As the name implies these “Irregular” collection of mini-reviews doesn’t follow much of a schedule.
Typically, as we have here, we have a spoiler-free look at five episodic shows currently running on streaming platforms.
The “Reconnaissance” report comes in when it’s ready, and this week that fluid approach means we can pop over to Black Clover on the week that it has been announced this fan favourite has been cancelled.
That’s not the only bad news in this report. One of Crunchyroll’s 2021 shows is being dropped from the Irregular Reconnaissance report. Why? Weaksauce. I can’t think of a better word for it. It’s just a failure to whisk anything spicy up.
Your own reconnaissance reports are especially welcome. What are you watching? What are you dumping? Let us know in the comments below while avoiding spoilers.
In this Irregular Reconnaissance;
Episodes 155 to 163
Sad news; Black Clover is coming to an end. The final episode will be 170, although we’re told there will be a big announcement, so let’s catch up with where we are so far.
The anime is set in a Kingdom in which everyone has magic. The exception is our plucky protagonist Asta who has none. We’re safely into a new arch at this stage, the initial villains have been defeated, and there’s a lovely segway to the next.
Kingdoms are going to war, and when those kingdoms all have magical knights, or something similar, it means some pretty exciting match-ups. Black Clover takes the chance to send their characters training which, thankfully, doesn’t feel too much like filler but does allow for some new costumes and powers.
It feels like there could be years more content, and I’m left to hope it bows out strong and with some degree of completion.
Season 2, Episodes 1 to 4
I really enjoyed the first season of Dr. Stone. The concept has all of humanity turn to stone in some unexplained phenomena and then begin to wake up in the far future when the few survivors have been at stone-age technology for generations.
Our hero is a mad scientist who sees every problem as a chance to advance technology. The plot set-up for season two is that some meat-head jocks he rescued from their stone prison are going to war against his budding new science-appreciating kingdom.
Dr. Stone often has its quirks, with zany characters, surreal facial expressions at times and – most of all – slyly hiding education and facts in plain sight. The problem with season 2 is that we expect that wackiness now, has lost the novelty of the stone-age set-up.
I feel as if the show is just warming up, and once I get a bit more invested that Dr. Stone will be upgraded from a healthy average. I’ll be disappointed if not.
Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
Episodes 6 to 12
In the final episode, there’s a scene in which it is argued that it is wise for the protagonist not to have too much personality. Why? It means they can be applied to any situation needed.
Hmm. Maybe. Talk about hanging a lantern on it, though. Despite Elaina’s somewhat ambivalent status (she often passes on the chance to do good and is equally often driven by ego) and perhaps because of it, she can pop into a wide range of scenarios. It’s like we’re hitching a ride on her witch’s broom.
What works for me here is the modern fairytale aspect of The Journey of Elaina. There are dark tones to many of the stories, even without a cautionary note and just the “that’s life” warning. I also liked the creator-driven rule about not doing any up-skirt stills.
What didn’t work for me was the weak arc that held the journey together and that same lack of personality or drive from Elaina. I don’t regret the time I spent watching Wandering Witch, but I’m not sure I’d watch season 2.
A Lull in the Sea
Episodes 19 to 26
Like a Jaffa Cake, the best bit of A Lull in the Sea is the middle. In this case; that’s when the sea is being the most active.
I thought the anime was a slice of life, but with a fish village, at the start and had to correct my assumptions on that. However, in a way, the show reverts to that again at the end. Yes, dramatic events are going on, but we experience them through the lens of young people growing up.
There’s no doubt that A Lull in the Sea is wonderfully illustrated. The backgrounds and character expressions are both often remarkable. I noticed because sometimes the dialogue and plot took a while to move on.
I’m not sure I’d recommend A Lull in the Sea to everyone. Instead, I see it as a great Trojan horse to get Slice of Life fans into supernatural thrillers.
The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter
Episodes 2 to 5
I’m giving up on The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter. The show, five episodes in, is a fan-service one and a weaksauce version at that.
The two main characters look like a dark-haired version of Bell Cranel from Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and the strangely loyal friend like Lucy Heartfilia from Fairy Tail and feel like watered-down and less fun versions of both.
For me, the final straw was an episode when an arena of incels judge men and their harems while our male hero quibbles insecurely and the women try and win. Sure, The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter isn’t especially kind to the incels, but it’s just an incredible clumsy way to introduce some deeply disappointing “fan service”.
Status: Poor, weaksauce.
Have I been too harsh or too generous? Let us know in the spoiler-free comments below.