Well, I really jinxed myself by saying I was optimistic after The Promised Neverland Season Two, Episode Four, didn’t I?
The third episode of this second season made me really concerned with the direction the story was going, with all the important cuts, including my favourite character being completley gone.
Then Episode Four happened and I began to regain some hope.
Sure, there were things that were handled rather poorly, like the laughably incompetant soldiers, but brand new scenes, like Isabella being recrutied to hunt the children, made me optomistic about where this anime original storyline could go.
However, Episode Five has now come out and, wow, did it drop the ball.
Directed by Takahiro Harada, the episode picks up a full year after the last one.
That’s right, we have skipped a year immediately after the children escaped the bunker and now they are living in the demon world.
How did they survive so long with all of the intelligent demons, wild demons, and armed humans hunting them down?
Good question because the anime offers absolutley no explanation.
See, this is why skipping over 60 chapters is an incredibly bad idea because it means where you pick up the story from will make absolutley no sense and, in this episode, it makes little.
How did the children get the material to disguise themselves as demons?
How have they not been noticed before when they got so easily noticed this time?
Most importantly, how is Norman back so soon with absolutley no build up?
This last moment, which is the cliffhanger of the episode, has almost made me lose hope about the quality of the rest of the season entirely.
The build up to Norman’s reveal in the manga, with Norman acting as the new William Minerva, was absolutley fantastic.
Here, he just shows up with no setup whatsoever and it comes off as extremely anticlimactic because of this.
Also, while it’s nice to see Maaya Uchida back as Norman, it’s only been seven episodes so he hasn’t been gone long enough that his return is a surprise.
Norman’s incredibly bland return and the other plot holes created by the episode are not the only problems, unfortunately.
First of all, the time skip made the scene hyping up Isabella last episode almost pointless.
She was tasked with hunting the children and she just failed for that entire year.
I don’t think the demons would have been too happy with those results.
Also, the chase scene in this episode, which leads into Norman’s return, is pretty bad because it lacks any tension.
To be fair, there are some moments that saved the episode from being terrible, like Emma’s interaction with the blind demon and the exploration of deterioration with the two sympathetic demon children.
However, the rest of it made me very disappointed, with the numerous amount of plot holes in numerous scenes.
It honestly feels like the anime is just going to end with this second season, given how much has been completley skipped over and the direction the story is going.
It feels like it’s going the Tokyo Ghoul adaptation route and I really hope it can find some way to prove me wrong about that.
Unfortunately, next episode is supposed to be a recap episode so it looks like those hopes are probably going to be crushed.
This year, I took on the role of an executive at the anime club, meaning I could suggest some anime for us all to watch.
One of these anime I suggested was Noragami, a show with two seasons, which I had heard a lot of good things about.
The first episode showed a lot of promise and many of my fellow students also seemed to like it, so it was one of the anime chosen for us to watch this semester.
And I, for one, am already hooked and need a season three.
Adapted from the manga by Adachitoka and directed by Kotaro Tamura, the anime follows the stray god Yato (Hiroshia Kamiya), who dreams of becoming famous and having millions of worshippers one day.
When an ordinary girl, Hiyori Iki (Maaya Uchida), finds herself able to interact with the world of spirits and gods after and accident, Yato agrees to help her get her back to normal, for the small price of five yen, of course.
With the help of Yato’s Regalia – a spirit of a dead person who can turn into a weapon for a god when they are given a name – Yukine (Yūki Kaji), the three go on many misadventures, both hilarious and dark, as they slowly begin to feel more like a family.
The situations that these three great characters find themselves in being either comedic or grim is highlighted by Yato himself, who can go from looking as harmless as a puppy to full on murderous swordsman in the span of a minute.
This dark side to Yato is often spurned on by Nora (Rie Kugimiya), Yato’s former Regalia who just brings out the worst in him.
Yato’s past with Nora is an interesting part of the story, making for a lot of fun speculation to have before the reveal of what he has really done.
And what Yato did in the past has gained him a few enemies, most notably Bishamon (Miyuki Sawashiro), who holds a massive grudge and relentlessly pursues him with the help of her Regalia Kazuma (Jun Fukuyama), who is definitely my favourite character in the show.
It is his and Bishamon’s storyline that lead to the greatest arc of the anime in the first part of season two, which created a lot of intense moments with members of my anime club both cheering and screaming in horror at what was happening.
The second half of season two also introduced another one of my favourite characters Ebisu (Ryōtarō Okiayu), who I really wasn’t expecting to like when he was introduced.
However, he more than exceeded my expectations due to his fantastic interactions with Yato, resulting in a moment that actually got tears out of me in the final episode.
As you can probably tell, season two “Aragato” is definitely my favourite season but season one is also a lot of fun with great humor, character development, and intense action.
Combine this with some fantastic openings “Gora wa Machiawse” and “Kyouran Hey Kids!!” which we were all singing along to by the end and you have yourself a really good time.
Noragami is a great anime that I will wait for a season three with crossed fingers, before probably caving in and reading the manga.
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.
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.
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.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding The Promised Neverland, both during and since its release.
I heard so much hype surrounding it that I started watching the anime half way through the season and I was not disappointed.
The series instantly hooked me with its gripping concept, characters and direction, resulting in an incredibly intense first season.
Based off the manga of the same name by Kaiu Shirai, and directed by Mamoru Kanbe, The Promised Neverland is set on an orphanage where 38 children live with their “mom” Isabella (Yuko Kaida), until they are eventually adopted.
Our three main characters are the energetic Emma (Sumire Morohoshi), the intuitive Norman (Maaya Uchida), and the sly Ray (Mariya Uchida), who are the smartest of all the children.
However, their happy life is completely shattered when they learn a dark truth about the orphanage and their so called mom.
The three then begin to plan an escape with some of their siblings, all while evading the ever watchful eye of Isabella, who will do anything to stop them getting away.
All twelve episodes are great and full of many intense moments.
Even something as simple as tag is made scary in this series.
What amplifies the tension is how much you grow to care for these children.
Emma, Norman and Ray are all very relatable and well performed by their voice actors.
As for the other children, their adorableness makes you feel instant horror at the thought of them staying at the orphanage with the manipulative Isabella.
Speaking of which, she is a very intimidating character, being able to switch between the personalities of a loving mother to a cruel warden in an instant.
As for the secondary antagonist Sister Krone (Nao Fujita), her nightmare inducing facial expressions will keep you up at night.
But what is most interesting about these two antagonists is also how relatable they become.
They are certainly twisted individuals, but are made much more sympathetic by the conclusions of their stories.
Their sympathetic sides do not make you forget the plight of these kids though, as you will be routing for them to escape every cruel step of the way.
Watching the effect the trauma of their experiences has on them is touching and makes you relate to them further.
This is also helped by the expert direction, with well thought out shots that both amplify the horror and make you care for the characters by placing you right in the middle of their plight.
Combine all this with a great amount of twists and turns, it makes for a stellar season with only a few problems.
These problems are minor and, for the most part, do not hinder the experience.
For example, there was a scene in the first episode with a bit of bad editing, but the rest of the direction was so good that it more than made up for it.
Then there are the episode titles, which, while having no impact the story, are not memorable because they are just a representation of the date.
The final issue has to do with the intelligence of some of these kids, which does seem a bit outlandish at times, but I was able to push my suspension of disbelief above this.
The Promised Neverland is a fantastic anime that looks set to be one of the greats.
Season two has already been greenlit and I will be excitedly watching when it comes out in 2020.