Fragglepuss Anime Review 228: Recovery of an MMO Junkie / Net-juu no Susume

Recovery of an MMO Junkie / Net-juu no Susume

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Game, MMO, Reality vs. Fantasy

First Aired: Fall 2017, 10 episodes

Summary: Moriko Morioka has quit her long-time job and is looking for a change. As it currently stands she is a 30-year-old NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Morioka finds a new home in the online world as the male hero “Hayashi” in the MMO Fruits de Mer. She becomes obsessed with the game and her new friend, the female hero Lily. The two travel together as Lily helps her become accustomed to the game and assist with the learning curve that Hayashi is having a difficult time with. Morioka increasingly becomes a recluse until she bumps into Yuuta Sakurai at the convenience store. A chance meeting…or is it?

Recovery of an MMO Junkie is a highly character-driven series. Within single characters are multiple characters. Where some MMO series focus solely on the in-game character or real-life individual, Recovery shows both sides. You get acquainted with both Moriko and Hayashi, Lily and Yuuta. It was interesting to see the development of both the male and female side of Moriko and Hayashi.

You might enjoy this if: You have ever dreamed of taking a hard break on reality and sliding into the void of the virtual world, a magical fantasy realm with no responsibilities.

You might not like it if: You don’t want to see the aftermath of what might actually happen if you choose to take a hard break on reality.

Similar Series: Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, Re: Zero, Konosuba, Fuuka, Gabriel DropOut

Note to the Viewer: Recovery of an MMO Junkie began as a webtoon on the Comico app. As of now there are only two manga volumes.

AMV – I Do Adore by Burnt Waffle

 

Recovery of an MMO Junkie Opening

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 227: Aggretsuko (2018 On Netflix)

Aggretsuko (2018 On Netflix)

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Music, Comedy, Office Life, Death Metal

First Aired: Spring 2018, 10 episodes

Summary: Retsuko is a 25-year-old red panda working as a professional in the accounting department of a Japanese trading firm. Work life is difficult for Retsuko as she has to manage the stress that accompanies her traditional office job. She’s one of the most diligent and hardworking at the office, but she is also one of the newest employees so she has to deal with senior co-workers giving her an unfair workload and talking down to her. Her boss is a real pig (literally and figuratively), so she has to deal with misogynistic remarks from him. Her accounting team sees her hardworking attitude and gives their work to her. All Retsuko’s frustrations build up until after work where she destresses by singing death metal karaoke about her co-workers and their idiocy.

Aggretsuko speaks to me on so many levels. I related in one way or another to the office situations in practically every episode, whether it’s people pawning off work or personal information traveling around the office way too fast. Even the opening scene was familiar. Retsuko is leaving her apartment and checks to make sure she has her phone, wallet, and train pass. While I personally don’t check for the train pass, I always consciously check for my wallet, phone, and car keys before I leave. It was also enjoyable to get an inside look on Japanese compared to American office life. For example, one day Retsuko shows up to work in her house slippers and she is mortified her co-workers will notice.

Despite Aggretsuko being filled with anthropomorphic characters and simple animation, the series relatable and enjoyable. Retsuko deals with her fair share of problems and is treated substandard a lot of the time. She keeps relatively quiet at work and releases her frustration through karaoke. It’s easy to judge her and think she should just speak up, but how many times have the rest of us been in a similar situation? Retsuko’s problems are not unique and can happen to any of us. It was refreshing to see Retsuko’s development throughout the series. Despite it being only ten episodes and each episode being 15 minutes, Retsuko grows a lot from beginning to end.

You might enjoy this if: You have ever worked in an office or had a pesky co-worker.

You might not like it if: You want an anime that’s traditionally animated.

Similar Series: Neko Ramen, Detroit Metal City, Bananya, BAR Kiraware Yasai, Lovely Muuuuuuuco, WWW.Wagnaria

Note to the Viewer: Aggretsuko is directed and written by Rarecho. As if that wasn’t enough, Rarecho also voices Retsuko when she is singing death metal karaoke!

AMV – Work by Miraculous Ladybug

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 226: Sword Gai: The Animation

Sword Gai: The Animation

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Supernatural, Sword Possession

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Throughout eternity humans have shared a bond with weapons, being drawn to them as long as history can remember. Within the span of eternity, some weapons have come to possess a life. Under certain circumstances the weapons are able to merge with their user, becoming one. With that in mind, a woman dies under mysterious circumstances in the forest, leaving behind a brand-new baby boy. The swordsmith Amon finds the boy and takes him in. Fast forward ten years and the boy named Gai has become Amon’s apprentice. Gai loses an arm in an unfortunate smelting accident and Amon decides to use the demonic sword “Shiryuu” to fashion an artificial arm for him. It’s obvious there are going to be consequences for such careless blacksmithing.

Sword Gai plays on the “powerful character” trope in a lot of ways by means of sword possession. The story is ambitious, perhaps too much so given the short 12-episode run. The characters are fine, the animation is fine, and the sound is fine. In the end I don’t have much to say about Sword Gai because it felt average in most ways. The ideas were promising but didn’t deliver like I hoped. I was six episodes in and felt like nothing had really happened in the series up to that point. I continued on, and it was fine, just not my favorite.

You might enjoy this if: You are into powerful characters going toe-to-toe with each other with sword possession being involved.

You might not like it if: You are a purist when it comes to swordplay, demanding it be set in a classic medieval or samurai setting.

Similar Series: Ajin, Akame ga Kill, Charlotte, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Parasyte, The Seven Deadly Sins

Note to the Viewer: I have good news if you can’t get enough Sword Gai. Netflix has picked the series up for another season, set to air this summer!

Sword Gai the Animation Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime-esque Review 1: Lady Death

Lady Death

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Fantasy, Horror, Hell

First Released: October 2004, 76-minute film

*Disclaimer: I know Lady Death is not a Japanese-released anime film, it is an American animated release. However, it was produced by A.D. Vision, an anime distributor. It has anime-influenced animation. I watched it on Crunchyroll and wanted to write about it. That’s why I’ve titled this review “anime-esque”. *

Summary: We begin our story in 15th century Sweden. Hope is the innocent daughter of Matthias. Turns out Matthias is Lucifer. The townspeople are idiots and blame Hope of doing the devil’s work even though she’s innocent and it’s her father that’s committing all the evil deeds. The town priest orders Hope to be burned at the stake. Matthias, aka Lucifer, offers Hope a deal as she is burning on the stake in a graphic and horrific manner. Being that she is in excruciating pain, she agrees to Lucifer’s deal. Turns out the devil is in the details…

The film Lady Death is as graphic and sexualized as they come. Despite the character Lady Death being a ruthless bad ass with wicked combat skills and no remorse, she wears the absolute minimum during battle. It’s basically a bra and panties. I mean come on, do you really think you’re gonna overthrow Lucifer when a stray arrow could pierce your exposed tummy so easily? The animation and content remind me of shows like Heavy Metal, unapologetically sexualized. If you can get past that, the adventure is fairly solid. Lady Death trains and travels on a vengeance tour, having to accrue an army, a weapon, and a magnificent steed worthy of her. Once she has all the pieces in place, it’s time to challenge the king of Hell!

You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a quick adventure that will attempt to take down Lucifer, the Lord of Lies himself!

You might not like it if: Sexualized warriors mixed with scary demons and hellfire sounds too intense for your liking.

Similar Series: Basilisk, Berserk, Castlevania, Ninja Scroll, Fist of the North Star

Note to the Viewer: Lady Death was the animation project produced by A.D. Vision, which shut its doors in 2009.

Lady Death Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 225: Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Christmas Movie

First Released: August 2003, 92-minute film

Summary: Three homeless individuals have banded together, roaming the streets of Tokyo with little regard for responsibility or the future. Hana is a kind transwoman, Miyuki is a runaway teenager, and Gin has a troubled past he would prefer to forget. It’s Christmas Eve and they find a newborn baby in a waste pile as they’re searching it for a Christmas present. Despite their situation, they decide to take the baby and embark on a search for the mother. The detective work begins as the three search for clues in the baby’s belongings. The search takes them on a long journey to places they never expected, especially as they begin to discover more about their purpose in life.

Tokyo Godfathers is the third film directed by Satoshi Kon, which was preceded by Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress. He continued on to direct Paprika. I have enjoyed all Kon’s films, whether they are a cerebral mindbend like Paprika or more grounded like Tokyo Godfathers. The story is full of coincidences and character bonds. Hana, Miyuki, and Gin share a strong bond because of the difficulties they have shared, but several small bonds come into the picture as the three are searching for the baby’s mother and have to meet with old friends and acquaintances. The story does a good job balancing the difficulties of life with the small blessings and comedy of everyday life. The godfathers are complex characters that develop as the film progresses and they discover more about themselves and what needs to be done to improve their lives. The animation was gorgeous, the voice acting was well done, and I was entertained from start to finish due to the proper pacing.

You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a new favorite Christmas movie!

You might not like it if: You have the mindset that anime needs to be strange and off the wall.

Similar Series: Tekkonkinkreet, Wolf Children, Usagi Drop, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Millennium Actress

Note to the Viewer: Satoshi Kon was working on his next film, Dreaming Machine, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He did not finish the film before passing away in 2010. The film will hopefully be completed and released in the future, but Masao Maruyama is hesitant on completing it because it would not be Kon’s finished work.

AMV – Fiat Lux by Tsunderbird Studios/PieandBeer

(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 224: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Assassin

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Fukuoka is a city that appears peaceful on the surface but is everything except that when you look to the underworld. In Hakata ward there are individuals that form groups of professional killers, detectives, informants, and professional revenge seekers. In case that’s not enough, an individual known as the “killer of professional killers” has shown up to raise hell in the city.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is draws on many of its predecessors to create a unique blend of a show. The ensemble cast of characters coming from various groups and parts of the city reminds me of shows like Durarara and Baccano. It is also based on a real Japanese location like Durarara. The high volume of individuals in the series reminds me of Game of Thrones while the hitman-style underworld reminds me of John Wick. I enjoyed a lot about this series, from the story to the animation to the variety of characters. Both the opening and ending theme were wonderful as well. The opening is Stray by Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets. The ending is Dirty Bullet by TRI4TH, which reminds me of the shows previously mentioned.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to sit down and pay full attention to a series. This isn’t one that you can pay half attention and still understand what’s happening. You will be lost. Trust me, I know from experience.

You might not like it if: You don’t want to have to worry about getting to know a whole plethora of characters.

Similar Series: Durarara, Baccano, Black Lagoon, Gangsta, Cowboy Bebop

Note to the Viewer: Despite being a series focused on hitmen and assassins, the violence in Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is not as extreme or gratuitous as it could be.

AMV – Believer by Murasaki AMVs

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 223: CITRUS

CITRUS

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Yuzu Aihara transfers to a new school with high expectations. She’s a social high schooler with a sense for fashion. She’s transferring because her mother remarried and they are moving in with her new husband. Even though it’s a new and unfamiliar environment, Yuzu is up to the challenge of making new friends and starting anew. Unfortunately, Yuzu’s new year will be spent at a strict all-girls school. She was hoping to meet new guys and date around, but not anymore! Instead, her first day consists of her getting in trouble for breaking the rules and getting in a fight with Mei, the student council president who turns out to be her new stepsister! What’s going to happen next, especially when the tension between the two continues to build…

Citrus is an interesting anime. I waffled on whether I liked it or not throughout the entire season. On one side the yuri aspect is a bit much at times. It’s bizarre because the intro slaps you in the face with yuri, implying that the series is nothing but kissing. However, there more to Citrus than that because on the other side, there are unique characters that develop as the season progresses and the various relationships between characters is fun to watch. The story in primarily character driven, with new individuals being introduced all season long. The contrasting personalities of Yuzu and Mei is reminiscent of other shows but is clearly different due to the added tension between the two.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready for an unconventional and unpredictable love story.

You might not like it if: You are too uncomfortable with the idea.

Similar Series: Sakura Trick, Yuri on Ice, Your Name, Re: Zero, Konosuba

Note to the Viewer: Citrus has appeared five times on The New York Times best seller list for manga.

Citrus Official Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 222: How to Keep a Mummy / Miira no Kaikata

How to Keep a Mummy / Miira no Kaikata

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural, Mummies

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: High Schooler Sora Kashiwagi is an exceptionally ordinary student despite his adventurous father, who travels the world sending bizarre gifts back to Sora. The gifts appear harmless at first sight but always end up tricking poor Sora, who has to deal with the consequences of his father’s reckless behavior. The series begins with Kashiwagi receiving an oversized package containing the most adorable little mummy!

How to Keep a Mummy is the most adorable anime I’ve watched in quite a while. The little guy is so sweet and always wanting to help, whether it’s chopping vegetables or wetting a washcloth to place on someone’s forehead. He can’t speak but is able to convey his emotion so well that you don’t even notice. You must work to gain his trust, but once you have it you’re in. The animation is nothing special and the soundtrack is average, but where the show shines is in the characters, from the mummy to Kashiwagi and company.

You might enjoy this if: You have always wanted a tiny sidekick that you can put in your pocket and take with you wherever you go.

You might not like it if: You’re a mummy traditionalist with the opinion that mummies should be full-size and scary.

Similar Series: The Boy and the Beast, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Lovely Muuuuuuuco, Neko Ramen, Princess Jellyfish

Note to the Viewer: How to Keep a Mummy has been serialized online as a manga since 2014 via Comico Japan. Four manga volumes have been published.

AMV – Good Time by Eveless Forever

 

How to Keep a Mummy – Official Preview

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 221: Descending Stories / Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Descending Stories / Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Historical, Drama, Rakugo

First Aired: Winter 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: Yotarou is an ex-convict, fresh out of prison, on the search for a rakugo master to take him as an apprentice. He finds master Yakumo, who is hesitant to take him on. Yotarou’s persistence pays off as Yakumo accepts him and teaches him the ways of rakugo. The series follows these two and those around them as they tell stories about their past as well as classic rakugo tales.

Descending Stories will teach you the art and form of rakugo, which is a classic form of Japanese entertainment where a lone storyteller sits on a stage and tells their tale. The only props they are allowed to possess are a paper fan and a small cloth. The rakugo artist depicts a long and complicated story which often has more than one character. The difference between characters is depicted through the artist’s pitch, tone, and turn of the head. I was not familiar with rakugo before watching the series and it taught me a lot. The episodes contain rakugo artists telling full stories which sometimes last almost half an episode. It’s easy to see how the show is trying to teach the art of rakugo, not dramatize it and make it something it’s not.

You might enjoy this if: You love Japanese culture and are always looking to learn more about it.

You might not like it if: You want to watch something with a faster pace. The episodes will move by at a snail’s pace if you’re expecting a lot of action or jokes.

Similar Series: Your Lie in April, Mushishi, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Millennium Actress, Miss Hokusai

Note to the Viewer: The manga series was published from 2010 – 2016 and is compiled in ten volumes. Also, if you’re interested in rakugo and are visiting Japan, there are still places you can attend a performance. There are even some izakaya (Japanese Pubs) that host rakugo performances.

Descending Stories Opening

 

AMV – Art is Not Dead by Marcelo

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 220: In This Corner of the World / Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni Plus the Four-Year Anniversary of Fragglepuss.com!

It’s The Four-Year Anniversary of Fragglepuss.com!

Before I get into the anime review I just wanted to throw out a few thanks. I’ve been posting anime reviews for four years now and I wouldn’t still be doing it without the support of so many people. Thanks to everyone that’s read the reviews, even if it’s only been a single one. Part of the reason I started reviewing anime was to give suggestions on what to watch based on what you enjoy. If a single person has watched an anime based on one of my reviews, I’m happy.

Thanks to my fellow Anime Happy Hour podcasters and panel crew: Breanne Evans, Lindsay Starke, Brittany Evans, and Alec Unsicker. Not only do they give me hot tips on quality anime to watch, but they are so fun to chat anime with and keep my interest piqued on everything geeky.

An extra special thanks to Breanne, who has always been so supportive in all I do and always pushes me to do the things I love.

One last shout-out goes to the members of the SLC Anime group. We’ve been meeting up and chatting anime for almost four years now. I’ve watched several anime that I would not watch otherwise due to suggestions from the group. I wouldn’t have watched Madoka Magica if not for the group, and now it’s one of my favorite anime.

Here’s to another year of reviewing anime!

 

In This Corner of the World / Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Historical, Drama, Soul Crushing

First Released: November 2016, 126-minute film

Summary: Suzu Urano is an innocent and loving child growing up in 1930s Hiroshima. She loves drawing more than anything. We follow as she grows up and moves to the small town of Kure, marrying Shuusaku Houjou. Suzu lives with Houjou and his family as the 1940s dawn on them and Japan is at war. Life becomes increasingly difficult for Suzu and her new family. They are simply attempting to survive as rations lessen and air raids increase. In 1945 intense bombings reach Kure with devastating consequences for Suzu and family, forever changing their lives. Suzu survives through an impossible situation that would have destroyed others beyond repair.

In This Corner of the World is a homework movie, meaning it’s one you need to watch once in your life. The message is beautifully told and makes you feel for the people that were involved, but it’s difficult to watch because it’s so real. The content is heavy and cruel while accurately portraying the horrific events that occurred during World War II. The scenes in the film are based on old photos, documents, and memories of living people that experienced the bombing in Hiroshima. The story is emotional in the way you watch Suzu grow up from a small child to getting married and moving away. The bulk of the story is in 1944 and 1945, but the film begins before and ends after that time.

The film is beautifully animated, with nature and traditional culture being contrasted with cruel and horrid war. Green fields are turned into burnt bombing grounds and houses are reduced to rubble. The artwork is mainly hand-drawn, with limited CGI with the background of some battle sequences. The characters also bring out contrasting sides of the film and show the way war affects people. Suzu remains incredibly positive, especially considering the circumstances, while others become distraught or downright angry at the situation.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to watch World War II from the perspective of a Japanese civilian that is just trying to survive. The film gives a moving message about persevering in an impossible situation when there’s little you can do. It’s not a war film, it’s focused on being a story about everyday life struggles. It just happens to be set during wartime, when the struggles are the most intense.

You might not like it if: You are not emotionally ready for this type of film. It rightfully has a significant amount of sadness and heartache. You’ll be shedding tears by the end and should be in an emotionally ready place to do so.

Similar Series: Grave of the Fireflies, The Wind Rises, Miss Hokusai, Giovanni’s Island, Your Name, Millennium Actress

Note to the Viewer: In This Corner of the World won the Best Animation Award at the Japan Academy Awards in addition to countless other accolades.

In This Corner of the World Trailer

 

AMV – What About Us by Lust Music Videos

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. Watch the film before the AMV)

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