Today’s Tub Manga: Aoharu x Machinegun (volume 5)

I think I have a soft spot for manga/anime about survival games because they remind me a little of my paintball days. However, like my paintball days, I tend to lose interest. I love the premise of Aoharu x Machinegun and really enjoyed the anime but did lapse in reading the manga…

However, volume five went by in a flash. We’re about to enter the Haru-Haruki arc which is a bit convoluted but for now, Hotaru is being her relatively simple-minded self and plugging along. The whole “oh no, I’m a girl!” issue is kind of brushed aside early-to-mid volume and I realized at some point that, perhaps because I’ve read so much BL, I don’t really register Hotaru as a girl. It’s no longer an important plot point.

It is the original plot point, though, so it gets resurrected in the final pages of this volume.

Today’s Tub Manga: The World’s Greatest First Love (volume 7)

If you’ve come this far in the series, you likely know the pattern and what to expect. Takano is cool, Ritsu is neurotic; Ritsu freaks out, Takano seduces him; Ritsu thinks he’s going to leave, Takano proves him wrong.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

However, despite all that, this series still manages to have its moments that keep you hanging on, repetition be damned. In this volume we get a bit more of “awwww Takano” (though I’ve always had a soft spot for him) which means Onodera doesn’t stand a chance. And that’s okay–Onodera’s been in denial since day one so he doesn’t need to stand a chance.

Also in this volume we get a little more story about my favorite couple, Yukina and Kisa. I really enjoyed this, especially since it was from Yukina’s perspective, which freshened up the rest of the volume.

Today’s Tub Manga: Haikyu!! (volume 13)

I LOVE HAIKYU!!.

Every volume I marvel at its tight-knit perfection. Every volume I open the cover with great anticipation just to read the author’s note at the beginning.

The Johzenji game takes up most of the volume with the last quarter of the book covering the beginning of the Wakutani game. (Volume 14 might be a bit rough; the Wakutani game makes me nervous every time I watch it.)

I think most volumes of Haikyu!! contain the same basic elements: Hinata doing something superhuman; Tanaka being goofy; Asahi busting out an awe-inspiring spike; Tsukishima smirking; the opposing team flashbacking to the words of their senpai; Kageyama being sassy; Noya getting a killer dig; Daichi lying crumpled on the court, dead…

Wait, wut? Hehe…Okay, so he’s not dead. But what a cliffhanger! If didn’t already know what happens from watching the anime, I’d be screaming.

Today’s Tub Manga: Oresama Teacher (volume 22)

I can’t believe we’re already to volume 22! Just when I was wondering if twenty-two was too many volumes, this one came along and just kicked ass. I hope this series gets an anime someday because some of the characters do look a bit similar and are easily confused and I think being animated would remedy that.

This is my favorite volume in a while because it felt like progress was made and a lot of things got cleared up (finally). At the same time, Izumi Tsubaki’s humorous style shone throughout.

It’s been a very goofy and somewhat meandering series but I still really like it and volume 22 reminded me of so many of the reasons why I kept with it for this many volumes. Also, this book has the subtitle: The Story of Miyabi Hanabusa…so enjoy!

Summer Anime Explosion!

Summer Anime Explosion!

It’s Summerrrrrr! We’re out of the spring anime slog and there are a ton of shows on my summer simulcast list. So what’s good?

Knight’s & Magic this was not on my list at all. This show benefited from the fact it was one of the earliest to hit the simulcast schedule so I watched it because I’m waiting for other shows. But I loved it! The characters were oddly endearing even though they weren’t particularly unique. Maybe Ernesti’s enthusiasm and passion is just that infectious? I think I liked the fact that things moved at a decent pace and weren’t too drawn out. The show is a combination of concepts I’ve already seen done other places but it was really enjoyable all the same. I don’t know if it’s sustainable or if it just had a decent first episode, but I guess we’ll find out.

Fox Spirit Matchmaker I guess I’m just going to have to give up on Haoliners. Everything I’ve tried watching from them just seems a little “off.” The humor should be funny, but it’s not; the plot should be interesting, but it’s not; the characters should be entertaining…but they’re not.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu I made a comment to a friend that you could probably put a poop emoji in Shinsengumi blues and I’d watch it. However, thankfully, Touken Ranbu is better than that. I enjoyed Hanamaru but this series is more battle-centric, which is fine with me. I thought the first episode was a pretty solid combination of action, plot explanation, and personal drama. I’m in.

aoyama kun

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun I’d been looking forward to this one because hey, I love sports even if it’s more of a comedy that a sports anime. I am the opposite of a germaphobe so I sympathized more with the captain than with Aoyama-kun, but the episode was entertaining all the same. There were actually a couple funny surprises that made the episode memorable for me…and Takehito Koyasu as Akira Takechi stole the show.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life This was one I’d been waiting for as cute boys and yokai are totally my thing. This show won me over probably within the first five minutes; I was sold. The first episode was pretty cute, mostly predictable, but I liked it anyway. I’m betting this is a series with a safe intro that will get better as it progresses.

Restaurant to Another World I was kind of lukewarm when I first read about this one, mostly because restaurant anime/manga easily rub me the wrong way. However, after seeing the voice cast, I decided to give it a shot. I knew when the very first words were Junichi Suwabe’s that this show was a winner. Episode one started off pretty strong up until that demon girl had to give us her life story…and I got a bit bored. But I’ve seen how funny and neat this show can be and I hope we see more of that in the next episode.

AHO-GIRL In the interest of full disclosure, the other voice that will automatically get me to watch a show is Tomokazu Sugita’s. And that brings us to Aho-Girl. This show should be stupid and offensive but I found it to be stupid and hilarious. I couldn’t help it; I laughed out loud several times. This is the type of show that definitely isn’t for everyone but I’m actually looking forward to the next episode.

Tsuredure Children  I read the first volume of manga out of curiosity before the anime aired and…I think the manga might be better. I originally thought it would make a decent anime and have the characters in color and voiced would really add something but I think I’d rather have the ability to get through the scenes at my own pace. Even though it’s a short, it still felt like each scene was a little too long.

Fastest Finger First I can’t help it; every time I read this title I snort immaturely. It sounds like hentai to me. But ANYWAY, it’s totally not. It’s a cute (?) high school anime about a quiz club. This actually held my attention more or less and even though our protagonist is the same first-year nerd we’ve seen in countless anime before, he still managed to be kind of cute. The quiz scene was actually more interesting/exciting than I expected.

Love & Lies I actually thought the premise of a government-mandated eharmony to raise the birth rate was interesting. Then the opening theme started and I lost interest. It all looked so boring and the characters were more boring and I try to be flexible about animation styles but their eyes made me secretly wonder if they’re actually supposed to be people or if they’re robots who think they’re people and hopefully this anime will take a really dramatic turn mid-season… But I won’t be around to find out. It’s hard for me to take a couple of 16-year-olds seriously about how dramatically-forever-in-love they are when they’d only spoken once in the last…five years? I think is what they said. If some guy came up to me and said, “You’ve only spoken to me once five years ago, but I’m madly in love with you” I’d tell him the fantasy exceeds reality and please don’t talk to me for another five years at least. Unless that person happened to be Junichi Suwabe in which case I’d say, “Actually, I’ve never spoken to you but hey, I LOVE YOU TOO.”

Netsuzou Trap -NTR- After reading the first volume of the manga, I don’t know why I tried watching the anime. I guess I thought I’d give it a try in case the anime was better? I was wrong; I think it’s actually worse seeing it animated. I hope the target demographic loves the crap out of this show because I do not.

DIVE!! Speaking of target demographic, ever since the PV I thought, “Oh, someone made an anime for me. How nice.” Because of the speedos and one-word title with exclamation marks, this show is drawing similar comparisons to Free!. However, the atmosphere of the show feels very different to me. It feels a bit more sporty and less emo, though I’m sure that boy drama will surface soon enough. I am looking forward to future episodes and seeing some of the other characters from the opening theme…

saiyuki

“If we keep up with a certain pattern over and over again, it becomes our own style.”

Saiyuki Reload Blast  The band’s back together! And the first episode of Saiyuki Reload Blast felt like…most other episodes of Saiyuki I’ve ever watched, many years ago. So the little tongue-in-cheek commentary at the end of the episode made me laugh. There’s something very comforting about starting an anime and having it be exactly what you expected.

Hitorijime My Hero I love BL. That aside, the first episode was really cute. I had read a bit of the manga so I knew what to expect but I was still pleasantly surprised with how endearing the anime seems to be. I liked it even more than I thought I would. And when I heard Kosuke’s voice all I could think was, “Ah, Maeno-san, the eternal seme.”

Welcome to the Ballroom Talk about expectations, this was one of my top anticipated anime for the summer season. I’m totally addicted to the manga so I couldn’t wait to see how the anime turned out. Well…I love it. LOVE IT. I felt like I could just watch the opening theme over and over but then as the episode got underway…sometimes you can just tell in the first minutes an anime will be great and you kind of start drooling. Or maybe that’s just me? Regardless, even with my incredibly high expectations, Welcome to the Ballroom blew me away.

Vatican Miracle Examiner After watching the first episode, one thing is for sure: Junichi Suwabe’s voice is a verfied God-granted miracle. As far as the show itself, just from the looks and description it kind of reminded me of Trinity Blood and in a way, the comparison proved somewhat accurate. They’re both kind of sleepy and full of dialogue and intrigue and bad shit going down in church. Vatican Miracle Examiner wasn’t quite as engaging as I’d hoped but it’s good enough to keep me watching.

Altair: A Record of Battles I started reading the first volume of manga a while back but didn’t make it through so I really hoped animation would make the story more dynamic and engaging. It’s still pretty sleepy, I think because it hops around between political intrigue and moodiness and repetitive flashbacks feeling a bit unstable all the while. So I’m hoping that now we’ve gotten the first episode and its exposition out of the way, the story can find its footing and be more focused and interesting.

What have been your favorites so far? What was your biggest disappointment? Or, better yet, biggest surprise?

Today’s Tub Manga: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts (volume 1)

Okay, this one’s been out for a while but I’ve just gotten around to reading it. In just the first few pages I got a very Gun X Sword/Trigun kind of vibe…and I mean that in the best of ways. The beginning was a bit more slapstick and light-hearted than I anticipated, considering the setup. However, “To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts” delves into serious territory soon enough.

Volume one was an interesting combination of silly and serious, violent and thoughtful. Several times I found myself thinking, “I like this way more than I should.” Much of it felt very predictable but I didn’t care; I still enjoyed the story. I do think the two main characters are mostly responsible for that–our girl has the desirable trait of being not-annoying and our guy is a badass, which is hard for me to pass up.

Can these two characters carry the series and make a predictable plot interesting or will the series ultimately collapse in on itself? I’ll report back after a couple more volumes…

Today’s Tub Manga: The Water Dragon’s Bride (volume 2)

I was already getting a bit tired of this series a couple pages into volume two. It suffers from the same issues as the author’s Dawn of the Arcana series–weird, randomly contrived things happen way too often. There also seems to be a lot of yelling and crying considering the main character can’t speak; I keep trying to remind myself that she’s a small child and that’s why she…acts like a small child. But it still gets tiring.

However, volume two did have some high points. When the Water Dragon God goes on his rampage, his monologue made me go, “Yes! This makes sense! This is what I want to read!” Though violent and angry, at least it sounded more reasoned-out and intellectual than how he’s usually idiotically portrayed. His thought process made sense, whereas usually he’s written to not have much thought process at all.

The other gods are spicing up the story as well. To me, they’re really the highlights and the saviors of a pretty dreary, yelling-and-crying-filled story. The author seems to like them so I’m hoping we see more of them in the next volume.

Because yes, after the final pages of volume two (I don’t want to spoil it for you!) I’m hoping volume three blows it wide open and this series finally takes off. *crosses fingers*