblings and their father as they go on an adventure to find the lost members of their family. The second film is Life Ain’t Gonna Lose, directed by Yoshiyuke Momose (Long time Studio Ghibli animator). Shun has a severe egg allergy. It is up to him and his mother to ensure he doesn’t get exposed to egg and have a life-threatening reaction. The last film is Invisible, directed by Akihiko Yamashita (Long time character designer). It follows the lonely struggle of an invisible man.

Modest Heroes is a visual feast. Each of the three short films use a different artwork to portray their vision. The characters are beautifully drawn, and the backgrounds are breathtaking. It’s incredible how they are able to animate an invisible person. Each story is different in tone, but they all complement each other well to make a great show. I was impressed how they were able to grab my attention time after time, regardless of the story. One of the stories is simply about a boy with an allergy, yet it had me crying by the end!

You might enjoy this if: You are in the mood for a couple short stories that will have you laughing and crying.

You might not like it if: You want a full movie instead of a couple shorties.

Similar Shows: Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Flavors of Youth, Mirai, Fireworks, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, In This Corner of the World, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Your Name

Note to the Viewer: Modest Heroes was originally set to be four short films, the fourth being directed by Isao Takahata, who unfortunately passed away in April 2018. As a result, the film was limited to three segments.

Modest Heroes: Official Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 259: Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Music, Idol, Supernatural, Zombies

First Aired: Fall 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Sakura Minamoto is tragically killed in 2008 on her way to an idol group audition. She remembers nothing until she wakes up ten years later. She is alongside several other girls, and to her surprise, she and the others are all zombies! The crew has been brought back to life by manager Kotaro Tatsumi to become the world’s first zombie idol group! They’re going to have to follow their manager’s advice as they adapt to their new zombie idol lifestyle.

Of course this is an anime…There is no other medium where you would have such an insane concept. I’m sure glad they made this series because I finally know what a zombie idol group would look and sound like. It’s fun to watch the struggle the girls face as they learn to live like zombies. They can’t let anyone see their limbs fall off, that would be the worst! It’s amazing how far makeup has come, the group gets ready for a concert and you can’t even tell they are zombies. It’s like they are a regular idol group, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a zombie group if you ask me. No one asked me though, so I’ll let them do their thing.

You might enjoy this if: You are not a fan of idol anime but have been looking for an introduction to the genre…Or if you want to watch singing zombies…

You might not like it if: The concept seems too far-fetched. I’ll admit, it’s a lot to handle.

Similar Series: Highschool of the Dead, Backstreet Girls, Detroit Metal City, Rosario + Vampire, Date A Live

Note to the Viewer: Zombieland Saga is interesting because the manga did not come out before the anime. Both the anime and manga were released in October 2018.

Zombieland Saga Opening – Adabana Necromancy by Franchouchou

 

Zombieland Saga Rap Battle

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 258: Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Dementia, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Early Internet

First Aired: Summer 1998, 13 episodes

Summary: Lain Iwakura is an awkward 14-year-old trying to fit in at school. She has a few close friends at school, but besides that she is not close to many people due to her being an introvert. One day Lain and some of her classmates receive an email from their classmate Chisa Yomoda…even though Chisa had recently committed suicide. When Lain opens the email it leads her to the Wired, a virtual communication realm similar to the internet. Although she had previously been ignorant to technology, Lain becomes obsessed with the Wired and its capabilities. As she dives deeper into the digital realm strange occurrences become increasingly regular. She encounters cryptic messages that relate to the real world, strange men dressed in black suits begin to follow her, and the line between reality and cyberspace begin to blur.

Serial Experiments Lain was created during that sweet spot of the early internet when it was still basic with few functions. Society was unsure of how it would turn out but was concerned with what could happen. Lain shows a dark side that could have resulted in the wrong hands. I like watching sci-fi anime from this era because when it comes to the internet they always seem to get several parts right and Lain is no exception. The prediction of dependence on the internet and how much it affects the real world is spot on. The way individuals become addicted to the computer is also accurate. Lain is a quality anime with a lot of positives. The story is deep and meaningful, telling an existential tale with depth and substance. The animation is dark and drab, differing from the traditional anime style. The characters shine, especially Lain. As she progresses through the series she changes in an incredible way. That alone makes the show worth watching.

You might enjoy this if: You are prepared for a deep dive into what separates fantasy from reality.

You might not like it if: You despise the days of the early internet.

Similar Series: Perfect Blue, Paprika, Summer Wars, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell

Note to the Viewer: Serial Experiments Lain is unique in how it was initially created as an anime and later adapted into a manga. The majority of Japanese I.P. begins as a manga or light novel and is later adapted into an anime if it is popular enough, since creating manga is less expensive than producing anime.

Serial Experiments Lain Opening

 

AMV – I’m The Only Me, Right? by GallyG

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. I figure if you haven’t seen the show, you don’t know what’s getting spoiled anyways, right?)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 257: Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san / Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san / Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural, Slice of Life, Skeleton Bookseller

First Aired: Fall 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Join the skeleton Honda-san at the manga shop as he encounters unusual customers and circumstances on a daily basis. One day he is attempting to explain the Yaoi genre to an innocent fool while another day he is dealing with pesky foreigners that only speak English!

Honda-san is the best skeleton bookseller I’ve ever seen! It’s great, the author (Honda) worked in an actual manga shop and the series is full of common real-life situations he encountered. The animation is simple, and the episodes are short with little continuity between them, but the series shines with its situational comedy and the reactions of Honda-san as he is forced to deal with unusual situations. He is an easygoing skeleton that works in a fast-paced manga shop with a lot of particular customers, and he has to stay on his toes to keep the customers happy, no matter how bizarre their request.

You might enjoy this if: You live in or have visited Japan and are familiar with manga shops. You will also enjoy it if you are passionate about Japanese culture and want to learn more.

You might not like it if: You demand your Slice of Life anime to be strictly based in reality. Honda-san is a legit skeleton, and everyone seems to accept it without asking any questions. I say it adds to the quirky charm of the series, but I can see how some sticklers would be bothered by it.

Similar Series: Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou, Aggretsuko, www.working, Nichijou, Cells at Work, Himouto Umaru-chan

Note to the Viewer: The Skull-Face manga has been serialized online via “Pixiv Comic” since August 2015 and has been collected in three volumes so far.

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san Opening

 

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san Ending

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 256: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls / Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls / Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural, Nine-Person Promise

First Aired: July 2013, 4 episodes

Summary: Nine students are gathered at their high school in the middle of the night to bid farewell to their friend through a ritualistic promise. The intent of the promise is to remain close with one another. Unfortunately for the students, the charms they use are connected to an elementary school that was destroyed after a series of gruesome murders took place. The elementary school of the murders was Tenjin Elementary School, and the new high school was built on the foundation of the old school!

The cursed charms transport the nine to an alternate dimension, leaving them confused and fighting for their lives in the strange world. It is up to them to work together to stay alive and escape this cursed school!

Corpse Party tells you all about its intent in the title. It’s clear from the onset that not everybody is going to survive. As the series unravels you get insight into the students past, present, and future. It is interesting to watch as the students show their true colors under intense pressure in the nightmarish conditions. The art and animation are commendable and successful in portraying the horror genre. I was freaked out a lot of the time while watching this series and a lot of that had to do with the animation and soundtrack (or lack thereof at times). The story leaves something to be desired, but the intent of the series is to show its characters true personalities and mental limits, and in that it succeeds. The secondary intent has got to be hyperviolence, and in that it also succeeds.

You might enjoy this if: You want to see what happens when individuals are transferred to another dimension and pushed to their physical and mental limits.

You might not like it if: You don’t watch a lot of shows with the violence. Corpse Party is easily one of the most gruesome shows you will ever watch, so avoid it if you are sensitive to that kind of thinf.

Similar Series: Elfen Lied, Hellsing, Ninja Scroll, Another, Deadman Wonderland, Death Parade, King’s Game the Animation, The Lost Village,

Note to the Viewer: The Corpse Party anime is based on a survival horror video game of the same name.

Corpse Party Opening – Hoshikuzu no Ring

 

Corpse Party Ending Song – Firefly

(The opening and ending are classic in their “horror anime style”. The opening is super scary and intense to make you scared while the ending is real calm and relaxed to soothe you after a scary episode)

 

AMV – Hide and Seek by Dearth Impact

(This AMV does a good job of showing the violence and intensity of Corpse Party without being too gruesome or giving away spoilers)

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