The Black is Netflix’s new Pacific Rim anime, and the good news is it hits the mark.
Mind you, The Promised Neverland also gets the thumbs up from this anime reviewer during howls of criticism from “fans”. That’s the thing with reviews; they’re helpful once you know how well the reviewer’s tastes align with your own.
Hopefully, the Irregular Reconnaissance format helps with that. You won’t get one review here. You’ll give five. If you disagree with the spoiler-free remarks about the shows you know, then you’ll probably disagree with the things I’ve said about the shows you don’t. That’s a success. That’s still an intelligence trade.
You’re also welcome to leave your own thoughts in the comments below. Stick clear of spoilers, though.
In this Irregular Reconnaissance;
Pacific Rim: The Black
Episodes 1 to 4
I’m pleased to report that Netflix’s Pacific Rim: The Black is much better than I feared.
The animation style suits the kaiju and the angular mechs rather more than it does the human characters, but if you’re familiar with Netflix’s style, you’ll be used to it.
The series picks up as humanity in Australia is escaping the cities as the Kaiju takeover. Very quickly, there’s a time-jump, and we pick up with the younger members of the focus family.
There are definitely Mad Max elements, early days, in this insofar as we’re reminded how much of Australia is dusty badlands and just how quickly roaming gangs will become the de facto power there.
So far, this is not a series of mech versus giant monster battles with filler in between.
It’s a short series, only seven episodes in, and I’m at the halfway mark. The shoe is about to drop. I’m looking forward to it.
The Promised Neverland
Season 2, Episodes 2 to 8
I know fine well that there are “fans” hating on this show even as I write this. In their eyes, because it’s not followed the manga, it’s gone from great to garbage, and people call for it to be scrapped.
Damn their eyes.
I’ve not read the manga, I know nothing of the arc that was cut, but it does not feel as if anything is missing.
Instead, The Promised Neverland steers itself down one of only two possible routes, and without the burden of expectation, I’m enjoying it.
It’s hard to discuss The Promised Neverland at all without spoilers, but it does involve a group of kids, and, thankfully, there’s not a single one of them who’s annoying.
Episodes 20 to 27
I took a gamble when I watched Air Master, and it did not pay off.
Crunchyroll added an old classic to their catalogue. I watched it in the hopes of finding some relatively early female empowerment in anime, and I didn’t get it.
I got upskirt and sexually awkward tropes, with clumsy scenes.
There’s also inexplicable fighting that a lazy writer might try and explain as mass hypnosis, supernatural power, or maybe mind slugs from Mars as the unseen force compelling the action.
Status: Below average
So I’m a Spider, So What?
Episodes 5 to 9
So I’m enjoying an anime about a dungeoneering spider, so what?
It couldn’t last, though. Our hero spider would, at some point, need to get roped into the plot that’s been bubbling away. It couldn’t all be plucky encounters in the Underdark.
That’s what is beginning to happen by the time we hit episode 9. By the way, the name of that episode, “I Can’t Speak, Isekai?” is a classic. Isekai is the genre to which the show belongs, and the hero knows. So when the first plot point contact turns up, our Japanese Spider can’t understand a word they’re saying and helpfully accuses them of speaking “Isekai”.
The plot also brings with it some of the mythos around the world. Sometimes Isekai makes the computer game element prominent, sometimes there’s no game at all but an actual fantasy world. Which route do you think Spider takes?
Status: Good, sometimes hitting notes of lovely.
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon
Episodes 16 to 21
Yashahime is sliding further and further down the pecking order in which I watch anime. However, I feel the more recent episodes have helped move the show in the right direction.
That’s to say, we’re finally getting some direction. The behind the scenes mechanisation had been incredibly arms distance while we’d been getting victory of the week episodes for weeks and weeks. It’s the pacing of a show that’s been promised a long run.
The challenge is now for me to give it the attention it deserves. I’m sure I faded out for a few minutes, checking my phone or something other anime watching crime, as it feels like the timeline doesn’t quite make sense any more.
What we have in Yashahime are contrasts. The half-demon twins look and act nothing alike; one is calculated, one is rash, one is from historical times, the other (effectively) from modern, one trained, and one is instinctual. The same contrasts are evident in their opponents; some are monstrous, others gorgeous, some violent and others plotting.
That’s this round-up of Irregular Reconnaissance anime reviews and perhaps some food for thought. Have you found any shows you think readers should know about? Let us know in the comments below or in the Geek Native Discord.