"Surpass your limits!"
In a world where everyone has magic, Asta stands alone as the black sheep because of his lack of magic. He fights with willpower and sheer physical strength. Obviously, he doesn't stand a chance of attaining his goal of becoming the Wizard King, or so everyone thought. Black Clover is not my favorite shonen anime but it's still a very good one. Featuring a great cast of characters known as the Black Bulls, who come to accept Asta into their ranks. Luck, Noelle, Charmy, Vanessa, and of course Captain Yami are all stand outs for me who can get as much screen time as they want. When the Black Bulls are all together it reminds me of One Piece's pirate crew - it's always a great time. However, this is Black Clover's focus. So when it takes time to highlight other characters outside of the Black Bull's it's just not as satisfying. Even Yuno as a main character just isn't well written or interesting. There's a few exceptions like Wizard King Julius but for the most part outside characters are not likeable. This range of quality is also noticeable in the animation. I was completely bewildered by the fight BIG fight in this show. It featured jaw-dropping action and visuals, but at the same time had moments that looked like an export from Microsoft Paint. Sadly, the budget just can't keep up with this shows pace. However, by the end that pain is eliminated. The last 12 episodes looked amazing. In a lot of ways this anime seems to be improving itself overall. Even the story took a fantastic turn towards the end and I'm genuinely excited for the canon movie releasing in 2023. Black Clover shouldn't be at the top of your list, but it should definitely be on there. This one's only going to get better.
"There's only one reason why you lost. One simple reason. You really pissed me off."
The incredible energy and addicting pace of Jojo season 1 has transformed into a new beast called Stands. As an anthology series, Stardust Crusaders manages to set itself far apart from it's predecessor while drawing from it's strengths and improving itself overall. Most notably with the introduction of Stands. A whole new power system that in time has become one of my favorites in anime. The adrenaline of Battle Tendency is funneled and compounded into these mind bending powers and they've only continued to be more entertaining throughout the future parts of Jojo. Stardust Crusaders is broken into two 24 episode halves. The first half finds mangaka Araki stumbling as his genius unfolds and the concept of Stands seems to be developing while it's being written. It's rough around the edges, but it's has tons of heart. The cast introduced in this season is big enough to fill the void that Part 2 may have left you with. Avdol, Polnareff, Kakyoin, Iggy, and of course Jotaro - complete with all their quirks and flaws, have provided me some of the most fun I've had watching anime. Their trip around the globe is full of strange pitstops, dangerous wack jobs, and bizarre bathrooms. It's an endless amount of fun. The second half however, finds Araki understanding just how bizarre these Stand powers can be and then unleashing them for us to enjoy one after another. These Stands are bigger and better, but are still only a mere strip tease when compared to the Stands in the later Parts. Just as Joseph was able to outsmart insane evil in Battle Tendency with wit, Jotaro finds a way to overcome crazy enemies and their Stands with his don't give a fuck attitude. He's not as charasmatic as Joseph but he's every bit as smart. Often navigating safely through life and death situations without ever breaking a sweat. The Joestars once again prove they are just on another level. And this anime proves that it's a step above the grade. With memorable voice acting, amazing and unique visual style, and a sound track that bangs so stupidly hard you wouldn't even expect it - I can safely say this is one of my all-time favorites. Can't wait to rewatch Part 3 next!!!
Two years ago this hilarious anime changed my perspective on anime itself. Now I've begun re-watching all of it's parts so I can relive and review all the bizarre adventures this amazing show has to offer. Season 1 is 26 episodes and contains both Part 1 (ep1-9) and Part 2 (10-26) of Jojo. These two parts go hand in hand story wise, with Part 1 simply setting up the universe and the Jojo family name. Lots of characters from Part 1 reappear in Part 2 and they feel very much like one full story when pieced together. Unlike the rest of Jojo, these parts don't involve Stands at all. The action in these parts is based on Hamon. The world feels a bit less bizarre without my favorite anime powers, but even without Stands the season managed to keep me entertained. Thanks to two guys - Joseph Jostar and Von Stroheim. Easily two of the best and endlessly entertaining characters in all of Jojo. Joseph is still my favorite Joestar and I'm currently caught up to Part 5. His wit is on another level. Maybe I'm bias because he's New York's Jojo and as a New Yorker I feel attached to his on sight aggression. Don't fuck with Joseph. Even without Stands, he keeps battles exciting with his do-or-die attitude and his ability to predict what his enemies will say mid battle, which always throws them for a loop. There's so much quality in this anime. The soundtrack is a complete banger, the audio editing is insane, the animation quality is great considering it's age, and the Japanese voice acting is iconic. If you're considering catching up on this show, you're in for a treat right from the start. While the first 9 episodes are the weakest in this entire anime, it picks up it's pace almost instantly on episode 10.
This is one anime that gave me the 'Sunday morning cartoon' vibe. It brought me back to my childhood, which explains why I took my time with this it. Only watching one or two episodes with my coffee before work. 'Yu Yu Hakusho' is all about Yusuke. A middle school bully, who is infamous for never being beaten in a fight. In the first episode during an act of kindness, Yusuke is hit by a car and killed. Coincidentally, this is the start of his story in the spirit realm. He must earn his right to come back to life and in doing so becomes a spirit detective. Spirit detectives are those who protect the human realm from the demon realm. This is a world that keeps on growing as all great shonen anime's do. The world gets bigger and bigger and so does its cast of colorful characters. Yusuke remains infamous for his ability to never lose a fight. He really likes fighting and at it's heart this is a fighting anime. It could be called the Tournament anime because of it's love for 1v1 arena battles, which are sure to get you hyped. The Dark Tournament arc is phenomenal and I honestly thought the show just kept getting better until it's close. The end almost closed too quickly for me! It felt rushed when the world was expanding in great ways. Thankfully, this at least had a satisfying end. The same can't be said for HxH. So we'll take what we can get.
If Stanley Kubrick made an anime it would be something like "Devilman Crybaby". It's a mix between "2001 A Space Odyssey" and "Clockwork Orange". Maybe that's just me... but I really enjoyed this anime. After my first watch I would have given it 5 stars and hailed it as one of the GOATS. This story of humanities end times, angels and demons, and war for our world had me shaken up and stirred after a quick binge of it's short 10 episode run. It took a second watch for me to realize there are some things I don't like about it, but lets start with the positives. I really dig the animation style. It's understated and soft on the eyes, but what's actually happening on screen is usually the opposite - outrageous and hardcore. Visually it's a pleasant and acid induced trip. The storyline is deep and complex diving deep into biblical themes that hit home for me as someone raised in church. It's a story that's going to make you think and demands to be watched again if you have the stomach for it. This brings me to the negatives. While sex is a very integral part of the story, there is some unnecessary fan service. It's already a very sexually charged plot so why throw in extra crotch shots? Also, similar to my critique on Attack On Titan there is no room for breathing in the story. If you're someone who needs light hearted moments to break the tension then this isn't for you.
For a lot of people I imagine this will be a peak anime experience. The animation, voice acting, and worldbuilding are all top notch and it features some of anime's biggest story twists. I would be lying if I said I didn't get excited for each episode. It's a story that just keeps getting better. With that said, the reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of the first arc, which is easily it's weakest. It's turned a lot of my friends away from an otherwise incredible experience and I can't blame them. Sure, I pressure them to push through. But I understand there reasoning. The first season is dreadful. If you're someone who needs light hearted moments to ease the pain of a spine curling story, this might not be for you. Attack On Titan is dark and heavy in such a way that you won't ever forget it - and for good reason too.
Shonen anime have developed a fine tuned formula that allows them to immediately capture viewers attention and then slowly expand that first 21 mins into a well fleshed out world full of characters and lore to keep discovering. When thinking of an anime to introduce a friend of family member to, Demon Slayer should be one of the first shows to come to mind. Why? Because it's animation budget is crazy high so it's absolutely stunning and it follows the formula so well no one is likely to walk away uninterested. It also has a low tolerance for anime bullshit, which is Japanese humor and character tropes that don't crossover to western audiences very well. For being as accessible as it is, Demon Slayer also hits the emotions with a big punch to the gut. It's ability to weave touching moments into intense action is great! In such a violent world, Tanjiro's sense of empathy is always well founded, which is pretty common for shonen protagonists. But the animation quality and sublime editing make for some heavy emotional material that manages to elevate it from it's shonen predecessors. All around, this is a great anime that's only kept getting better. I plan to review it's longer arcs separately down the line as I've heard some really great things. Keep an eye on this one.
New anime drops have been plentiful in 2020 and 2021. It's hard to get a title and image out to all consumers and make it stick among all the other distractions, which is just what they are when stacked up against "Jujutsu Kaisen." "Demon Slayer" was able to accomplish that with it's blockbuster hit film that got the attention of anime fans and casual movie goers, and just return for a 2nd season. While Demon Slayer is an extremely merited show that I look forward to on a weekly basis, there's not another new title that really captures everything I love about anime and all it's wonderful and weird possibilities - like Jujutsu Kaisen does. It satisfies my ADD with it's off the wall humor and lightning fast story-telling reflexes. What I mean is that it's story and progression never stops moving somewhere I would love to go, again and again. It's always entertaining and still manages to be emotionally devastating when it needs to be. The cast is full of colorful characters, like Panda and Toge, who makes sure every arch stays innovative even when going through typical shonen motions - at a speed and ferocity that no other shonen can match.
When I started watching anime it dawned on me that my childhood was missing an important element - anime. A media form that wouldn't have just entertained me but also could have taught me so many lessons as a kid. Experiencing Naruto might just make you a better person and the younger you are the better. Thankfully, watching Naruto made me feel like a kid again and I still found myself learning moral lessons. I would get so excited to wake up, grab some coffee and cereal and sit down for an ep. of this awesome show about teamwork, family, and becoming a better person. I love how important the world building is and how it stays that way all the way through to the end of "Shippuden". The most daunting thing about Naruto is it's length but mostly when considering it's two sequels. Don't worry though, you'll know soon enough if you'll want to stick around. I promise you'll find a reason to keep watching. Whether that's the great soundtrack, the badass sensei Kakashi, or the ninja combat that just keeps getting better.
I watched more anime than live action entertainment in 2021. So it's only right that I start keeping record of my thoughts on them all.