There’s a batch of micro-reviews and status updates on a range of series in Irregular Reconnaissance: Anime. The column acts as a way to measure what’s grabbing my time and attention and what’s falling out of favour.
What’s the point? There’s a lot of anime to watch and sometimes a nudge yes or a nudge no is helpful. It’s also a chance for you to chip in the comment section and make recommendations too. What should we be watching? What should we be avoiding?
I’m determined not to let Log Horizon play second fiddle to Sword Art Online. I just happen to watch it more slowly because I need to stream it from Crunchyroll.
This is the story of gamers trapped in a game and our hero character is well known. He’s infamous. The catch? He’s well intended too. Log Horizon gets deep into MMO tactics and drama – milking noobs for experience, cracking the economy in order to make cash, melee and guild politics.
We’re still exploring the past as much as we’re moving forward in Log Horizon. We’re find out about the large cast and digging up their secrets. It’s fun to watch, I’d recommend it but I do wonder where we’re going with it all.
Strike the Blood
Episodes 6 to 8
Vampire lords who don’t know their own power and a growing harem of super powered school girl warriors, mages and creatures as sidekicks. Strike the Blood isn’t one of those anime that get censored via bright solar flares that block half the screen but if the camera can drop to show a flash of leg then that’s the decision the animator will take.
In other words we’ve a typical mix of supernatural creatures, a coming of age story and early romance all wrapped around plenty of action. It’s silly fun and importantly the growing jeopardy is easy to see, you know trouble is coming to ahead and it’s the combination that keeps Strike the Blood interesting.
Okay, I actually like the blend of tech too. There’s a sexy programmer, who’s more involved in the plot at this stage, super smart computers and a good contrast with the magic.
I hadn’t watched Campione! in so long I had to go back and re-watch an episode to remind me what was going on.
We’re dealing with a god killer. Becoming a god killer attracts three sorts of trouble; other gods who fancy taking you on so they can take your power, other god killers (Campione) who fancy taking you on so they can take your power and attractive warrior women or priests who fancy you.
Yup. I remembered why Campione slid down my ‘to watch’ queue. It’s another harem building, super power, battle anime. I think it’s weaker than Strike the Blood because it puts much greater emphasis on the harem and offers up magical energy swapping as a proxy for sex.
It’s still kinda fun though. It’s well animated and I love the supernatural moments. I hope they can find the balance. I’ll have a think about whether I try and get back into the series.
Sword Art Online
Episodes 5 to 9
It’s easy to see why Sword Art Online is popular. Our heroes are cool in the aloof way but they do it via the gamer awkwardness many of us might be familiar with – except during the height of the battle when all the skill comes out. Our heroes, the beaters who are determined to win the game and rescue everyone, are also dealing with quests and adventures we can relate to.
I’m not so keen on the growing romance between the two leads. I know it’s inevitable but I’m surprised at how they’ll handling it and I’m not sure if it is a platonic relationship or not. That’s confusing.
Despite the concerns over the inevitable pairing up of the characters Sword Art Online continue to hold my attention. People die. There are plot twists; well, plot dramas designed to hold your attention.
Episodes 89 to 94
I just can’t watch One Piece as I watch other anime. This golden oldie classic is whacky and this far back rather retro too.
Instead, I really like putting One Piece on the TV while I’m reading, checking email or skimming the web on my little Nexus 7. It’s perfect for that. You can look up at any point in time and something fun is happening. The plot is straight forward, everything’s sign posted and even if you miss something you can’t work out straight away then watch for a little longer and it’ll become clear.
It’s the characters that make One Piece. Crazy pirates with all sorts of powers – we’re not talking Dragon Ball levels of powers; just enough powers to make things interesting – and they encounter equally interesting monsters and foes.
I’m not sure what I’ll do if One Piece changes and starts demanding more of my attention. That may not happen, of course, which is reassuring because classic One Piece as a nicely defined purpose in my life.
The Irregular Reconnaissance column contains a mix of anime titles I’ve streamed legally or watched from DVD and blu-ray. Some titles have been provided for free and for review.