Irregular Reconnaissance: Anime is a review column that takes batches of anime at a time. It’s all about speed of discovery and decision.
In this week’s article, you’ll find five, the usual number, of episodic titles currently available to stream in the UK and most places, and get spoiler-free mini-reviews.
As the name of the column makes clear, there’s no regular schedule for these reviews. They’re ready when they’re ready. Recently, Geek Native has been sharing the stills used to illustrate the column with Instagram and tagging them with #IrregularReconnaissance. If you’re a fan of the picture platform, the tag is there to follow at your convenience and is a way to get algorithmic reminders when there’s fresh content.
That other visual-first social media platform, Pinterest, has enjoyed Irregular Reconnaissance content for a lot longer, but not exclusively. If you want to keep up with the full range of anime finds on the site, then the anime magic board is the thing to follow. You’ll also get posters of upcoming releases there. That board has over 80k followers.
With the very rare plug for the blog’s social media presence done, let’s get on to the anime mini-reviews.
In this Irregular Reconnaissance;
Season 4, Episodes 4 to 10
Credit where credit is due. Castlevania is really good. Long time readers will know that Irregular Reconnaissance leans towards good anime because I’m watching what I want to watch, but that upwards bias is partially moderated by how rare it is to get a “Great” rating from me.
Castlevania nearly did it.
I’m confident I could watch this series again, after a long break, of course, but that’s nearly impossible for any other anime to claim. I’m equally sure, more importantly, that this series has helped recruit new watchers.
The series started out by explaining why Dracula was angry as humanity and how dreadful his wrath is. Perhaps season 3 was unexpected because we suddenly had more story to tell. As a result, some of the new characters and their stories became interesting and compelling.
I said last time that it might be a struggle to remember that Castlevania was a computer game originally. Well, the final boss battle reminds us in a most glorious homage.
Lots of action, lots of character, superb storytelling and animation, so watch this if you can.
Status: Good, knocking on the door of a rare “Great” rating.
Moriarty the Patriot
Episodes 12 to 14
The first half of season one only just gets around to introducing Sherlock Holmes to the Moriarty story, the lord of crime. The second half picks up by introducing Irene Adler. It’s not rushed, but it is a whirlwind.
In fact, Moriarty fades into the background.
Isn’t that where he’s the most dangerous, though?
At this point in the series, the cast of characters feels about the ideal size. I’m not sure I can cope with it being any larger. We also have Mycroft Holmes to track. I think he’s a daring character to bring in because it further cements Sherlock as the connecting character with him on the scene. And this series is supposed to be a twist on Moriarty.
Okay, so that’s a concern. Here’s a plus, the recent episodes have broken the “murder of a week” that the build-up had been using to introduce the characters.
I’m not sure, not at all, where the plot is going, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro
Episodes 2 to 4
Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro is about a bold, laddish girl, picking on a shy and bookish guy.
In episode one, I hoped they wouldn’t forgive bullying. That fear is still lingering but is receding. I don’t think it’ll ever go away.
It’s clear that Nagatoro has a thing for the male character. Er, name? Well, um, I don’t remember… and I’m not even sure that’s a bad thing. Is he there to be memorable? Or is he just the mirror to Nagatoro’s actions and reactions?
There’s a good chance that teenage boys will be watching and learning not to be mean to the girls they fancy. At least, I hope that’s the lesson they take away.
So, I’m starting to enjoy this show a bit more, even feeling a bit guilty about doing so. I just don’t trust it not to begin zig-zagging all over the place in terms of plot or tone. I’m going to buckle up for the ride.
Status: Average, leaning up into good.
I’ve Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level
Episode 3 to 5
Sorry, “I’ve Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level”, you are not terrible, but I’m spoiled for choices and pressed for time. I’m giving you up.
I suspect this anime is trying to find a sweet spot between action and wholesome relaxation. Well, as wholesome as bikini demons and buxom witches can get. It achieves neither for me, though, with too much action to be relaxing, but not enough to be interesting.
Other shows have “Monster of the Week” as a formula, 300 Years as “Friend with a Problem of the Week”. But, these friends are tired and familiar tropes which means they’re utterly replaceable, and their mild jeopardy gets no traction at all with me.
I never did get to the episode with the flying whale, as teased in the opening credits. Shame.
Status: Dull, fading into poor.
Episodes 2 to 5
There are two countries at war using armies of drones. The propaganda is that this is a humane war as no humans die. The catch? One side is lying and deploys human pilots, outcasts otherwise confined to the undocumented and largely unknown 86th district.
Episode one revealed everything that I thought would be a secret.
Since then, we’ve been weaving a web up to the real secrets and the real threat. It’s a good one.
It’s episode five that everything hinges on, with careful foreshadowing up to them. Now, at the risks of getting my hopes and expectations up again, I’m riveted and looking forward to exploring the developing plot.
I’m not going to get too attached to the exciting cast of pilots, though. I’ll be surprised if even a third survive the nightmare marching towards them.
Seen anything terrible recently? Watched anything great? Share your discoveries in the comments below.