Deca-Dence Review: Like Attack on Titan, if the Twist was Revealed Early.

4 stars
I really have to thank the YouTuber Mother’s Basement for informing us about this little gem.
His video on Deca-Dence really intrigued me, enough so to make me pause the video and watch all the episodes that were out until that point before going back to watch the rest of his review.
Good thing I did too because I stopped watching the video literally seconds before the big twist of Deca-Dence was revealed and it is definitely best for you to see that twist for yourself.
Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and developed by Studio Nut, the anime is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been hunted to the brink of extinction by the mysterious Gadoll.
Humanity’s only hope is the Deca-Dence, a massive robotic fist that can punch the lights out of these giant monsters.
Our heroine is Natsuame (Tomori Kusunoki), a young girl who lost her father and her arm years ago.
Upon being relegated to cleaning duty, Natsumae finds herself working alongside without a doubt the best character in the show Kaburagi (Katsuyuki Konishi).

Kaburagi is a fantastic character and his bond with Natsumae is the heart of the anime.

After an accident causes the two to fall into the midst of a battlefield, Natsumae sees Kaburagi’s skills with the weapons used by humans to kill minor Gadoll, which is most certainly nothing like the weaponry in Attack on Titan (note the sarcasm).
Natsumae then insists that Kaburagi teach her how to fight, unaware that he knows much more about their situation than he is letting on.
To say anything else would be too much of a spoiler, given the big twist in episode two.
However, I can guess from my description of this show that the first thing that came to your mind was Attack on Titan.
Not only did I purposefully point out how the weapons in this anime are similar to Attack on Titan’s ODM Gear, but I’m also sure that the whole humanity being driven to the brink of extinction thing and being forced to hide out sounded like a dead ringer too.
Indeed, the best way that I can describe Deca-Dence is like Attack on Titan if the world changing twist had happened in the second episode.
Still, despite these similarities, there are a lot of differences between the two animes and the features shared with Attack on Titan feels more like a way to draw the audience in before the show delves into the really interesting stuff.
By far the best aspect of Deca-Dence is the growing father daughter bond between Natsumae and Kaburagi.
This culminates in the fifth episode “Differential Gear”, which is definitely the best episode of the series.

The fifth episode takes the story to another level, ending on an amazing cliffhanger

Along with Natsumae and Kaburagi, there are other great characters like the adorable Pipe (Eri Kitamura), the intuitive Jill (Michio Murase), and the fighting addicted Donatello (Rikiya Koyama).
Although, I will say that, while the characters on Kaburagi’s side of the story are all interesting, for the most part, the characters on Natsumae’s side of the story are, unfortunately, pretty bland and not very interesting.
Another issue I have is with the epilogue in the final episode.
No spoilers here but I found it to be a little unsatisfying because I feel that it glossed over a lot of important details and potential character development for Natsumae’s friends, which, again, was sorely needed.

Even though Natsumae is a great character, her friends needed way more development and this ties into why I think the epilogue didn’t entirely work.

Despite these problems, the anime is still a lot of fun with great visuals, a fantastic score, and some laugh out loud moments, all with the fantastic bond between Natsumae and Kaburagi keeping it together.
Deca-Dence is a solid anime that feels like a complete story, without the need for a season two.

Grand Blue Review: 90% Nudity, 10% Diving.

3 and a half stars
The opening scene of Grand Blue, directed by Shinji Takamatsu and based off the manga by Keni Inoue, is quite the bait and switch.
As Iori Kitahara (Yuma Uchida) heads to his uncle’s diving shop, we expect a light hearted slice of life story as he learns to dive… only for us all to be met with the sight of a bunch of naked men (with their privates thankfully covered) drinking like there’s no tomorrow, revealing Grand Blue for the racy comedy that it is.
This was quite the shock for my Anime Club, which burst into laughter at the reveal.
I’m pretty sure the person who chose this show deliberately mislead us about what the show was about so we could make the most out of the surprise.
I thought Grand Blue would be 100% about diving going in but it’s actually only about 10%.
The other 90% is spent on nudity, alcohol and sexual jokes that never fail to get a laugh.
Following the opening scene, the anime follows Iori’s misadventures with the diving club.

alcahol poisoning
And, by misadventures, I mean drinking to the point that these characters have to develop alcohol poisoning at some point.

Among these characters are the practically nudist Shinji (Hiroki Yasumoto) and Ryujiro (Katsuyuki Konishi), and Iori’s cousins Nanaka (Maaya Uchida) and Chisa (Chika Anzai), who is both Iori’s and Nanaka’s crush.
Speaking of, incest seems to just be an accepted thing in this anime but it is thankfully played for laughs most of the time, so, whenever Nanaka is shown to be in love with her sister, it gets a laugh rather than a cringe.
Along with these characters, there is also the extreme anime nerd Kohei (Ryohei Kimura), who Iori drags into friendship kicking and screaming.
Their antics are of special hilarity, with many of the faces they pull reminding me of the Titans from Attack on Titan.

titan face
Tell me this face Iori pulls doesn’t look like Eren Jaeger’s Attack Titan.

However, although these characters are hilarious, they can be especially hard to root for at times, considering the things they do.
From exposing Chisa to a crowd to try and win a beauty pageant, to trying to get one of their friends’ girls to break up with him so he will be single like them, Iori and his friends are first rate jerks.
If the way that they went about doing these things wasn’t so hilarious, I would probably despise them.
Thankfully, the humor saves them.
As for the animation it is solid, being nothing spectacular but serviceable.
The music is the same, except for the opening that shares the name of the anime, which I would always find myself singing to.
The best thing about it though, as I have already stated, is definitely the top notch humor.
The rest of Grand Blue is serviceable but the jokes will have you laughing so hard that your sides hurt, which makes it definitely worth a watch.

Tokyo Ghoul Season One Review: A Rush to a Killer Finale.

4 stars
Before watching Tokyo Ghoul, many people suggested I should read the manga first because the anime was a bad adaptation.
In reading Sui ishida’s manga, I found a fantastic story and a solid yet flawed experience in its sequel Re. 
Well, after watching the first season of the anime adaptation, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Shuhei Morita, I can see what people were talking about.
This is not to say that season one is a bad adaptation but it falls quite far from the successes of the manga.
The reason for this mostly comes down to how rushed the story is and the switching around of arcs.
Take the first episode, for example.
I was pretty surprised by how much was adapted in so little time.
Honestly, I expected the first episode to encompass the first chapter, with it ending when Kaneki wakes up, revealing his ghoul eye and noting that his life is a tragedy.
But the episode went ahead of this moment and adapted much more for the first episode, resulting in scenes going by much too fast to be as impactful as they were in the manga.

tragedy 1
I feel like the first chapter should have been extended to make a single episode that builds to the final reveal of Kaneki being turned into a ghoul.

This rushed quality persisted right up until the end, and was not helped by the removal of entire scenes.
Season one should have been around twenty episodes instead of twelve.
The second big issue is the switching around of arcs with the Gourmet Arc happening before the Doves Arc, which came first in the manga.
The Doves Arc being moved behind the Gourmet Arc made certain things not make a lot of sense in the anime.
However, despite these problems, I still found the first season of Tokyo Ghoul to be a good adaptation.
Even though much of the story is rushed and some story arcs happen sooner than they are supposed to, certain scenes are adapted fairly well and the characters are all wonderfully brought to screen.
Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae), Touka (Sora Amamiya), Rize (Kana Hanazawa), Amon (Katsuyuki Konishi), Tsukiyama (Mamoru Miyano) Jason (Rintaro Nishi), and many characters are all done justice with their portrayals and voice acting.
The best example of this is Juuzou because both his Japanese voice actor Rie Kugimiya and his English voice actor Maxey Whitehead all do an incredible job as the character.
I remember hearing Juuzou speak for the first time in both sub and dub and thinking both were perfect.

crazy little s we know and love
Juuzou is perfectly adapted into the anime, with both Japanese and English voice actors doing an amazing job.

Along with the great voice work, another quality of the anime that I enjoyed were some of its original scenes.
The anime hyped up Jason a lot sooner and that made the build up to his torture of Kaneki in the finale a lot better.
Speaking of that finale, I was considering this season an overall average adaptation, what with the rushed nature and switched around arcs of the anime but then, “Ghoul” happened.
“Ghoul” is a fantastic season finale that perfectly adapted Jason’s torture of Kaneki and their epic fight.
The only problem I had with the episode was its censoring of numerous violent scenes but it makes up for it in the symbolism, voice acting, and amazing final scene.
Watching Kaneki take on Jason to the spectacular theme of Unravel made the entire season feel worth it and was the best way to end it.

kaneki unravels
The Kaneki vs Jason fight is the highlight of the season.

As for Unravel, it is already one of my favourite anime openings of all time.
Everything from the music, visuals and symbolism is just incredible.
Unfortunately, the few incredible aspects of this anime, like Unravel and the final episode, would not be continued in the follow up season of √A, which has a lot more problems, but we’ll get to that later.
All in all, the first season of Tokyo Ghoul is a solid adaptation.
Sure, it has its problems, like the rushed story, switched arcs, and missing scenes, but the adaptation of certain scenes, voice acting, final episode, and Unravel make up for it.