You’ve found it. Irregular Reconnaissance is a scout report for anime.
What follows is a set of mini-reviews for a whole bunch of anime shows. The goal is to summarise down to a single decision – is this anime a recommendation or not? Good news, in this Netflix centric issue, most of the anime are safe bets. Some titles are stronger than others and maybe not the ones we were expecting.
What’s in the review? We might discuss the animation style, or offer up a spoiler-free overview of the plot, discuss the pacing or whether the characters are annoying or not.
You’re invited to do the same. Each Irregular Reconnaissance is a chance for you to pass on your own scout report in the comments and give a thumbs up, or down, to an anime you’ve watched recently.
Episodes 1 to 12
Yeah, it’s alright.
I watched this in one sitting when I was ill and couldn’t sleep. It was good enough to fill my brain up with distracting moving images, but I suspect had I had more energy I would have found something else to do.
It’s a sci-fi show with a young woman as the main character who, like others, can transfer her mind into an I-Machine. This allows her to do stuff like mine asteroids.
There’s something about space mining that always attracts politics and the military and so unfolds a lite-mecha story. It’s 12-rated, though, so entirely appropriate for young children.
Status: Yeah, alright. I suppose.
The Seven Deadly Sins
Signs of Holy War, Episodes 1 to 4
Signs of Holy War is just weird. There are four standalone episodes of The Seven Deadly Sins which I can only describe as filler.
This mini-season is simply some sort of bridge from season 1 to, er, Revival of The Commandments. It’s not clear whether Signs of Holy War is season 2 or not.
There are not very good episodes either, each one a bit lacklustre and there’s not enough momentum in the series for the unrelenting energy of the Seven Deadly Sins (of which we know about six) to win you over.
Status: Meh, it’s filler
Part 1, Episodes 1 to 12. Part 2, Episodes 13 to 25
It helps hugely to have seen another in the Fate series first. This is only my second.
In the Fate series wizards fight to see which of them will get to wish on the Holy Grail. It’s a deadly knockout. Each wizard gets one hero from past, present or the future to assist them and that hero fulfils a role like Assassin or Berserker.
In Fate/Apocrypha there are two competing teams; red and black. First, they must fight each other. It’s a Greater Grail War and a new, non-aligned, hero is summoned to watch over it. She’s from the rare Ruler class.
It’s the same Saber from Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. I think she’s the series reoccurring character and fan favourite.
Fate/Apocrypha could easily have been a series of Dragon Ball style fights, but it’s far more than that. You’ll like so many of the characters and all, but one will have to die. Good luck trying to pick who you want to live.
Status: Strong recommended
Episodes 1 to 12
I was surprised at how much I liked this.
There might be some delight in watching pretentious snobs taken down a peg. Kakegurui is the story about a girl who turns up at a posh school where the social order is determined by gambling. They’re obsessed about it.
Gambling, for some in this school, is a sexual thrill. Expect the animator to linger on curves and for teeth on lips, of sweat and swallowing and of teasing before the climax.
Don’t expect much in the way of explosions, giant robots or magical girl transformations although there is some violence.
Kakegurui is a mixture of psychology and suspense. If you enjoy solving magic tricks and working out how characters are going to get themselves out of trouble, then this is a show for you.
Status: Worth a watch.
Episodes 1 to 13
One of my favourite shows from Kyoto Animation, the anime studio that so tragically lost so many in an arson attack.
Violet Evergarden is about recovering from violence, about forgiveness and finding yourself. Violet was a child warrior, she had her arms ripped off in the war and now has strange steampunk-esq cyborg arms. This isn’t a sci-fi show. It would be about World War I era, I suppose, with no fantasy to it.
Stick with me – Violet gets a job as a letter writer. She’s a woman who types and is known as a Doll. However, this role forces her to meet people and listen to their stories, and, slowly, over time, these stories begin to rebuild this ruined woman.
There is a little action in this anime, but it otherwise low key and carefully paced. Like a good letter.
Tokyo Ghoul √A
Episodes 1 to 12
It’s nearly as good as Tokyo Ghoul. The difference, I think, is the expectation. We’re expecting Tokyo Ghoul √A to be dark. It is.
There’s the human team trying to reduce or even remove the flesh-hungry ghouls from the world. There are peaceful (almost) ghouls trying to live without being pestered. There’s also the violent faction of ghouls out for their own ends.
The animation is superb with detailed backgrounds, intricate clothes and both almost surreal colour and darkness that’s Ravenloft bleak.
Tokyo Ghoul √A is full of action and tragedy, but it does not quite bring itself to a satisfactory conclusion. There’s more mythos here than they seem able to unpack and that’s a bit disappointing.
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