Anime Review: Jujutsu Kaisen

Details: Currently ongoing. More information can be found at https://myanimelist.net/anime/40748/Jujutsu_Kaisen_TV

Score: 7/10

One of the most important things for a successful shounen anime is that the fight scenes are animated well. Jujutsu Kaisen does exactly that. Jujutsu Kaisen is your stereotypical shounen anime whose story is kind of a mashup of Naruto and Bleach (at least the first story arc in Bleach).

Jujutsu Kaisen takes place in present day Japan. A high school student’s encounter with the supernatural leads him to join a world filled with curses, sorcerers and monsters. He must now enter this world, train and become more powerful in order to fight supernatural bad guys.

The story is a very generic shounen story, to the extent that the first few story arcs are copy and pastes of story arcs from other popular shounen anime. Some examples of this redundant story telling is that the protagonist has a demon inside him (like in Naruto), all the characters are part of a school for other students with super powers (like Naruto, My Hero Academia, etc.) and the protagonist goes through a training arc where they explain how powers work in this world. It’s very uninspired and repetitive for the shounen genre.

However, fans of shounen don’t become fans just for a unique story, they want to see impressively animated fight scenes and this anime delivers on that. There’s only fourteen episodes at the time this review was written, but we’ve already gotten a few well done fight scenes. It’s one of those situations where there’s an obvious jump in animation quality when a plot relevant fight scene shows up. Animation is more fluid and more details and frames are noticeably added in.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen is average in terms of story, but I’d still recommend it for the fight scenes. If you like shounen anime Naruto, Bleach, or My Hero Academia, you will likely enjoy Jujutsu Kaisen. It’s one of the most popular shounen anime to come out in the past year.

Manga Review: Slave of the Magic Capital’s Elite Troops

Details: Currently ongoing. Also known as Mato Seihei no Slave and 魔都精兵のスレイブ. More information can be found at https://myanimelist.net/manga/116880/Mato_Seihei_no_Slave

Score: 6.8/10

When I heard the maker of Akame Ga Kill!, a shounen (genre meant for younger audiences, like Naruto, Dragon Ball, etc.) story about revenge, was making a new series, I was intrigued and decided to give this new story a shot. What I found was… porn. Well, this isn’t exactly porn. If we’re going to be technical, this is “ecchi.” Where hentai is straight up porn; seinen is usually a mix of a decent story with sex and gore; ecchi is generally a shounen story with nudity and some lewd behavior, but nothing too explicit. Slave of the Magic Capital’s Elite Troops is 60% perverted stuff/nudity, 40% okay shounen story.

The story takes place in modern day Japan. Rifts have opened up, allowing access to a dimension of monsters. Inside these dimensions, there are fruits that give women special powers, but only women. As a result, men have become second class citizens while women have become super powered soldiers that protect society. Our protagonist is a high school boy who gets attacked by monsters from rift. When a super powered woman shows up to save him. The two are quickly overwhelmed, until the woman activates her power, which is to grant great fighting power to a “slave” in exchange for a favor. So our protagonist becomes her slave and the two team up to fight the forces of evil! Also worth mentioning is that the favor our protagonist demands is always sexual. This is ecchi after all.

As said above, the entire story is based around sexual/perverted stuff. The core concept of the story, which is that the protagonist is the slave of the superpowered woman, is kind of bondage-y. If you’re into that sort of thing, there a lot of that subjugation fetish going on. There’s also a ton of nudity. Almost all the characters have big breasts and thicc thighs, but there is no sex. This really dances the line between ecchi and seinen, which matters because I think there are a laws regarding who may and may not purchase/sell/display books based on the classification. I’m not sure though.

Aside from the perverted bits, this is a decent shounen story. The action is surprisingly good. You have all the genre tropes such as power rankings, training arcs, fight scenes, etc.

Overall, this was one of the more perverted stories I’ve read in a while. I was expecting something more revenge driven, like Akame ga Kill! What I got was a story from an aspiring hentai artist.

Manga Review: Fairy Tail: 100 Year Quest

Details: The video above is the second opening for the Fairy Tail anime. This is a review for the second manga series. This series is currently ongoing. More information can be found at https://kodanshacomics.com/series/fairy-tail-100-years-quest/

Score: 6/10

Fairy Tail was a mundane shounen comic known mostly for its fan service. There were lots of curvy, scantily clad characters whose clothes were constantly being blown away. Other than that, fights were usually won through the power of friendship, which is a common shounen genre trope.

Fairy Tail: 100 Year Quest is a sequel to the first series. It’s just a continuation and offers nothing new or all that different. It also adopts all the same flaws as the original series.

The jokes are all the same. There’s still a lot of fan service, so if you liked that, then you’ll enjoy that here. The villains are all crap and aren’t built up properly. The fights are also not set up well and don’t offer any kind of emotional pay off. This is a generic shounen manga through and through.

The art is the same as in the prior series.

Overall, this is just a boring manga. If you liked the old Fairy Tail series, you’ll enjoy this. If you didn’t, you won’t like this. Personally, I just found this really boring. It sits somewhere at the same level as Black Clover, another shounen manga series I find boring and mundane.

Manga Review: Burn the Witch

The above trailer is for the movie. This is a review for the manga.

Details: What started with a one shot turned into an additional four issue miniseries. More information can be found at https://mangaplus.shueisha.co.jp/titles/100113

Score: 7/10

Tite Kubo, the creator of Bleach, one of the most popular anime in the last twenty years, is back with another series. It started off as a few issues to promote the movie, but it seems that rumors are circulating that Kubo will turn this into a full fledged series. Whether he does so or not, this post will review just the five issues that have been released so far.

Burn the Witch actually takes place in the same fictional universe as Bleach, though that is where the connections mostly end. The story takes place in London. For hundreds of years, dragons have plagued the land and a society of humans possessing magic have risen to combat and control the dragon population. Our protagonists are two young ladies who are part of this organization that regulates dragons and we follow their adventures in this new, magical world.

The first thing you notice is the art style. That Bleach art style is back in full swing. If there’s anything Kubo excels at it is character design. This guy would be a very talented streetwear designer if he wanted to. There a lot of very aesthetically pleasing, yet contemporary styles going on here and they help make the characters visually distinct.

The story itself isn’t amazing, but it’s not bad either. I think the story is just a vehicle to digest the visuals. Moreover, this comic was likely meant as a promo for the movie, which is the main course of this new franchise. The comic was meant to just give you a taste of this world and to let the animation of the movie fully flesh it out. We’ll see.

Overall, this was too short of a comic to really form any strong opinions about. It was nice to see Kubo’s art style some more and I am looking forward to more issues as well as the movie. At the very least, you should give this a read just to digest a little snack of the art style Kubo is so well known for.

Anime Review: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season

Details: More information can be found at https://www.swordart-onlineusa.com/ and https://myanimelist.net/anime/40540/Sword_Art_Online__Alicization_-_War_of_Underworld_2nd_Season

Score: 5.8/10

I am so glad this season and story arc are over because it has gone so far off the rails of what is believable. I mean, none of it was that believable. This is fiction. But one hopes that a fictional story can stick to the rules of the universe it has created or tell a proper story with a proper build up, climax and payoff. This season failed to do any of that and still somehow managed to lean into all the shounen and Sword Art Online tropes that made me cringe in the past.

Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season is the second part of the most recent third season. What they’ve been doing recently in anime is that they divide up the seasons into two parts. Personally, I like that they do this because the quality of the shows has gone up tremendously ever since they started doing this. It feels like this helps the creators focus their efforts into higher quality shows by lowering the number of episodes which require their attention at a time. I guess its more manageable.

In any case, we pick right where we left off. Kirito’s crew, video game players from Japan and the artificial intelligence army he’s leading are fighting against the combined might of mercenaries who’ve invaded the virtual world and all the online video game players in the entire world. This all takes place in a virtual fantasy world by the way. Kirito is still catatonic and the only hope anyone has is for him to wake up and beat all the bad guys by himself.

As you can tell from reading the above synopsis, the story is pretty damn dumb. This is probably the worst written season of all the seasons. The pacing is horrendous. The concepts are cliche and not set up well. Watching this felt like watching the final season of Game of Thrones or the Star Wars prequels. It was just immensely disjointed and felt awkward throughout.

Making things worse was how they leaned into the classic shounen and Sword Art Online tropes. One such trope is how all the female characters are in love with Kirito. Another particularly horrific trope is that there is always a pseudo rape scene in every single season of Sword Art Online. There are also often tentacles present. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, kind of grotesque and just reflects badly on not only anime, but Japanese culture as something like this is permitted to be broadcast on Japanese television. Considering this is shounen, which is meant to target younger audiences, I wish they would lay off the rape-iness a little. It’s really weird.

The animation also isn’t amazing. It’s just very stiff and stutter-y. Even certain fight scenes where they clearly put more effort into the animation quality felt awkwardly animated and not fluid. I have no idea what went on behind the scenes, but something was lost in the creative process.

Overall, this season was a disappointment. I’ve read a lot of comments hating on Sword Art Online, but I still mostly enjoyed it up until now. This season changed that. The quality of the story fell off a cliff. My only relief from this disappointment is that this season may be the last season of Sword Art Online sequentially. That means no more stories that take place after this point in the story. There will be a new Sword Art Online anime coming out in the future, but that will be a prequel supposedly starring Asuna.